Saturday, April 03, 2010

Aikido Living Situation Possible

I am currently in Boulder Creek. I am staying with friends . The mother of one of my goddaughters and one of my goddaughter’s best friends. My cat Lily is with me. After about 2 weeks she went missing but has recently returned. I guess she didn’t like being inside for the initial period, took matters into her own hands and decided to be outside for awhile. But she is back. Remember, Lily was missing in the Santa Cruz mountains before and returned, that time after 3 months. Even though I was worried, I know she can take care of herself.

It is about a 40 minute commute to the dojo. Having lived in Felton for 9 years I am used to the drive. And after having lived in San Jose for the past 5 years(yes time does fly) it is for the moment very refreshing to be back in the mountains among the redwoods. And I feel my system going back into a balance. My blood sugar readings have been lower(I am diabetic) and I attribute that to having a break from the energies of constantly being in the city. There is something almost womb-like to the silence at night in the mountains that can be very therapeutic.

I found out just recently that the house may have to be put up for a short sale. A re-financing attempt was unsuccessful and much is owed on the house. So after just having moved I am facing the possibility of another move. I tend to compartmentalize and say”My poor cat”. Well this is a crisis of sorts for everybody over here, Aikido teaches us to blend with things and to work the alchemy to turn Crises into opportunities. So here we are.

An idea did come to me. And it is multi-tiered. On a level one basis there is a history of Aikido living situations in the bay area. Years ago Robert Nadeau shihan owned property in Mountain View and a whole community of people lived there as aikido students doing a deeper spiritual study than can be done just at the dojo. And of course they all trained at the Mountain View dojo. Just before I left for my first stay in Japan I was living in Santa Cruz with my parents. But I used to hang out with people who lived in an Aikido House on Colorado Street. They were all training at the UC Santa Cruz Aikido Club. One of them was Linda Holiday sensei. And after I returned from my second stay in Japan there was an Aiki House with seminal members of the Stanford University Aikido Club and I would sometimes train at Stanford, spend the night there on the couch , and train again the following day. It was a much freer and open existence in those days. So I am wondering if some people might be interested in renting(there are 2 rooms). Among 3 people somewhere between $1500 and $1600 must be come up with. And I need to get even clearer about the figures. I intend to write at least another blog about this so more clarity as we continue on. So the off-shoot of this in broad terms is that I am looking for 2 possible house-mates. And if this were an aikido situation, since I would be there, we could structure activites that would make the situation a more in-depth kind of study than can be done at a dojo. This needs to flesh itself out a bit more.

A possible level two: there is a fair amount of property in back of the house. Some trees would need to be cleared out, but some sort of training space could probably be managed. There is even the possibility of growing food(and a lot of it) there. So an Aiki farm like Osensei did in Iwama during the second world war is a possibility. And locally. The Iwama location served as a retreat for Osensei during the World War II time. It allowed him to get away from Tokyo during a difficult time. He was teaching military and police and was forced to teach a ciriculum that was not totally to his liking. The move to the country allowed him to explore spaces that helped produce the more modern post World War II aikido. So more than just a living situation for several people, this second level would allow people to come in for activities as well. Possibly to even help with agriculture. Osensei loved the growing of food. Producing sustenance. The food was not only for himself and his family but he produced an excess which was sent to Tokyo during that tough war period to help people who were without much food. Osensei found farming and budo to be a good mix.

There is a third level. Some years ago I was given a non-profit with which to build an Aiki Shrine in America. It was christened by Hikitsuchi sensei the “Takemusu Shinbuden”. Literally the residence of the Honorable Spirit of Universal Martial Creativity. So the third level would be to create some sort of spiritual center for aikido with the property whereby a large number of people would have access to it. As I have said, I intend to write at least another blog on this matter. Let me know if any of you would be interested in participating in this on any level.

By the way, the picture of Lily was taken at our former residence in the East Hills of San Jose and not at our current location, which is equally beautiful in it's own way. Lily is just beginning to find her way around the redwoods.

I am including a video done fairly recently. Stella by Starlight with Dennis Kyne on guitar and me on trumpet:


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