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Some Reflections on 2013 – Martial artists making a difference

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Last year began with an article about the Memorial Training held in Kato Sensei’s honor at the ITP (formerly Sofia University) Dojo in Palo Alto. Another article that month noted that Allan Vann Gardner and Grayson James from Two Rock Dojo had each been promoted to 5th dan.

In February I wrote about the talented Michelle Pireira, one of Bob Noha Sensei’s students and a gifted fabric artist. The same month included an update on Jamie Leno Zimron’s work in with Aiki Extensions including what she is doing in Israel and the West Bank.

March included articles about Don Levine Sensei’s work as the Founder of Aiki Extensions and a two-part article about Stevan Gengo Sensei, who is one of the Founding Instructors of Western Aikido Association. I also wrote of a two-part review of Gozo Shioda Sensei’s amazing book published by Kodansha USA.

April brought about another the second and third article about Stevan Gengo Sensei’s amazing Aikido journey. The month also included the second part of my review of Gozo Shioda’s autobiography. The month ended with the announcement of a $35,000.00 grant to Aiki Extensions to foster their work in Ethiopia.

May’s articles were about Kate Jonasse, an amazing woman who has and is using her Aikido training to help grow her automotive repair business while also giving back to the community with her "Car Give-Away Program" – with the result that she was named the Sebastopol's "Business of the Year" in 2013. I also wrote about the founding and growth of the Western Aikido Association, a new Association founded by Robert Frager Sensei.

June brought dan tests at the ITP dojo in Palo Alto and two new shodans. The same month Nick Anast, a long time student of Richard Strozzi-Heckler Sensei, presented his yondan demonstration at Two Rock Dojo with Frank Doran Sensei, the dojo’s Division Head sitting for the demonstration.

July was a fun month with my article about Low Impact Aikido, a subject I’ll never tire writing about. The month also included personal history about O Sensei that Gozo Shioda revealed in his autobiography, “Aikido – My Spiritual Journey.”

August included another article about the Western Aikido Association with an update on its activities. I also wrote about Dr. Robert Hall’s amazing encyclopedic history of Japanese marital arts and his lecture at the Japan Center in San Francisco. What an amazing book and fun evening! I had fun reviewing the book, “Japanese Kitchen Knives,” another Kodansha USA gem. Another review was John Steven Sensei’s new book on Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo.

September was a busy month with a three-part series articles about Rev. Koichi Barrish Sensei who had joined the Western Aikido Association with his group of dojos. I also wrote about a Qi Gong master who gave a weekend workshop at Shugyo Center outside Sebastopol, CA. And Eddie Frager Sensei in Portland had a spirited dedication of his dojo’s new location in Portland, OR.

October was when Linda Holiday Sensei’s much anticipated book arrived in my mailbox. What a treat. John Stevens Sensei held a joint workshop at the ITP Dojo with Robert Frager Sensei in the morning. The afternoon was a calligraphy workshop with Stevens Sensei. I reviewed his book “Sacred Calligraphy of the East” following the workshop. October was also the Aiki Extensions weekend workshop at ITP. And I wrote an article celebrating my 20th year in Aikido, thanking all my teachers and training partners.

November included articles thanking our Veterans and remembering Jenya Bohr who passed away and was a true warrior for peace. Thanksgiving produced an article about what a great gift we have with the bounty of martial arts dojos in the Greater Bay Area. I also wrote about Scott Berg Sensei of Aikido of Alamo, one of the Founding Instructors of the Western Aikido Association and a gift Aikido teacher.

December began with a tribute article to another great warrior for peace, Nelson Mandela. This was followed by a series of articles about the on-going crisis at the then “Sofia University.” It seemed at first a strange way to end the year, but Robert Frager Sensei truly became an example of Aikido in action with his attempts to blend and harmonize with the terrible situation. It appears It appears I will soon be able to write about a positive outcome to what was occurring over the past two plus years at this esteemed graduate institution of higher learning and center of Aikido training, workshops and scholarship.

These are some of the highlights of my columns and articles from 2013. I wish to thank everyone for their support with both reading my columns and with your feedback. And especially, I want to thank my spell checkers for catching all my little typos, especially Rob Kent. And thank you one and all for being committed to this path of Peace and Harmony.

And please remember you can continue to support my work here by becoming a subscriber. Simply click the icon “Subscribe” by my photo and then click the email when it arrives confirming that your email address is valid.

Best wish to all in 2014!

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