Friday, May 23, 2008

staff de aranjuez

I did an earlier free form staff piece to the concierto de aranjuez by Rodrigo, but it was pulled for copyright reasons. I did a Paris by Night video with some Chet Baker music, but that was also pulled. So I'm redoing some staff to an original recording of the concierto. This is one of my favorite pieces of music. Miles Davis recorded it with Gil Evans on the album "Sketches of Spain". Chet recorded a version in the '70's, I believe it was at a Carnegie Hall concert. Both are great, great artists. The Miles Davis piece was the first jazz album I ever bought. It is a brilliant, brooding,yet haunting piece. Chet's version, as you might guess, is a more lyrical take. Unfortunately, he is not featured very much on the recording. It is as excellent piece, but I wish I could hear how Chet would have interpreted the whole thing.

I am using a 3 foot very short staff to save wear and tear on my shoulders. I did an earlier take with a jo length staff, but I thought the shorter staff would allow for more flourishes and I was right. I haven't done a piece like this for a while, so I hope you enjoy it. Free form almost can't be taught without translating it into a form. Currently my take is that both form and formless must be balanced for a transformation into something deeper than both. I've always resisted making this into a form. In the tv series Longstreet. Bruce Lee talks about his art and process to James Franciscus and says"I am not a great believer in forms or methods, and, without forms or a method, what is there to teach?" Bingo!

The piano is again by the irrepressible Sue Lee, who is a brilliant musician.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sponsoring a child or teen

Someone recently asked if they could sponsor a child or a teen for one year at our dojo. This would be someone who might want to do aikido and/or might benefit from training but who could not afford to train without financial help. Personally, I feel that this is a wonderful idea. So I'm putting the concept out to you.

Would you be interested in doing something like this? Do you know of a child or teen who would benefit from your sponsoring them? Do you know of an agency that might have children or teens who would be interested in working with us? Do you know of any counselors or social workers who might know some children who might want to be in an aikido program for their age group?

What might you get out of it? Of course there is the satisfaction that you are helping another being. And at those age groups the principles and philosophy of aikido as well as the training could be life-shaping or even life-changing. Maybe you are unable to presently do aikido due to a crazy work schedule or some physical problem. It would be a way for you to help support the dojo at a time when you can't be here. There is even a way where this can be tax-deductible, if you so wish it. If you have any questions or good ideas, please contact me at

I am also including a new video. It is footage taken of my Europe trip in May of 2007. Of course the Eifel Tower is wonderful. This was shot during a night-time car trip through Paris. The piano is by a good friend named Sue Lee. She plays professonally, as you might guess. She has been letting me record her and practice at home to her music. More about her in future blog's and videos, I hope. I took up the trumpet a year ago, so this gave me a chance to see how I sound.