Even when the mats are washed down every day, there is a distinct smell that fills the air, once the hard mats have been softened It is the smell of courage and determination. A mixture of sweat and blood. One minute lapse in concentration and injury would be instant. This ukemi training is one of the hall marks of the Northstar Dojo. You are thrown as hard as possible and have to roll with the throw. When the senior is throwing the students with no power, just movement and ki, he enters the students space and uses his power against him, launching him into the air and landing with a dull thud. The throws of the Northstar dojo are all designed to hurt Ukemi gives them an out. If you roll with the technique, you will counteract it’s deadly intention.
Ukemi means to receive, that is the translation of the Japanese character. It does not mean to break fall. I struggled to see the meaning of this for many years. Then one day it just struck me. I was being thrown, many times when finally the mind stopped, or rather it ceased to comment. Is this possible? Well, no I did not think it was. The mind thinking is akin to the sun shining, so how do we just stop thinking. I just don’t know, but it happened to me during a long session of Ukemi (being thrown)
I felt new like I was touched, it took me to the edge of stopping the session for this to suddenly occur. This is not a conscious premeditated act by the teacher or the student. But it does require the teacher to be present and aware though they may not be mindfully participating in the transmission of wisdom. And it could also be the other way around, the person receiving ukemi may not be aware, but the person giving the ukemi can experience the stillness and letting go. But beware, there can be no striving to achieve this or to make this happen, and there is no amount of required effort, as the grace of this happening can be so at any time.
Just try not to resist or react in any way. Ahh at last the incessant commenting, and chatter no longer influenced me. My entire world became expansive, I was able to see and feel such beauty, the throws continue but there was no “I” being thrown.
I am truly free, Now I can just let go. From within the stillness I can feel a presence. Sensei is also present and focusing completely on me. Just for an instant I feel love, deep and pure amidst this brutality. A contradiction, ahh but now I understand. Before the ego kicks in again and wants to comment, I bathe in oneness, and am receiving sensei’s love. So Ukemi means to receive a blessing from the teacher.
Jack George. Hokuto Ryu Japan
Northstar Ju Jitsu is also taught by senior Black Belts at their own studios'.
These are independently run from the Headquarters .Andy Dickinson Sensei is the head of and founder of Northstar Ju Jitsu and oversees the teaching of his program.
All Black Belts are graded by Andy Dickinson Sensei.