The three-day Conference at Sofia University in Palo Alto offered numerous hour-long presentations by experts and leaders in their fields discussing how they use Aikido and core Aikido principles on a daily basis.
Saturday’s tone was set with an opening talk by Robert Frager, the Founder of Sofia University (and also Founder & Head of the Western Aikido Association). He spoke on, “Aikido as a Way of Personal Transformation.” Frager Sensei, who was a direct student of O Sensei’s, shared his insights into how Aikido offers a personal path of transformation with a couple of personal stories about his interactions with the Founder.
David Lukoff, whom I’ve profiled here before, presented a session on “Aikido and Psychotherapy.” Richard Stozzi-Heckler’s well-attended session was on “Embodied Leadership.” Lance Giroux discussed his experiences in the session titled, “The Art of Practice and the Organizational Dojo” ™. Katina Bishop and two people from her organization shard their insights into “Restorative Justice and Aikido Principles.” And Richard Moon gave a spirited talk on “The Action of Peace.”
That is just a sampling (about half) of what was presented at the Conference. What impressed this writer, who went as an observer and writer for the examiner.com, was how engaged those attending were with what was being presented.
For example, in the discussion about the program at Two Cranes Aikido in Seattle (Washington), and in the program at Aikido of Fredericksburg (Virginia), both of which focused on working with kids either at risk or with some type of learning or behavioral disability, what worked and what didn’t work was laid out. There was no sugar coating. And the flexibility that Aikido offers was clearly show in the art’s ability to adapt to the individuals in the programs and the situations as they evolved.
Bravo to both for their excellent (as in wonderful) programs!
More will be written about this with articles on some of the individual programs.
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