The word “Magic” aptly describes what Sensei Mustard demonstrated over the two day seminar. It is amazing to see what one can achieve if they dedicate themselves to Aikido.
The seminar venue was the Dartford Judo Center, a new Dojo built for training the cream of our Judo crop ready for the 2012 Olympic judo championships. Upon entering the Dojo, there is a sense of shock as the training area looks like it is covered in 1.5cm thin mats, which do not look comfortable to flip-fall on… however on closer inspection, the mats are sunk into the floor and sprung, much like the High Wycombe judo center.
Everyone gets something different out of seminars; if training with people from different Dojo or different Aikido styles is your thing, then the Sensei Mustard seminar would have been just the seminar for you. At least 6 different Aikido clubs, covering 4 different styles attended (Yoshinkan, Aikiki, Shudokan, Tomiki).
Robert Mustard Sensei was brilliant, in a class of his own. On the first day we opened the class with kihondosa. He pointed out that in aikido it is important that one assumes the proper attitude, physically, mentally and spiritually which starts from kamae. He also mentioned that the only way to learn is by actual experience through daily practice. We covered numerous techniques over the two days and sensei Mustard was careful to demonstrate each techniques before each students performed the techniques.
Aikido is not about using strength and Sensei Mustard has proved that through demonstration of some of his aikido techniques. Sensei Mustard stressed how important it is not to rely on your arm strength but to move your whole body and everything needs to be on the centre line.
If you have been to a Sensei Mustard seminar before you may have seen him withstand up to 10 Uke pushing him while he is in Kamae, or being able to walk forward whilst up to 10 Uke pull him from his belt. This is always impressive to witness, however, whilst demonstrating the concepts of Iriminage, he achieved an even more impressive demonstration… 5 Uke lined up, front to back and lightly pushed each other, Sensei Mustard then used Iriminage to send his energy through the first Uke, through the line, to the last Uke, who was then projected backwards and ended up on the floor.
Attending a Sensei Mustard seminar is definitely worth it, even if it is just to be entertained by his demonstrations… not to mention that he is probably one of the nicest and friendliest Aikidoka out there.
Steve James & Davie Elliott