My Stephanie Yap Sensei story

Sensei Stephanie Yap

I first discovered Yap Sensei when I went to go so Patricia Hendricks Sensei for the first time ever in Hollywood Florida. I remember thinking, “here is a nice person, doing some very tough Aikido, but it looks and feels so nice.” Anyways, one of my dojo mates at the time was driving down to Daytona to see Yap Sensei at a seminar, and invited my to ride with. We arrived a little late, but she kindly let us join right in the class. It was outdoors, and the subject of the class was Jusan no Jo. She drilled us in the performance of the kata, over and over and over. She pointed out that “just because the kata is short, people think that it’s easy, but really, it’s just easier to make mistakes, so it has to be done perfectly.” She then showed us the awase, or partner practice. Actually, she showed two versions if it. She asked us to break up into two groups, beginners and more advanced. I opted to stay in the beginner group, since I was not too familiar with her teachings, but she quickly pulled me into the other group, which I took as a compliment.

She made a point to oversee my performance of the kata. This is the best part of the story. If anyone has ever met Yap Sensei, you know that she has a severe enthusiasm for what she does, and I mean that as a compliment. In just that way, she started barking out the count from the kata to me. “Ichi!!!!” I Choku Tsuki with loud kiai. “Ni!!!!!” I Jodan Gaeshi, all my focus into it. “San!!!!” I parry with Jodan Dome Barai. Or so I thought! That’s when my performance came crashing down. That’s right. I could not get past THREE. She said that the error was in my posture, my kamae. She said that on Three, your partner should be able to grab your jo, and do pull up on it, and you should be able to support their body weight by virtue of your kamae alone. She then demonstrated the correct kamae to me. After studying her posture for a few seconds, she commanded me: “TAKE THREE!!!!!” With a loud kiai, I assumed Migi Jodan Dome Barai. She looked at me with displeasure, and reached out with one hand and threw me, breakfall, across the field. I was laughing on the inside, thinking to myself “Well you saw that one coming, didn’t you?” When I got back up, she once again demonstrated, with my jo she jodori-ed from me, the proper kamae for three. Then she said:

“Go ahead.”
Me: Go ahead and what?
Her: Go ahead and do some pull ups.

So as I’m doing pullups off of my jo, which, I had no idea could support the weight of a 200 pound man, of course Yap Sensei didn’t budge on inch. In face, at one point, when I was chin over the jo, she started PRESSING ME UP HIGHER, ON HER OWN ACCORD, saying “THIS is what I am talking about.”

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2 Responses to My Stephanie Yap Sensei story

  1. autrelle says:

    I’m glad you like!

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