We’re looking for a keen volunteer to come and work with us part time for 4 to 8 weeks in return for board and keep. Contact us for details.

Jeremy is running a couple more scythe courses this year, one for beginners and one for improvers. See here for more information: https://properedges.com/courses/

Jacob continues to do a wonderful job of tending the garden and supporting a few keen helpers. Rajni and Sasha have been backing him up and providing much needed labour, and Kate has been working continuously behind the scenes to turn the produce into tasty meals. Thanks to everyone for helping out this summer. The garden is looking amazing!

After a very long time out of the dojo, Aikido lessons begin again this week in Buckfastleigh, and Jeremy is opening a new club in Totnes. You can find information about these classes here: https://setsudo-ki-aikido.org/dojo/buckfastleigh/ and https://setsudo-ki-aikido.org/dojo/totnes/

Aikido – why is it relevant?

By Jeremy Weiss

You may wonder how Aikido is relevant to farming, or to traditional rural skills such as hedge laying, mowing with a scythe and gate making.

It’s because Aikido is so much more than throwing people on the floor. Yes, that’s fun too, but the purpose of studying Aikido is to understand the principles and to apply them to your daily life. For me personally that means applying the principles to how I farm, how I interact with people, how I make gates, how I mow with my scythe, and how I teach, etc.

One of the principles of Aikido is to respect your partner’s Ki. But you can’t do that without knowing your partner’s mind, and you can’t do that unless you are extending your own mind. So we study how to extend our mind, which leads to awareness, stability and flexibility. From this point we can know what our partner wants, and then we can respect their Ki.

When you make a gate out of cleft chestnut, you have to extend your mind and be aware of the wood, how the grain flows and what it wants to do. You can fight it if you want to but it will be hard work and yield an inferior result. Or you can respect it’s Ki, and put yourself in its place. What does the world look like from the point of view of this piece of chestnut?That allows you to then have the confidence to work with the wood, knowing that you are not trying to make it be something it isn’t, but become a part of something greater than itself and serve a useful function whilst maintaining its own character and integrity.

These are things that cannot be truly understood simply by reading some words. They have to be understood through constant repetition on the mat until they become engrained deep in our subconscious. My teachers have been very clear: words are just words. Understanding can only come through doing.