News and Notes
Aikido in the Japanese Friendship Garden
3 October 2017
Arizona Aikido's Agatsu Dojo will be conducting beginning classes in the weapon arts of jo and bokken in the Japanese Friendship Garden - Ro Ho En - on Sunday, Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26, and December 3, 10 and 17, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Classes are $20 each for non-members of the Japanese Friendship Garden. There is a $5 discount per class for members of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Please see the Japanese Friendship Garden Health and Wellness page for complete information and registration.
Special Class - Atemi and Randori - October 14, 2017
21 September 2017
Moylan Ryan Sensei and Vandell Ventura Sensei will facilitate a special class focusing on atemi and randori on October 14, 2017, starting at 12:00 p.m. Please take this opportunity to train!
Fall Mountain Camp 34 is in the books!
18 September 2017
Arizona Aikido's Fall Mountain Camp 2017 is in the books! Thanks to Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan for a wonderful camp! Thanks, too, to all who attended! We began going to an annual camp in Prescott in 1984 after the death of our dojo founder, Jon Mamoru Takagi Sensei. Our then new Chief Instructor, Tsuneji Sakakibara Sensei, felt it was important for us to get away from the Valley and reconnect with our roots, to begin our recovery from the loss of our previous leader. Through the years, we have had the opportunity to train with many different senior instructors. Our first camp was focused only on local instructors – Sakakibara Sensei, Ralph Pfleger (Rafa Mithuna) Sensei, Tom Haines Sensei, Joel Levert Sensei, Ben Mancini Sensei, and Gene Nelson Sensei. In 1985 we were able to host Fumio Toyoda Sensei from Chicago. He and Takagi Sensei had formed the Aikido Association of America and we were a part of that organization. Over the next year, Sakakibara Sensei decided that, with the consent of the dojo membership, we should return to a connection with Hombu Dojo in Japan. That was accomplished by affiliating with the United States Aikido Federation, headed in the Western Region by Kazuo Chiba Sensei who had also taken the name “Taiwa Kigen” Chiba when he became a Buddhist priest. That year, 1986, we had planned to have Frank McGouirk Sensei as our featured instructor. Because of a bit of poor planning on our part, our sister dojo in Tucson had planned to feature Frank Doran Sensei for a seminar on the same weekend. Realizing that trying to have both seminars would be a disaster for both of us, we asked the two Franks if they would mind doing a joint seminar in Prescott. That was acceptable to them, so that is what we did, held the first “Frank & Frank” Seminar. Over the years we know we’ve had other well-known sensei teach at Fall Mountain Camp – T.K. Chiba Sensei, Bruce Bookman Sensei, Coryl Crane Sensei, JoAnn Veneziano Sensei, Glenn Brooks Sensei. Within a few of years our beginning, we settled at Emmanuel Pines Camp with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei as our featured instructor. Each year we held a Saturday night banquet at the Hotel St. Michael, with music and dancing. We evolved from Fall Mountain Camp to Fall Bridge Camp and added other instructors – 2009, for example, featured Mary Heiny Sensei, Tsuneji Sakakabara Sensei, Kirk Fowler Sensei, and Judith Robinson Sensei, in addition to Ikeda Sensei. In 2010 Mary Heiny Sensei returned, as did Sakakibara Sensei, along with Lia Suzuki Sensei, and Sifu Roger Fenneman. In 2012 George Ledyard Sensei joined us along with the instructors from 2011. In 2014 we returned to single-instructor format for camp, still featuring Ikeda Sensei. In 2015 we moved our Saturday night banquet from the Hotel St. Michael to a catered dinner in the dojo at Emmanuel Pines Camp. We did the same in 2016, but in 2017 we moved the banquet back into Prescott at the Gurley Street Grill. That brings us to the conclusion of our Fall Mountain Camp. We have decided that this camp no longer works for us in the manner we had envisioned, so 2017 was our last camp! We plan to continue our very long relationship with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, who will be back with us in December 2018 in Phoenix. Please watch for details of this seminar. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years as we trained each September in Prescott! We hope you’ll continue to support our dojo as we move forward!
Fall Mountain Camp 34!
