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Aikido & Martial Arts in danger at ITP/Sofia University

"The Year of the Dragon"
"The Year of the Dragon"
Photograph taken by Paul Rest

This morning at 10:30 there will be an open Board Meeting at ITP/Sofia University followed by a closed meeting at 3:00 PM. Any martial artists available should be there this morning if possible. It is obvious that Neal King, the past president of the school, and the new president (a buddy of King’s) are about ready to turn the graduate school into a for-profit money machine for new corporate handlers eagerly waiting behind the scenes.

This PBS special clearly outlines the problems with the proliferation of for-profit educational institutions.

Robert Frager, a direct student of O’Sensei with a distinguished academic career founded the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and included Aikido as part of the graduate school’s requirements from the beginning. Frager saw the importance of Aikido in the development of those in the helping professions.

His vision was to make ITP a home for those who wished to see their work as more than the mechanics of psychotherapy—something that had a deep spiritual grounding. Over the years ITP has welcomed scholars and teachers from many different traditions, visits that enriched both faculty and students. The martial arts program there as always been open to other martial arts and many have taken advantage of this over the years.

Now all this is threatened. If the King/Ellsworth team succeed, the school will be become just another for-profit diploma mill churning out graduates who have no real sense of the deeper spiritual possibilities of their professions. King and Ellsworth have done this before at Antioch College, where they through vile and skullduggery hijacked this wonderful private Liberal Arts college and made it a for-profit institution.

If the King/Ellswroth succeed, Aikido will probably be one of the first things thrown out. For-profit educational institutions have no room for anything "different," only profit!

Anyone who can make this open meeting this morning will be appreciated. There’s plenty of parking in the lot at the main building or the one next door. And please bring a notebook and pen and jot down any egregious statements that Ellsworth makes that sets off your receptors.

The address is 1069 East Meadow, Palo Alto, CA. You’ll see the big “Sofia” logo on the building.

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