Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween and Other stuff

We had our annual Halloween Party last night. It was a small but very spirited gathering. I want to thank Mike Driscoll and Sean Feurtado for their assistance. I think everybody had a great time. My costume for this year was Green Lantern. I got a Lantern and Ring from Atlantis Fantasy World in Santa Cruz.

We are still moving towards our November 13th fundraiser/training. Again we will be holding a raffle during the post training social gathering. So if you have anything or any service you would like to donate, please come forward. Frank Silvey will be organizing this.

November 11 will be the premier date for an important film and documentary produced by a longtime friend, Foster Gamble. "Thrive" is set to premier not only in theaters but also streaming online on 11/11/11. This is a very important film tying such things together as UFOs, conspiracy theories, global ecomonics, infinite free energy sources.....I don't want to make this sound frivolous at all. It is important and please at least check in online. The website is . I shot some footage for the film in 2006. While I did not make the film, some footage will be on the dvd and the website.

The just concluded World Series was bittersweet. The Giants with better health and the off-season acquisition of a big bat could have beaten either the Cardinals or the Rangers..

And the 49ers have been a revelation. It is great to see this team with such an illustrious tradition headed back in a good direction. With today's win they are 6-1.
Before this season Andrea Mallis( predicted that Alex Smith would be better(he has a favorable Jupiter) and he has. The touchdown pass against the Lions 4th and goal at the 6 yard line was a defining moment. I have always liked him personally and am glad for his success.. Hope both his and the team's continue.

I just finished a new video which was shot at the October 1st Spirit of Japantown demo. I want to thank Meng, Steve, Shin, and Yu-Chen for their participation. And Frank Silvey for shooting it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fundraiser/Training and More

We will be having our 3rd annual "Help Us Keep the Lights On" fundraiser/training on Sunday November 13th. Our power bill is due towards the end of the year and this helps us weather the storm so to speak. It is interesting that this year marks the 35th year of the dojo(it opened in July of 1976, the bicentennial year). It also marks the 10th year of the dojo at our current Martha Street location. Indeed time has a way of passing.

Since we have not done much weapons work this year I thought it would be interesting to make that the focus of the training this year. Joining me in teaching will be senseis Linda Holiday(Aikido of Santa Cruz), Harry Concepcion(Aikido of San Jose) and Dianna Lynne(Happokaze Budokan Fair Oaks). Each will bring something unique to the presentation.

Weapons work is sometimes seen as advanced. But I would like this to be something that a new person could use to get oriented to this aspect of aikido. At the same time I would like to offer something that a student of many years could attend and be introduced to something new. So quite a challenge. My feeling is that the techniques of aikido are more than just techniques. And that a certain approach to weapons can be useful in breaking the code for what they represent. And I am interested in presenting that in a way where both a beginner and a student of some years might both find something.

Osensei did a lot of work with weapons and a lot of that training was by himself. When he was alive he did not like people doing weapons, even mentioning to some of his senior people who had formulated their own systems that they should not teach weapons. That they did not understand sufficiently. My sense here is that Osensei's use of weapons was alchemical or shamanic. That he was using the sword and/or staff to interact with or navigate certain forces or energies. For him they were apparently about transformation. About codifying both himself and his relationship to the universe. Therefore not to be confused with the sense of making aikido a martial art or giving people more material to learn.

So the challenge here is to make a very basic but deep presentation where weapons are presented in a way that he might approve and further the growth of both newer and more advanced students. My feeling is that the weapons and the way they are presented constantly need to be updated while still somehow maintaining a connection to their history and source. Certainly a challenge.

So the event will be Sunday November 13, 2011 at the San Jose dojo. The time will be from 1pm to 6pm. There will be 4 classes with breaks in between. There will be a social gathering after, with drinks and snacks provided. We are going to have a raffle then as a part of the fundraiser. Those who would like can donate an item for the raffle. Dianna Lynne is a very gifted bodyworker and healer and has offered bodywork sessions 10 minutes for $10 all of which would go to the dojo. The recommended donation for the event is $50, but those challenged may use a sliding scale. And those who would like to donate more are certainly welcome to do that. Getting a tax deduction for a donation is possible. For that or any other question please contact me Those out of area reading this blog who would like to be involved in the fundraiser please feel free to contact me.

I got a new phone with a good video camera. I shot myself at the local Y shooting baskets. I do that strictly for fun and just enjoy moving and creating. And the background is a little piece Dennis and I did at the dojo......

Monday, October 03, 2011

Iaido class in San Jose

We recently had our World Peace Training on Sunday September 11th. It was well attended and there were some great demos as a part of this event. One thing this allowed me to do was to work again with Dianna Lynne and her wolf Vladi. A couple of years ago after a workshop in Sebastopol at Centerfield Aikido she and I did a video together of sword drawing and cutting with music in the background. And of course Vladi added his magnificent presence to the event. It went well and happened to be filmed by James Gauer. So after a couple of years we decided to try it again. And a video was done anew.

I have done some sword cutting with her. It is different than working with a bokken. One thing that was stressed in Shingu, especially by Hikitsuchi sensei and Tojima sensei was the importance of treating the bokken as if it were a live blade. Hikitsuchi sensei insisted that Osensei told him if one mastered the secret of aikido a bokken would be alchemically transformed into a live blade, ie a cutting weapon. And as has been recorded earlier, I have seen Tojima sensei literally cut through a bokken with his own bokken.

If working with a bokken there is a tendency to work the cut off the body. Of course that is what happens anyway. But with a real sword cutting through an object there is not the feeling of weight that can come with a bokken cut. It is as if the body and the sword unite and create another level of body where the sword in some sense leads. It is a very interesting feeling. And if you go mental or muscle the sword just bounces off the target.

Even though aikido is outwardly a grappling art, on another level its movement is based on the cutting movement of the Japanese sword or the thrusting/cutting movement of the Japanese spear. A lot of the concept of tai sabaki(body changes) come from this weapons traditions and are practiced in aikido as body arts. These days one cannot walk around with a sword or spear.

Dianna is currently teaching an iaido class at the San Jose dojo the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month following the noon class. She is also a gifted bodyworker and healer an on some occasions will be available for those sessions as well. For more information check