Thursday, September 30, 2010

Keep the Lights On part 2

Our second annual "Help Us Keep the Lights On" fundraiser to help us pay our PG & E bill is taking shape. The date is Saturday October 30th. And remember tomorrow as I write this is October 1st. The event will consist of an afternoon of training followed by a socially partially catered gathering. In the spirit of keeping things moving from year to year we have some different instructors lined up this year. Linda Holiday sensei and myself from last year. Senseis Jackie Cossman(Aikido of Mt View) and James Friedman(Suginami Aikikai San Francisco) will be teaching at this year's event. The training will start at 1:15 pm and go till 6pm. And the social gathering follows the training. The gathering is geared for friends of the dojo and for dojo alumni no longer at this time training to participate in the event.

My personal wish list. Someone to co-ordinate the social event and organize the catering. Someone to help contact dojo alumni and friends to let them know about the event. Someone to organize a dojo clean up Saturday morning. Someone to co-ordinate the taking of the money for the training. And there are other things I have probably overlooked as I write this, so please feel free to talk to me about that.

I have been in communication with the building's agent for handling the utilities. He explained that this is an old building which eats power. And due to our lease agreement, we pay a substantial part of the building's power. This offsets our very reasonable rent. So our portion of the power bill has more than doubled from when we started here in the early years of the new millineum. Eventually I would like to explore an effort to go at least partially solar, but the immediate thing is to make sure our monetary reserves for the dojo are not totally drained by this year's bill.

I designed some sweat pants using the katsu hayahi characters that were very popular earlier on a t-shirt. And I am in the process of putting together a dvd of the dojo's and my history of aikido(the matsuri in b flat video on youtube). So I am putting together some guidelines for donations:
Maximum Package: $300 or more
-training October 30th
-new Aikido of San Jose sweats “katsu hayahi”
-“Matsuri in B flat” dvd of Aikido of San Jose’s history and lineage

Non-training Maxi Package: $200 or more:
-new Aikido of San Jose sweats “katsu hayahi”
“Matsuri in B Flat” dvd of Aikido of San Jose’s lineage and history

Training plus: $100 or more
-Training October 30th
-ASJ sweats”katsu hayahi”

Just Training: $50
these are just guidelines. If you are financially challenged yourself you can donate any amount and that would be appreciated and still participate in the training. Or if you would like to offer your assistance for the event in lieu of a monetary donation. Your energy on any level is appreciated.

If you would like to purchase the sweats only that can be arranged. Just contact me. If you would like your donation of any amount to be tax deductible, also please contact me at

This blog does seem to reach a wide variety of people. If you would like to participate in the fundraiser but are out of area and can't train, please feel free to do so. Just contact me at the e-mail address above.

Here is a new music video. Solar is a Miles Davis piece:

Sunday, September 19, 2010


My first Giants game was sometime in 1959. So it would have been at Seals Stadium. Candlestick Park came in 1960. I remember the Giants were trailing in the late innings and someone named Dave Philly hit a 3 run pinch hit home run to win it for the Giants. I remember seeing Willie Mays. Orlando Cepeda. Willie McCovey. I went with my Dad and a couple of Uncles. And my most memorable moment was probably seeing this very distinguished man in a suit signing autographs. My uncle told me,"That's Joe DiMaggio."

So I've been a baseball and Giants fan ever since. Still waiting for a world series championship. I remember 1962 when Willie McCovey's line drive was caught and the Giants lost to the Yankees. The most poignant moment might have been the disappointment of 2002. I was in my car in the Santa Cruz mountains with the Giants leading 5-0 over the Angels and poised for a downtown parade only to suffer car trouble. By the time triple A came and started my car battery the Giants had coughed it up and lost the next day in game 7.

But this season has been a pleasant surprise. One thing about baseball is that it is 6 months and there are many highs and lows. The Giants as I write this are in first place by half a game.(My mom always questioned how a half game could exist.) I've given them up for dead more times than I would like to admit only to see them resurrect. That has been their defining factor: the ability to come back from adversity and disappointment. And what a great story. A team that has been down for awhile and linked to the controversial Bonds years. Lincecum. Cain. Posey. Bochy showing he is nobody's fool and a top manager. Sabean after some questionable years bringing in some top hitting talent for the stretch run. So seeing change. New faces and talents coming forth bringing new energy. It has been an exciting year so far. And it promises more thrills and/or disappointments.

One of my favorite Giants is Jonathan Sanchez. During the '60's I heard no-hitters from Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry. And after that many disappointments. I remember following Scott Garrelts lose his in the 9th inning to I believe the Cincinati Reds. So last year I remember following the first part of Sanchez' no-hitter online. I switched to radio and still remember John Miller's call"struck him out looking on a curve ball!". So he finally delivered on a no-hitter and it was a delicious moment.

