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Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Taking the Test
by Hector Chavez

On May 17th, 2001, seven Aikido students from Corpus Christi, Texas flew to Ventura, California to test under Larry Reynosa, Chief Instructor of Makoto Dojo. He is also the senior disciple of Shihan Steven Seagal and 
the President of the Ten Shin Aikido Association under Seagal.

The day after we arrived was most exciting as we found ourselves in a van headed for Seagal Sensei`s personal home where the annual Black Belt test was to be held. I was very honored to be chosen by Reynosa Sensei to 
participate in the black belt practice and uke for the students that were testing in the randori. 

The practice was held in his backyard in a small grassy area beside a beautiful Tibetan stupa. Although the weather had been hazy all week the sun appeared just as Reynosa Sensei called for the testing candidates to sit in 
the front. The students displayed an awesome array of techniques against jabs, punches, chokes, and several kicks. Seagal Sensei then explained that this had to be real or else we were wasting our time. He wanted the nages to use everything at their disposal, which included the rose bushes, water sprinklers, fences, his home, the orange trees...everything around them . . . no bounderies. Thus began the randori part of of the tests. 

It was fast and furious. The ukes were attacking with everything they had. Gone were the shomens and yokomen strikes. Instead, the ukes kicked, tackled, and choked nage in every attempt to take him to the ground. There was no holding back on any part of the ukes and was as real as any fight I have ever seen. Gerrit Green, who was testing for Nidan was awesome. After 
he was taken down, he managed to escape and left his attackers in a bundled heap on the floor fighting amongst themselves. It was a great display of pure Aikido techniques used "in action" and proving how valid it is as a martial art. 

After the tests, Seagal Sensei then lectured about how in a street situation, attackers will have knives and sticks and guns and therefore it still was not as real as it should be. He wanted no one to walk away with the false sense of security that they could handle ANY situation. 

The highlight of it all was when he demonstrated a bit of randori himself. He spoke of the importance of learning our angles in order to be able to properly direct three people coming at you at full speed. He also spoke about dissolving before our attackers, offering nonresistance and remaining empty. 

In all, three of the four students testing passed. A special congratulations should go to Paulos from Brazil who is now the first shodan recogonized and ranked by Shihan Steven Seagal. This makes him the first foreigner with such credentials since Sensei`s return from Japan in the 80`s. 

I would like to thank Seagal Sensei for allowing us into his home and sharing his time with us. It was obvious that he is a VERY busy man and it was great that he took time to teach us. I would also like to thank Reynosa Sensei for allowing me such an honor of being allowed to practice in such an advanced class and being such a great instructor and example of Seagal Sensei`s Aikido. 

More info and pictures can be found at the Ten Shin Association website and the Makoto Dojo website. Thanks-Hector Chavez

Our thank you to our friend Hector Chavez, for being so thoughtful and supportive of Aikido World with his article and generosity by sharing his wonderful Aikido pictures with us!

Also thank you to Larry Reynosa and Steven Seagal!

Cheryl Matrasko is a Network Analyst for the department
of Networking and Communications at a prominent
Chicago hospital. Formerly the LAN Administrator for
Northwestern University Medical School - Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology, and assistant LAN Administrator to the previous MIS of the School of Law. 

She started Aikido in 1965, studying under Isao Takahashi
as her first instructor. She enjoyed working out under
many well known Aikido instructors during her tenure with
Takahashi Sensei, and thereafter following his death in
1971. Cheryl has dedicated time with instructors in
Northern Shaolin Long-Fist, Seven Stars Praying Mantis,
and Daito-Ryu Aikijujitsu to extend her martial arts
education and perspectives. Currently, she is instructing
Aikido at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus and
supporting Aikido World Journal.


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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
1978 C. Matrasko

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