Saturday, June 23, 2007

Menlo College Aikido Retreat

One of the most satisfying aikido experiences that I've ever had was the recent Aikido Retreat(June 10-June 16) annually hosted by Frank Doran, Robert Nadeau, and Hiroshi Ikeda senseis. This year the guest instructor was an old friend, Mary Heiny sensei. So these are all people I have known for over 30 years. Frank Doran sensei gave me my first post-Japan teaching opportunity, Thursday nights at Woodside High School. Robert Nadeau sensei was the first person to talk to me about becoming a full-time instructor and sold me Aikido of San Jose in 1980. Of course Mary sensei helped set me up in Japan at the Shingu dojo and has been a dear friend for ages. I still remember Ikeda sensei's kind help with some of Saotome sensei's sword moves during a workshop in the very early '70's.

What can I say. Last summer I went on Nadeau sensei's trip to Japan, which happened because the venue for the retreat was lost at the last minute, and I had a great time. So this year I decided to do the retreat. I was a regular at the event in the late 70's and in the '80's, but probably had not done one for 18 years. It was a pleasure to see the affection and mutual respect among the instructors and the many students that attended.

The effect for me was not unlike going to a trade show. To see first hand what these very top-level senseis were doing, to watch their methods of instruction, see how their art had evolved over the years, is very important to me as a professional instructor as well. But aside from all that, it was just FUN.........

To hear Nadeau sensei repeatedly entreat us to be"Easy with the 'I'", watch Doran sensei clear and impeccable demonstration of technique, Ikeda sensei's incredible grace and sublety, and Mary sensei's passion and energy were all just great gifts.

Even though the commuters'plan is cheaper, the
full plan allows you to really hang out and be with other peoplein their magic week of aikido. All things considered, with food, training, entertainment provided and not spending money filling up your gas tank. All things considered, it is a very cheap and good one week vacation.

The format for the retreat is that there are 3 permanent instructors and each year one guest instructor. Nadeau sensei informed me that next year I will be the guest instructor. That is a great honor and I will be looking forward to it.

Speaking of retreatsi, it is not too late to be at the Santa Cruz Retreat(July 11 to July 15). Anno sensei will be making what could be his last trip to America, so that is not to be missed. Linda Holiday sensei, Mary Heiny sensei, and I will also be instructing. More information and registration are available at Individual day plans and even class plans are available.

Anno sensei agreed to allow me to put the video of my taking ukemi for him online. So here it is. It was shot by Linda Holiday sensei at the seminar in Biel, Switzerland:


Blogger Alex said...

Photographs from the retreat can be
fount here:

11:12 PM  

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