Yoshi Shibata Sensei at Portsmouth Aikido!

Image courtsey of the Aikido and Healing Arts Center of Roseville, http://rosevilleaikidocenter.com.

Yoshi Shibata Sensei will be teaching a seminar at Portsmouth Aikido in New Hampshire, this coming August. The seminar begins on Friday, August 14th, with a class on calligraphy, and continues with Aikido classes on Saturday and Sunday. Please read the PDF flyer for more information, and visit portsmouthaikido.org to register. Discounted rates are available before August 1st.

We hope to see you there!

Matsuri Festival and Mary Heiny Seminar

Thanks to everyone who attended the Matsuri Festival last month! We hope you enjoyed the activities and had a chance to see the Aikido demonstrations.

In two weeks we are honored to host Mary Heiny Sensei, 6th Dan, as she continues her teachings on Take Musu Aiki. Heiny Senei will be here from May 15 – May 17, and will be teaching in the Vermont Aikido dojo at 274 North Winooski Ave. A full schedule and price information follows here:

Friday May 15: evening class 6-8pm
Saturday May 16: 10am-noon & 2:30-4:30pm
Pizza and potluck social from 6-8pm
Sunday May 17:  morning class 10:00am-Noon

Full weekend paid pre-registration $110 / $120 at the door
Friday $40 / Saturday two classes $70 / Sunday $50

If you have any questions or would like to register, please contact Vermont Aikido. We hope to see you there!

My Observations From The Santa Cruz Seminar of 2014

(This post was written by Aaron Ward Sensei, chief instructor at Vermont Aikido.)

There are things that, after years of training in Aikido, I see in a different light; things that in the past I may have overlooked entirely. These may be something as straightforward as the running of a seminar. Without a doubt, this year’s Santa Cruz seminar was one of the best organized and executed seminars that I have had the good fortune to attend. That in itself was a great accomplishment for the Santa Cruz dojo, but it’s not what I want to write about. What I would like to write about is the concept of giri, which loosely translates to “duty,” “responsibility” and “obligation.” For all too many people in the West, terms like duty, responsibility and obligation mean only one thing: a burden that has to be grudgingly undertaken. Something that we have to endure.

The value of giri is not what we have to do, but what we get to do or are allowed to do. The realization that every task reflects on you, your sensei, and your dojo. Knowing that a job is only done well if it is done with the proper spirit. My observation of the 2014 Santa Cruz seminar showed a dojo with members that live the reality of giri, undergoing their tasks in a wholehearted and joyous manner.

O-Sensei said, “Always practice the art of peace in a vibrant and joyful manner.” The truest form of Aikido is based in giri.  A great deal of credit has to be given to the students of Aikido Santa Cruz, but my experience is that giri flows downhill: the people who have the deepest understanding of giri get this understanding from their sensei. Just as a student’s good basics can be attributed to their sensei, so can their understanding of giri. So Linda Holiday Sensei deserves a great deal of credit for the success of the seminar along with her students. Their giri led to a seminar that has left a lasting impression on me, not just as a person but the way I practice and study Aikido.