Thursday, December 23, 2010

Year end musings

Today was my last teaching day of the year. We will be on an abbreviated schedule starting tomorrow Christmas Eve. For now my next class will be New Year's Day 11 am training. I found a great photo of Sonya(mentioned last blog) along with Harry and Elena Anderson. I hope you enjoy it.

Next week I will be heading to Arizona to see Artt Frank, a very close friend of Chet Baker. I just want to meet him(face to face, we've talked a lot over the phone and have e-mailed). Artt played with Chet, Miles, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington to only name a few. So he is definitely a great part of jazz history. And I hope to get a chance to play along with him. Fates willing. According to Andrea Mallis Mercury is in retrograde, so travel and communications can get skewed. And I hope to see a couple of old friends, Harv Moscowitz and Catherine Tornbom, who have re-located to Arizona. And I just realized this is quite a day to mention this, because this is Chet Baker's birthday. He was born 81 years ago in Yale Oklahoma.

I want to mention a couple of things about early next year. For the first time Division 3 will be having its own training. That will be the day before the CAA meeting at the end of February. It will be Saturday before the Sunday meeting and training. And it will be at our dojo as will the meeting. Hey, why not do both? And at the end of January there will be what by all indications a very important workshop for all those interested in Osensei's process. It is on Sunday January 30th at City Aikido in San Francisco and will be led by Robert Nadeau shihan. Nadeau sensei is a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba Osensei. I will be there as well. A lot of times people have no idea how to approach Osensei's stuff. It can be very immense and very difficult to grasp. So people on one end of the spectrum just give up and "just train" without getting a feel for the process the Founder worked. Or on the other end they go way too big way too fast and get lost in the size of Osensei's message. So this workshop will cover how to bridge the gap between the daily living applications of the process and how to expand that on the way to a larger more universal sense. So definitely not to be missed.

I just shot this video today with a new camcorder. The old one gave up the ghost and is one reason I haven't done more aikido videos lately. Thanks to Sean and Andrew for their assistance:

Monday, December 06, 2010

More Dojo Friends

On the dojo website under the dojo friends section there is a whole piece devoted to Tiger. Actually over the years there have been many feline friends associated with me and the Aikido of San Jose, especially in its early inception. I remember the first 2 cats, one gray and one white, I named Gray Mouser and Elric after the sword and sorcery heroes. We kept Mouser and gave Elric to I believe Nick de la Torre, who then re-named him Frodo. We had a couple of plantar boxes in front of the old Japantown dojo and a litter of kittens was left. I named them for the Golden State Warriors of the time. We wound up keeping the one named for Sonny Parker. Sonny was a unique Russian Blue shaded cat. He had a gentle disposition and he and I were very close. Unfortunately he went missing.There are no photos of him.And out of the next litter left on our doorstep came Christina. She was an Orange colored cat who had several litters, one of which produced Jenny. Jenny was named by my own daughter, who is also Jenny. Both Christina and Jenny had many litters. Jenny produced Puff, who is pictured above with my daughter. Puff had long fine fur much of which had an almost flame-like quality. Now having so many litters meant the cats had to be given away. Many dojo members took members of litters. And this also meant the dojo had to be flea bombed very often. During one of these Jenny and her mom were visiting Jenny's grandmother in Walnut Creek. I was staying over in the dojo office. In the middle of the night I heard a little cry outside the office door. I opened the door to find Puff who had wandered away from his mom and his litter. I brought him inside and he spent the night with me. And I got in the habit of taking him upstairs with me at night when I was going to sleep. So he and I got very close. Unfortunately after only a few years we awoke to find him dead in the office. I am still haunted by the fact I should have realized how sick he was and gotten him help.

Sonya was Puff's half-brother. My daughter named him Sonya even though he was a male cat. He came out of Jenny's next litter. He and Puff were close. After Puff died He and I became great friends. He was a very big cat and carried a lot of weight. I used to race him up the stairs. He used to let me think I was going to beat him then race effortlessly past me on the last few steps. Sonya had a much longer run than Puff, but he succumbed to a stomach tumor in 1994. Both Puff and Sonya are buried by the old Japantown dojo.

Dennis and I have been practicing some Christmas songs. We did this one last week. I put it together with some photos. Also featured in the photos is Swiftwind, a white cat from one of Christina's litters. I named him after She-ra's winged unicorn. He was a good friend to both Puff and Sonya. Also pictured is Flash, who belongs to my friend Lorri Verzola, and of course Vladi needs no introduction.