29 July 2017
Arizona Aikido's annual Fall Mountain Camp will be held at Emmanuel Pines Camp in Prescott, Arizona, the weekend after Labor Day, Thursday evening, September 7 through Sunday noon, September 10, 2017. Our featured instructor is Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan. Some sessions may be taught by local Arizona senior instructors. Information on cost and online registration are available here. Download a flier. Download a map of Emmanuel Pines Camp. Weather information for Prescott. If you need transportation from the airport to Prescott, check with us first. If we can't find a ride for you, check airport shuttle services here. Rental cars are also available at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. If you are staying at Emmanuel Pines Camp, you will need a sleeping bag or sheet, pillow, blanket, towel and your toiletries. We have a limited number of linens available for an extra fee of $10.00. Or you can look for other lodging in Prescott. Please note that Emmanuel Pines Camp is not within walking distance of any lodging in Prescott. Please bring your jo and bokken. We do have a limited number of weapons for those who are unable to bring their own. Information about Emmanuel Pines Camp. The camp does not have information about this seminar, so please do not contact them about it. Directions to Emmanuel Pines Camp. Many people take the opportunity while at camp to check out historic Prescott. Whiskey Row is a popular area that is easily accessible on Friday evening or on Saturday evening after the banquet. Additional information about Prescott is available from the Prescott Chamber of Commerce. The Grand Canyon is about 130 miles from Prescott, a 2.5 hour drive, and is also a popular spot to visit while you are here.
Remembering Tsuneji Sakakibara Sensei
22 July 2017
We remember Sakakibara Sensei fondly on this forth anniversary of his death. Sakakibara Sensei was very important to Arizona Aikido! After the death of Jon Takagi Sensei in February 1984, Sakakibara Sensei stepped in to fill the role of Chief Instructor. He held the dojo together, brought us back into union with Hombu Dojo, and kept us training. He started the first Fall Mountain Camp in Prescott when he saw the need for us to get away from the Valley, to come together as a family and to grieve the loss of Takagi Sensei. Eventually, he turned the dojo over to Tom Haines Sensei, but continued to teach as as Chief Instructor Emeritus. We still miss him and we honor his memory. Read Sensei's biography here. One of the ways we remember him is through the Sakakibara Sensei Memorial Scholarship Fund. If you'd like to donate to the Fund, you may do so using the Donate button below.
Remembering O Sensei
26 April 2017
Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba died on April 26th, (Japan time) in 1969. Here is his grave at the Omoto compound in Ayabe (top, with inset of Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu visiting the grave last year) and his grave at the Shingon temple Kozan-ji in Tanabe, Wakayama (bottom). (Photo from Aikido Sangenkai – Christopher Li.)
20 March 2017
We are proud to announce the following kyu promotions from from testing last week: Chad - 4th kyu
Tony - 6th kyu
Josh - 6th kyu
Death of Stanley Pranin
10 March 2017
We noted this post on Facebook this morning from George Ledyard, 7th dan, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba: I am sad to announce that Stanley Pranin has passed away. Many of you may know him as the publisher of Aikido Journal and the man who hosted the three Aiki Expos in early 2000's. Stan was the preeminent historian of Aikido and its parent art, Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu in the English language. His entire adult life revolved around Aikido. We will miss him greatly.
Happy Birthday Mitsugi Saotome Sensei
7 March 2017
Mitsugi Saotome Sensei celebrated his birthday on March 7. He is the founder of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. We wish him the very best of everything on this auspicious occasion!
4-Day Mind / Body Principles Intensive with George Ledyard Sensei
4 March 2017
October 6th – 9th 2017
George Ledyard Sensei, Aikido 7th Dan and direct student of Mitsugi Saotome Shihan
Arizona Aikido in Phoenix Mind / Body Principles in Aikido - $275 This intensive will offer four full days of instruction on the mind / body principles that function to create aiki. First we will focus on how to develop the “platform”, the integrated body required to do Aikido waza. Explanation and exercises on how to use the “intent” to unify the body will be a focus. Once we have established the basic “platform”. we will look at how to make that platform move-able. By the end of the four days, we will cover how the various principles we have studied apply in basic Aikido kihon waza. The goal is for the students to have the tools to become their own teachers using a principle based way of approaching their training. This seminar is open to students of all levels and affiliations. There is a limit of 40 students to ensure that students get maximum personal attention. Online Registration
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