Aiki Summer Retreat is a cooperative, friendly environment where you can practice sincerely without feeling in competition with everyone else on the mat. You will feel welcome no matter your style or rank. You will enjoy the warmth of our aikido community! The Retreat is a great place to train, have fun and make friends.
Top notch training is the thing at Aiki Summer Retreat. But there's this: The headline instructors – Michael Friedl Shihan, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, and Craig Fife Sensei – will all be on the mat training for as many classes as they can. These are really nice people who are at the Retreat to have fun and train as well as teach. So, don't be shy! Just bow in to them for the training experience of a lifetime!
The quality of the teaching staff at Aiki Summer Retreat is second to none. I am not only referring to the fact that Michael Friedl Shihan, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, and Craig Fife Sensei are all extremely experienced, fantastic instructors. And, I am not only referring to the fact that they are all amazing aikidoists.
What I am saying is that these are all really great people. They are smart, happy to share, fun to be with and caring. The sheer quality of these people drives an incredible Retreat. And you get to hang out with them for a week!
In addition, the Retreat community is made up of great training partners – many of whom are also very experienced instructors. They will teach morning and other classes, too. Then there's the wider community of lovely people who make attending the Retreat truly worth it.
Something you probably don't know about the Retreat -- particularly if you didn't attend the last couple of years – is how we support up-and-coming instructors. We will select a few "junior" instructors to participate in our mentoring program. These fortunate folks will teach a class and get mentoring with one (or more) of our headliners (!) on their teaching skills. I do not know of any other Retreat that has ever offered such a program. Our mentoring programs have been a rousing success. I am sure this year's will be as good. Let us know if you want to be considered for the mentoring program.
While full-week, immersive retreats were all the rage years ago, very few exist today. They are very expensive and difficult to organize. Instead, most retreats are Bridge-style now. Bridge retreats are a few days long where everyone trains in one location, but are on their own for food, a place to stay and all non-training activities. At those Retreats, you simply cannot get the same level of experience and friendships as staying as a group for the week. And when you add up all of the expenses involved in a few-days-long Bridge seminar, they generally cost at least as much as our week long Retreat – at our first-class Lake Tahoe resort.
If you are at all serious about your aikido, then take your training (and your fun) to the next level by joining us.
Your Co-Host Frank Bloksberg Sensei
Michael Friedl Shihan, 7th Dan
Michael Friedl Shihan is founder and chief instructor of Aikido of Ashland. He is the head of Division 2 of the California Aikido Association (taking over for Frank Doran Shihan in February, 2016). Shortly before becoming the head of the Division, Friedl Shihan completed a tenure as President of the California Aikido Association.
Friedl Shihan began his Aikido training in 1972 under Clyde Takeguchi Shihan in Madison, Wisconsin. Friedl Shihan became a live-in student (also known as a uchi deshi) for Takeguchi Shihan from 1975-1977 in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1978 Friedl Shihan established a dojo in Burlington, Vermont. He moved to Ashland, Oregon in 1979 and started a small aikido club.
Friedl Shihan affiliated with Frank Doran Shihan in 1979 and has been a student of his since that time. Friedl Shihan was uchi deshi for Saito Shihan in Iwama, Japan from 1981-1983. There he studied weapons intensely and the Iwama style of weapons remains a strong influence in his weapons style to this day.
Kimberly Richardson Sensei, 6th Dan
Kimberly Richardson is the founder and chief instructor of Two Cranes Aikido in Seattle, Washington where she teaches children, teens and adults. She began her training with Mary Heiny Sensei in 1978 and has studied throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, most notably with Motomichi Anno, Saotome and Ikeda Shihans, Terry Dobson and Tom Read Senseis. Kimberly Sensei received her 6th degree black belt from Mary Heiny Sensei.
In 2008 Kimberly founded a non-profit, TCI, an Institute that provides educational and embodied leadership programs in the Seattle community and beyond. Her goal is to share O'Sensei's principles and practices that cultivate peaceful solutions to conflict and encourage nonviolent action.
Additionally, Kimberly Sensei has studied Tai Chi Chen for ten years and she is passionate about ballroom dancing. Watching children develop confidence and self-esteem on the Aikido mat is the inspiration for her first book, Gus Learns to Fly.
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Craig Fife Sensei, 6th Dan
Craig Fife Sensei is the founder and chief instructor of Aikido Northwest. Fife Sensei’s Aikido training began in 1973 in Boise, Idaho. Fife Sensei currently holds the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt), from the Aikikai Foundation, Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan. This rank was awarded to him by his teacher, Frank Doran Shihan.
In addition to Fife Sensei’s personal study of Aikido, he has been actively teaching Aikido since 1980. Fife Sensei has also been a student of Iaido since 1990 and currently holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt) from the All United States Kendo Federation. Fife Sensei is a member of the California Aikido Association Teaching Committee.
Here's What Attendees Said About Aiki Summer Retreat 2018
The retreat was the best week I've had in years. A solid week of great training with fantastic people at a lovely location with great food.David Socha
The Aiki Summer Retreat experience is beyond words! Seven days of all the peace, love, and harmony a person can stand, with the most welcoming community of people imaginable, a teaching staff that is world-class, and the fanciest facilities of any martial arts camp I have ever attended!Alan Best
Camp was wonderful this year and it's set to just get better. The deep learning, joy and comeraderie was palpable both on and off the mat. The teachers were all excellent as was the opportunity to either mentor or be mentored as a teacher. The Aiki Summer Retreat is setting the ground work for Aikido to expand its reach in the next generation.Sara Snell
Go! You won't regret it!Renee Jourdenais
The retreats are a wonderful way to meet other aikidoka and make new friends.Daryl Berlie
A very wonderful week with amazing teachings and loving, open people. The setting is beautiful and the food was fresh (salads and lots of fruit) and prepared deliciously. Was totally worth it.Jane Hill
I can't wait for next year!Katy Porray
Wow! Great teachers, great training partners, and great food from an amazing experience.Mark Kruger
The Aiki summer retreat is an experience that invigorates my commitment to aikido by providing excellent classes and a great sense of community. The knowledge gained, the new friendships made, and the old friendships renewed are all priceless.Earlene Eaton
I had the time of my life. Deep training in a beautiful place with a beautiful community, great food, and complete immersion in Aikido.Gina Lagalbo
The 2018 Aiki Summer Retreat was magical. The instructors were excellent, the space was fantastic, and people were wonderful on and off the mat.Thomas Klein
Aikido is the practice of Harmony at the source. Harmony is Mind, Body, and Spirit all together --yours, mine, and ours. I have never experienced a more joyous gathering of Aikido-ka all practicing Harmony together day after day than at the Aiki Summer Retreat. The entire experience was absolutely fabulous! Thank you.David Drake
If you did nothing to change the retreat, it would still be perfect. Some of the best training by some of the finest teachers there are!Shawn Ellingson
The best aikido camp I've ever attended. I can't wait to attend next year.Tim Schmelter
When the experience flows as well as the aikido, you've got it down.Laszlo Nemes
Aiki Summer Retreat is brought to you by Michael Friedl Shihan and Frank Bloksberg Sensei. Please feel free to contact Frank Sensei for any questions you have about the Retreat at (530) 273-2727. If you want to send an email, follow this link.
Copyright 2019 Frank Bloksberg and Michael Friedl. All Rights Reserved.