Monday, September 15, 2008

Weeklong Retreat in Sebastopol

From September 7 through September 14 I was able to spend a week in the Sebastopol house and dojo sitting for Betsy Hill sensei and James Gauer. It was nice to spend the time doing a little more sitting and meditating than I have recently. I took my trumpet and was able to play outside everyday.

In addition to teaching at Tenchiaikido, I was honored to take classes at Kuma Kai Aikido and Centerfield Aikido. So a leisurely, not busy, week with time to spend with friends, do music, take walks, soak in the hot tub....I think you get the picture.

On Friday the 12th I had the privilege of sitting in on a calligraphy demo by Kaz Tanahashi sensei. He does characters with colors other than the traditional black and the effects are striking. He also talks about his youth in Iwama, when he studied aikido with the founder, Ueshiba Osensei. I asked Tanahashi sensei whether O sensei in the war years when he was in his early sixties, was he addressed in those years as "Osensei" or was that title given him later? Tanahashi sensei cleared that up by stating that in those years he was already addressed as Osensei.

I would like to thank Betsy Hill and James Gauer for letting me house and dojo sit. My thanks to Denise sensei and Mary sensei for inviting me to their dojos. To Michelle and David senseis for inviting me to the Calligraphy demo. I would like to thank Andrew and Bob for showing me the way to various places and in general watching over me. Thanks to those who came to the classes and provided energy. Thanks to those in San Jose who covered my classes so I could pursue this retreat.

What did I take away from this Retreat? I guess that it was the importance of emptiness. Of being empty and allowing. Things I try to work on every day. But a retreat can intensify things. How do you intensify emptiness?

I shot some of my playing, just to see what the sound was like. I'm including a clip with one of my favorite Chet Baker songs,"Everything Happens to Me". Chet does it as a vocal. I've played along with his singing countless times,just to try and study his phrasing and phrasing in general. There is a little free form at the beginning and the end.


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