Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A couple of days ago I was in storage and came up with a couple of photos I knew existed but had lost track of. The aikido picture of me was taken when I was about a 2nd kyu at UC Davis. My uke is Judy, the wife of Professor Charles Tart, who was the faculty advisor for the aikido club. There are a couple of other photos of me during that period. As far as I know those are the only aikido photos of me during my first 3 or 4 years in the art. AT the time the photos were taken I was studying with Alan Grow, the founder of the Oakland Aikido Institute, which at the time was located on College Avenue.

The other photo is of a very old friend, Marty. I think he was initially my sister's dog, a Lassa Maltese mixed with something else. After my sister left for Pharmacy school my mom took care of him. Marty was a lot like my cat Tiger. We had an almost telepathic connection. The night before I left home for UC Davis and grad school he came into my room and it was obvious he knew that I was leaving home.

Marty had certain connections to aikido. When I got back from Japan in 1975 I would practice amatsu norito and kototama chants and Marty would come into the room and make kototama like sounds and chant along with me. It was unbelievably cute. And he left a definite impression on Hikitsuchi sensei, who stayed at my parents' house in Santa Cruz May of 1974. Marty tended to like to eat food from the dining table over his own dog food. And he would definitely get food because he was so cute. But one trick my mom and sister used to use was to tell him that if he didn't eat his food, that I would..... He would then come, snarl at me, and go eat his food. Hikituschi sensei observed this humorously. When I went back to Japan he would regale people in Shingu with stories of Marty. "Tabenai to Jyakku(Japanese pronunciation of my name) ga taberu yo!" Which of course translates as"If you don't eat it, Jack will." And then he would give a snarl in imitation of Marty. Marty lived for some years after my mom passed away in 1975 and my dad re-married. It was a real trip seeing the photo and re-living my memories of him.

Now Vladi the wolf is a totally different trip. I am including video footage of him taken at the 2010 Menlo Summer Retreat. Vladi is outwardly much more aloof but a real trickster. I consider him a dear friend. The end of the video contains me in the background going through a pitching motion. You never know when you're on camera these days. And the music is by Dennis and myself. I recorded it with my new ipad and I like the sound.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2 birthdays

Of course I didn't forget. Dame Diana Rigg's birthday was Tuesday July 20th. But then Kate Beckinsale's is just coming up, July 6th. 2 British actresses of different generations. In her Emma Peel incarnation Dame Diana was definitely my first love. And Kate in her Underworld movies is definitely my favorite actress(by far) of this generation. They are both strong women. Glamourous as well as beautiful. Intelligent and sexy.

I share powerful astrology with both. Dame Diana and I share a sun moon conjunction, her sun in cancer and my moon in cancer. Almost as powerful as sun/moon is venus/mars. Her venus in virgo and my mars in virgo conjunct. But her mars in cancer and my venus in cancer conjunct. Kate and I share a sun/moon conjunction, with her moon in Gemini and my sun in gemini conjucting. In an interesting aside Ueshiba Osensei's moon was also Gemini. Diana's cancer sun is conjuncted by Mars, giving her a lot of Mars energy. Kate's Mars is in its own sign of Aries which makes her also a very strong woman with a strong Mars. And her Mars is in my first house(identity). According to Andrea Mallis I get a lot of energy from her. I used to charge up quite a lot watching "Underworld Evolution".

It is not likely that I will in this life meet either of these women. Is it going to be Dame Kate in the future? As for Dame Diana she is 10 years older than I am. She has lead a very strong and iconoclastic life and has been a strong role model for me. She did not choose a "safe" life. The youtube video I chose is a very recent one which shows her at her present age. And she is still beautiful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Santa Cruz Retreat 2010

The picture above is from the 2008 retreat. But the principals were the same in 2010. Linda Holiday sensei. Mary Heiny sensei. Anno sensei. And I was included. It was a very moving experience. When Anno sensei taught in '08 it was with the understanding that it might be his last visit to the United States. So it was wonderful that he agreed to come back. And to be with old friends and training partners Linda Holiday sensei and Mary Heiny sensei was also very special.

I want to congratulate Linda Holiday sensei for putting together a monumental event. In a down economy. With Anno sensei at an advanced age where nothing healthwise can be taken for granted. Moving the venue to the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Inviting and honoring the dojo-cho from around the Bay Area. Providing a smoothly well-run event. All of these things happening at a high level was the equivalent of hitting a walk-off grand slam with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth inning facing a closer throwing 100 miles per hour heat. It was monumental. And it took great courage and vision. So thank you. Tomorrow morning we are going to see Anno sensei off at the San Francisco airport. It's is a tradition. In the '70's when one of us was leaving Shingu for America, Anno sensei Yanase sensei, Tojima sensei and the other dojo members would show up at the Shingu train station to see us off. In 2006 when I took a group to Shingu, both Anno and Yanase senseis came to the station to see our group off.

On this occasion I am including a new video. I have taken old videos and photos and formulated them to some music to create a sensei of history. Mine. The San Jose dojo.
So it traces the lineage which is both personal and dojo. Of course it starts with Ueshiba Osensei. But our lineage includes both a local angle with Robert Frager and Robert Nadeau senseis and the Shingu dojo with Hikitsuchi, Anno, Yanase and Tojima senseis. And the San Jose dojo which I took over in 1980. I took the earlier "Holidaze in B flat" theme and formulated it to videos and photos to give a sense of lineage and tradition. So San Jose dojo members can see that both locally and from Japan we trace our lineage directly back to Ueshiba Osensei. Unfortunately no video footage seems to exist of my taking ukemi from Frager and Nadeau senseis.

The musical piece outwardly is lyrical yet it contains I feel an intensity that makes it ideal for this piece. I hope you enjoy it.