I was totally taken off guard by this video, just to find out next that there will be a whole sequel of them. But this is great, because it means it somehow clashed with and changed my horizon of expectation. For now these were the questions that popped into my mind:
Are these light movements and colorful skirts doing justice to aikido?Really conservative practitioners would definitely say no. I am more flexible and open minded so I say it is an interesting approach. This is a great way to promote aikido among women. As aikido is not about raw force but about intellect and lightness of movements, Bernath Sensei's approach is a valid, creative and creditable one.
Is aikido reduced or elevated to a dance in this video?This video has a bohemian atmosphere. The girls sort of remind me of Esmeralda from Notre Dame de Paris. Her dance is just as charming and bewitching. This dance is the meeting point of ballet, modern dance and aikido. I hope this video will bewitch a lot of viewers and make them interested in trying out aikido, even though it is pretty far away from what is demonstrated in this video.
Is this aikido or is this something else?It is categorically not aikikai aikido. However I offer the credit to Bernath Sensei as the initiator of this innovative direction. It is something else, still waiting to be defined.
Are these girls aikidoka?I saw some insecure mae ukemis instead of free fall in the video, but basically the girls try to do their best. They might as well be aikidoka. I will ask Bernath Sensei about this. She was kind enough to like my Facebook page, so she can easily track this article I mentioned on Women on Aikido I was planning to write.
Most probably I will be returning to the videos from the promised sequel with further comments.