So I'm gearing for hopefully some post season action. One thing I really enjoy on the weekends is listening to the post game show with Marty Lurie. Occasionally my astrologist Andrea Mallis( will appear on the show explaining why certain players are doing well from an astrological perspective. But Marty treats his callers with such respect and shows such deep love for baseball and its history it is a pleasure to listen to him. One caller labelled his show the "Late Night Party with Marty" as he has been known to go well past 10pm on days with an afternoon game. In fact as I write this blog I am catching the end of his show. Go Giants!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tiger's Song

Last week Dennis and I were playing and a new piece of music emerged. After I'd been with it for a couple of days, I realized it was a song for Tiger. So I assembled the photos of him I had, including one above that has not been posted yet online. And I remembered there were some great drawings done by my goddaughter Alison Byers that I had forgotten about. So I figured with the music as background and the photos and these extra drawings we could try to assemble a video.

It was quite a moving experience which brought me to tears on more than one occasion. But I felt the music fit the theme. And I added some text to fill out the experience. All in all I feel it came out quite well. I am very close to Lily. Yet Tiger and I have a bond that is still strong. I have felt him quite strongly recently. There is a lot going on the the finer planes of the universe(where he hangs out) and so his presence here is meaningful and indicative of that.The universe especially at the finer levels is going through a massive re-balancing. We are experiencing that here in the world of matter through economic changes, storms, earthquakes, and geologic activity.

So hopefully through all this Tiger will keep active and continue to visit.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Keep the Lights On part 2

Last November we honored my 40th anniversary in Aikido by having a fundraising event to help us pay our power bill. It was wonderfully successful, with teachers and friends and students from 40 years on in coming and celebrating. This year the power bill is again lurking, and a 41st anniversary is much less dramatic, so, as Foster Gamble named it, we need to do another"Help Us Keep the Lights On" fundraiser. Linda Holiday sensei is celebrating her 40th year this year(and I will be participating) in November, so October is a better month to run ours.

A date that seems to work on multiple fronts for now is October 10th, a Sunday. So I am envisioning an event with some training and an after training celebration/party of some sort. Even though a lot of this needs to be further organized, please for now keep this date in mind. And any suggestions as to the structure of it please feel free to share with me.

One topic that came up during the dojo building section of the last CAA meeting(last Sunday) was that people act on "why" and justify it with "what". How does this relate to running and maintaining a dojo? For example on an obvious level, "Why should I do a martial art?" Self-defense. Exercise. Meet new people. An interest in oriental philosophy. Now the question now becomes, what would meet these needs or interests? Now the important thing for us is that aikido becomes the "what".

So this is a question we might all ask ourselves: why do we do aikido and also what made aikido our "what"? When I was a teenager in the'60's martial arts were very exotic. You saw snatches of them in the James Bond films and here and there in action films. Diana Rigg in "The Avengers" and Bruce Lee in "The Green Hornet" were both very important influences on me. So my why is that I wanted to do martial arts because they were doing them on tv. My what was initially Shotokan karate. At the time karate was much more exotic than judo and so that was what I looked for. And I helped start a club on the UC Santa Cruz campus. And though I enjoyed it, I found my why shifted things. I found I had an interest in Oriental philosophy and mysticism. And as my why shifted to that I found that my what shifted to aikido and t'ai chi ch'uan.

A very significant figure in shifting my why was Ueshiba Osensei. I read an article about him in Black Belt magazine. He was referred to as the most spiritual man in Japan. Quite a statement. And he was prominently featured in an article Robert Frager wrote for Psychology Today magazine entitled "The Psychology of the Samurai". The pictures of him showed a man very advanced in years and yet he glowed. Even shined. Somehow despite the years he didn't seem old. I remember watching 8mm movies of him during workshops Robert Frager and Robert Nadeau co-taught at the Castro Street location of Aikido of Mt View. I remember telling myself that I wanted to do what he was doing. I was privileged to start with 2 people who personally knew the founder. And it was also significant that they are both Westerners who saw him from a perspective different than that of the Japanese culture. Anno sensei during his recent visit said that he never thought of aikido as just Japanese because Osensei used to talk so much about the universe. And I was also fortunate to train in Japan with people like Anno sensei, who got the universality of Osensei and what aikido is.

So from where I am now I am almost all why. There is very little what to aikido and my reasons for doing it. Why do you do(or are you possibly considering doing it) and how can we make it your what?

Here is another ipad recording of 2 of my favorite Chet Baker pieces. I'll have to someday go into the why/what of music for me.