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2009 Arizona Aikido Bridge Fall Friendship Seminar
Contributed by Al Krever, Arizona Aikido
This year was, and I find it hard to believe, the 25th year of Arizona Aikido seminars in Prescott. It was also the second year of our new Bridge format program.
For those of you out there who keep track of these things, Arizona Aikido is now in its 41st year as an independent dojo, having been founded in 1968 by Jon Mamoru Takagi sensei who began his training in Honolulu, Hawaii, under Yukiso Yamamoto sensei. Arizona Aikido joined the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba organization under Mitsugi Saotome Sensei in 1989, five years after we began holding the Prescott Aikido Camp, and one year before Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei became our regular guest sensei. Emmanuel Pines Camp has hosted us since 1991. Prescott is pronounced "Press Kit" by the locals for probably the same reason that Gloucester is pronounced "Gloster" and Worchestershire is pronounced "Woostersher".
There will be a snap quiz later on in the semester.
Along with Ikeda Sensei we were pleased and honored to have a number of instructors from other associations and regions. Not the least of these was the remarkable Mary Heiny Sensei, 7th Dan, back after her successful hip replacement surgery. Also joining us this year were: Kirk Fowler, 7th Dan of the Ki Society and a retired agent with the DEA; David Goldberg, 5th Dan of Philadelphia, a multi-discipline instructor and surviving uke for both Ikeda and Saotome Senseis; Judith Robinson, 5th Dan, of Aikido at the Center in Tuscon, who's lineage is in the Iwama tradition; Rafa Methuna, 5th Dan, of Prescott; and Bob FrumHoff, 5th Dan, of Flagstaff.
Bridge seminars are a welcome addition to the various invitational seminars that are held by various Aikido associations throughout the USA. In an era where Aikido has evolved along several distinct branches, they provide an opportunity for cross fertilization of Aikido technique, ideology and principal. Instructors have the chance to introduce their latest ideas and teaching methods to a wide range of student levels. In this they are quite different in intent than the 3 or 4 day intensives that are more commonly scheduled throughout the year, and as a result, attendees who are used to this format have a much different experience.
The instruction was wonderful, the energy was high and everyone seemed to have a great time. Ikeda sensei's training was as usual enlightening to us all. His ability to transmit the most subtle of Aikido principals is what has kept serious of students of Aikido coming back to Prescott year after year.
Most heartwarming to all of us was to have Mary Heiny sensei back on the mat and out of pain. Her movements were glorious to watch and wonderful to practice. Her approach is holistic in that she attempts, through her Aikido, to show where our training applies to our lives. She is honestly intent on creating better people and a better world through her understanding of O-sensei's ideology. Her recovery was highlighted at the Saturday banquet when she spent some time on the dance floor doing the Tango with one of our members.
Kirk Fowler sensei, long time Ki-society instructor and friend of Arizona Aikido, taught a well received class on Ki-atsu, an Aikido based form of acupressure or shiatsu practiced by all Ki-society schools. Arizona Aikido was itself a Ki-society dojo in the early days and those of us who were around then still use Ki-atsu as a healing form in our practice. On the less spiritual side, Fowler sensei taught a class on knife attack defense, which he regularly teaches to federal agents engaged in field work. They were fun, terse and effective. He also pointed out that his techniques avoid unnecessary entanglements in court situations.
Judith Robinson sensei taught both hand arts and weapons this year. Aikido at the Center hosts a number of excellent seminars in Tucson during the year and her classes at our camp are always well appreciated.
David Goldberg sensei taught a bokken class which emphasized marubashi. Direct entry and tip control are noticeable aspects of his technique, which derives from both ASU style of Aiki-ken and Iaido forms of which he is also a highly ranked instructor.
Arizona was represented by both Rafa Methuna sensei and Bob Frumhoff sensei, who presented hand arts and weapon techniques as well.
Our best wishes to all who attended our 25th year seminar and to all of you who are welcome to join us in the future.
Train well. Stay safe.