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Michele Quaranta Sensei 6th Dan Aikikai 9th,10th and 11th April 2010 Course Report


Course Report by Eamon Coyne, Sligo Aikido Club.

The Spring Course with Michele Quaranta Sensei was held on the 9th – 11th of April 2010. The course coincided with the relocation of the Sligo Aikido Club into their new home St. Johns National School which doubled as the spring course venue. After the new Sligo Aikido Club mats “tatami” being shipped from Switzerland to Sligo and a brief stay in Danny’s flat 8)... we finally managed to get the tatami into St. Johns National School on the eve of the course on Thursday night. With the tatami cleaned and freshly laid down we could now look forward to our Aikido seminar with Michele Sensei and our Swiss Aikido friends which is what we were all looking forward to in the first place.

First class on the new Tatami

Friday nights opening class of the Spring Course began with Michele Sensei performing some warm up techniques from Shomenuchi Kiawase, Michele explained that Aikido techniques can be also be done in a certain way to warm the body up in preparation for more vigorous practice. After performing the warm up exercises in Ikkyo, Kotegaeshi, Iriminage, and Shihonage we then put these techniques into a nice sequence which were performed altogether. After this we moved onto techniques from Katatetori Gyakuhanmi from here Michele Sensei demonstrated a lovely Uchikaitennage, Udegaraminage, Koshinage, Tenchinnage and finally Sotokaitenage.

Michele and Roger

After the thoroughly enjoyable Friday night class we socialised in Hargadon’s pub in O’Connell Street for some pleasant chat and one or two drinks which was a nice way to end the evenings training.

Saturday Sessions

On Saturday mornings first class we continued with some blending exercises where the techniques were performed in a continuous flow using Kiawase we done Kotegaeshi, Iriminage, Shihonage, Ikkyo and again Michele demonstrated them putting then into a nice flowing sequence. The second morning class Joe McHugh stepped to the fore and started the class with some warm exercises utilizing ukemi movements we then progressed to Yoko Ukemi. Joe then continued with some Kiawase from a standing position afterwards using Tenkan, Irimi Tenkan. Michele Sensei then took centre stage once again and started with some Ikkyo Kaiten then from Ai-Hanmi we done Ikkyo showing the Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo and Yonkyo influence shown at each stage of the Ikkyo technique. We also done forms of Kotegaeshi, Iriminage, and Shihonage too.

The Saturday afternoon session we focused on Ushiro waza techniques starting with some Kiawase exercise and then into Ushiro Ryotetori Ikkyo, Kokyunage, Kotegaeshi (showing the application of mae geri, maewashi geri, ushiro geri kicks during the application of Kotegaeshi).We then did Sankyo, Tenchinage and finally Ikkyo off the other arm. 

Michele and Lisa


At the Spring Course two of Trevor Pigott Sensei’s students Will Baker and PJ Kirke were to undergo their Shodan grading on the Saturday evening. Will and PJ had worked very hard with their Sensei Trevor in the months and weeks in the lead up to the grading. Michele Sensei asked at the start of the grading if we could have eight volunteers to act as Uke’s for Will and PJ so Joe, Roger, Tony, Declan, Ulonda, Liam, Danny and myself enthusiastically stepped up to the task at hand.

Michele Sensei wasted no time and got straight down to business asking both Will and PJ to demonstrate techniques from a myriad of attacks from one attacker, two attackers, four attackers, eight attackers and then finally some knife/tanto defense. With the grading complete Michele Sensei called forward Will and PJ to announce that they had successfully passed their test and were now Shodan. Will and PJ should be very proud as they done themselves, their families, their Sensei and their Dojo proud.

Willie in Action Pj in action


The Saturday night we celebrated and had a 3 course meal booked which Valli managed to arrange in the Tobergal Lane restaurant. 30 people from the course sat down to a very fine meal of  a wide range of breads and dips to start, gorgeous Fish/Beef/Pasta as main and then a scrumptious selection of desserts. Which was washed down with some delicious bottles of red shiraz wine. After the meal those brave or foolish enough myself included headed to the Garavogue for some late night festivities until the late hours.

Presentations and more Keiko

Sunday morning Trevor made a special presentation to the two unknowing newly promoted black belts, Will and PJ were presented with two embroidered hakamas and black belts which were worn with great pride afterwards.
After the donning of the new hakama and belts again we got straight down to business with Michele Quaranta Sensei starting the first morning session with Katatori Menuchi.
Michele Sensei started by showing Katatori Menuchi Kiawase. We then progressed to Katatori Menuchi Shihonage with Michele placing strong emphasis on moving the centre not just the focusing on the arms. Then we did Iriminage with emphasis on the arm on the neck and using the centre to throw Uke. Ikkyo was next up and then onto a form of Tenchinage.

Michele and Eamon

In the second class on Sunday we covered techniques from Ryotetori. Starting with Kiawase and then into Shihogiri with strong emphasis from Michele on the position of the hands and how the spiral movement is ever present in Aikido techniques. We then done Iriminage from Ryotetori and then onto Kotegaeshi. We then did Genkeikokyunage and then Tenchinage and finally Kokyunage.
During the course Michele Sensei also stressed the vital importance of Uke. That it is Uke that allows Tori to practice Aikido and Uke must be present and give input at all times to Tori, also adding that Uke is not to have the mindset of being there just to play a victim.

To mark the completion of the spring course Valli Schafer on behalf of Aikikai Ireland presented Michele Sensei with a glass plate which she made herself depicting two Aikidoka in full flow which Michele Sensei graciously accepted.

All in all the course was a fantastic success the weather was superb blue cloudless skies all weekend, great socializing and most importantly great Aikido as always from Michele Quaranta Sensei.

Group Shot

Thank You

As with any course there was a lot of organizing so on behalf of Aikikai Ireland I would like to thank the following people firstly Michele Quaranta Sensei for coming and giving us the pleasure of his company and instruction over the weekend. Also our Swiss Aikido friends Lisa, Ulonda, Andy, Roger, Halka and half Irish/Swiss Joe J for making the trip along with Michele and training with us.

Eamonn Thompson for coordinating the move to St. Johns School as a dojo and venue for the course, Anthony Brennan for organizing the accommodation for our Swiss friends. Valli Schafer for the organizing/transporting of mats from Switzerland to St. Johns School and making the personal Glass plate gift for Michele Sensei and of course the restaurant. Declan Bray for getting a loan of an extra 20 tatami which were kindly donated by IT Sligo and for looking after the administrative side insurance etc and photography at course. Danny Kileen for housing our new tatami in his apartment and for doing the registration duties all weekend. Thanks to Kevin Fahey who also took photos/video over the weekend.  Liam Conway for helping with the grocery shopping. Loretta Coyne for helping with the personalized restaurant menus. To all of the students that came on the Thursday night to move the mats Paul Cunningham, Dean Clancy, Eamon McGauran, William Gaffney, Kevin Finn, Thomas Waldron, Danny Kileen, Liam Conway, Stephen Clancy, Valli Schafer, Eamonn Thompson, Declan Bray, Lisa and Ulonda from Switzerland. Trevor Pigott for the O Sensei portrait. Thanks to the Athboy, Dublin and Cavan gang for coming and helping to make the course the success it was and last but not least all the Sligo Aikido Club members that trained over the weekend. Apologies if I left anybody out.