2007 Santa Cruz Retreat DVD
The 2007 Aikido Retreat in Santa Cruz was a momentuous event. It was a chance to co-teach with Anno sensei, one of my teachers from Japan, and with dear friends Linda Holiday sensei and Mary Heiny sensei. At the time it was advertised as Anno sensei's last visit to America, which, unfortunately, remains true at least to this date. And the venue was shifted from its usual location at UC Santa Cruz to the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. In addition, it featured a public demonstration with important seminal teachers who started aikido in Santa Cruz, along with instructors participating in the Retreat.
It has always been a moving experience for me to spend time with Anno sensei. Modest, even unassuming, patient, loving, yet at the same time powerful, I feel he is one of those best embodying Osensei's message. In his public demo he went from uke to uke, radiating a blend of grace, explosiveness, and beauty. I had the honor of driving him to and from the venue, and I got to spend private time with him in the instructors' room.
And what can I say about Linda Holiday and Mary Heiny sensei's. They are among the top aikidoists on the planet. They are both dynamic and powerful leaders. It was a privilege to be included with them in the event.
What was my sense of the event. Personally it was a complex and somewhat difficult experience for me. Often times when there is a great gathering of power as there was in this event a lot of stuff may come up. Training is not just about having fun and doing pleasant things(although there was a lot of this, too). It is often about working through parts of oneself that may unexpectedly surface. The art is to some degree designed to be transformative. And often times there is no transformation without a certain amount of tension. Much of this in retrospect was self-induced. But in the end everything has worked out.
One of the wonders of modern technology is that those of you not able to attend or time travel back to the event may get much of what went on by getting the official dvd of the event titled "Aikido no Kokoro". You can cut and paste the following link:
I am including a youtube clip from this video: