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, Craig Fife Sensei and Richard Strozzi-Heckler 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, Craig Fife Sensei Richard Strozzi-Heckler 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.
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.
Richard Strozzi-Heckler, 7th Dan
Richard Strozzi-Heckler is Head Instructor and Founder of Two Rock Dojo, Co-Founder of Tamalpais Aikido Dojo, and Co-Founder of Training Across Borders (TAB) and the MidEast Aikido Project (MAP). He serves on the board of directors of the Aikido Ethiopia Project and is a founding member of the board of directors of Aikido for Veterans and Families.
Strozzi-Heckler Sensei began Aikido in 1972 and is a student of Mitsugi Saotome Sensei and Frank Doran Sensei. He has also studied judo, jiujitsu, capoeira and kali.
His eight books, including Aikido and The New Warrior, The Anatomy of Change, In Search of the Warrior Spirit, Holding The Center, The Leadership Dojo, and The Art of Somatic Coaching reflect how Aikido informs his work in Somatic Coaching and Leadership Development.
He developed the prototype program for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), and taught the Army Special Forces (Green Berets) in the Trojan Warrior Project, as well as Navy SEALs and law enforcement. He advised NATO on a martial arts/leadership program for the Afghan National Army. He is Founder of Strozzi Institute, a training institute for Embodied Leadership and Somatic Coaching.
Here's What Attendees Say About Aiki Summer Retreat
The training was most excellent! Loved every minute! I loved the surrounding woods. A real highlight for me was learning from the female instructors. They were particularly fantastic. All the training was amazing.Asha Cheval
I enjoyed camp very much. It was better than I had expected and exactly what I needed to grow my Aikido. These were nice people with high level of understanding of the art.Stephen Edwards
My favorite things about the Retreat are the high quality of the people and training.David Floeter
Friendship, Camaraderie. Community building was happening everywhere without efforts. I had a great time.Erik Haag
The camaraderie of a great group of people made the Retreat a wonderful experience.Zara Haimo
The camaraderie and the training were fantastic. What a total blast and honor to be part of it.Jeramy Hale
Favorite vacation event of the year :)!Joe Simms
This is a great chance to build on what you know. Each day seemed to provide information to build on what was taught the day before. Besides the featured teachers, there were many other practitioners that have great teaching skills in their own right.Richard Delewski
I especially enjoyed the mentoring approach to teaching. Two things -- inseparable, really -- that made the Retreat so good: the training and the camaraderie/friendship.Chuck Hauk Sensei
I truly adore the week long, total immersion aspect of this camp. There are so few opportunities to live together, train together, eat together, dance together, be silly together ... a true delight.Molly Hale
Being at the Retreat made me want to train even more. And I loved the location and campus.Travis Hedwig
My favorite things about the Retreat are the training and connecting with new aikido friends.Brian Hendrickson
The respectful group of teachers created such a respectful place to train. I really enjoyed meeting people from all over training in aikido. It was so energizing to immerse myself in the broader community of aikido for this week. It informed and transformed my aikido.Elizabeth Jannasch
I really appreciated the positive feeling and attitude of the participants and instructors.Rick Klein
I loved the camaraderie and the variety of teachers. The Retreat was fabulous.Kate Nehrbass
I had a wonderful time sharing practice and cultivating relationships across formal affiliations. Looking forward to next time!Susan Newton
Here's what I really enjoyed about the Retreat: The people, learning aikido, becoming a better person, the kindness of my training partners, and the community.Cindy Zuelsdorf
An Open Letter to All About Costs from Your Co-Hosts
We know that the cost of Aiki Summer Retreat is spendy.
We have struggled with the costs and trying to make this Retreat affordable. But no matter how we reconfigured things, it looks like this is best we can do.
We knew in June, at the end of the 2017 Retreat, that prices for the townhouses would rise around $300 or more. The prices for the dorms would remain the same. We had a meeting with the teaching staff and then with all the participants at the Retreat. We shared with them the information and asked what direction we should take.
Our options were:
A) Discontinue the Retreat, or
B) Move forward, and hopefully people will find the Retreat valuable and make financial choices so they could attend in 2018.
We got a resounding “move forward” and provide this wonderful opportunity to train for 7 days in a beautiful setting with a fun, talented, and inspirational community.
So here we are. Registration is open. The 2018 Aiki Summer Retreat is a happening thing and we are very proud to be your hosts.
Come join us and have the time of your life. And your family members are very welcome as well. Tahoe City has a little bit of something for everyone.
With a Heartfelt Thank You for you support,
Michael and Frank
Each person needs their own separate registration form and payment. Please call if you have questions. Everyone must register in advance. No on-site registrations.
We will accept registrations on a first-come, first-served basis by actual date of online registration or by post-mark date, if mailed. An individual registration form must be completed by each participant and include either full payment or deposit.
Each space at the Retreat must be used by the individual registrant and may not be shared. Registration is not transferable.
We will send you a confirmation of your registration and payment, along with more information about the Retreat, within two weeks. Please allow for this turn-around time before contacting us to confirm your registration.
Meals will be served in the dining hall. Service will begin with dinner on June 17 and end with lunch on June 23. Three meals will be served Monday through Friday. Please be sure to indicate whether you're vegetarian on on your registration form. Write us a note about any dietary or other special needs that you may have. If you have any really special needs, send Frank Bloksberg an email.
All plans are all-inclusive -- rooms, meals, training, and all Granlibakken standard amenities are included.
Granlibakken will issue everyone a name badge that you will need to use to get meals.
If the camp is full, we will place you on a waiting list and let you know your position on the list. If you decide to change plans, you must cancel from one plan and re-register for the other. We will process your second registration in order of its online or postmark date.
Please Note: To be fair to everyone on our waiting list, registrations are non-transferable.
This is an Adult Retreat
Retreat participants must be 15 years of age or older by May 15. We may allow exceptional youth slightly younger with special permission from Frank Bloksberg Sensei. Please do not register someone under 15 years of age without Bloksberg Sensei's express permission.
Parent or guardian must sign a minor’s registration/release form. If a minor attends the Retreat amp without a parent or guardian, the parent/guardian must also provide a letter designating an adult Retreat participant as the person responsible for the minor during camp. Of course, you must have that participant's permission.
All cancellations are final. You may re-register with a new online/postmark date.
No cancellation fee if you cancel by May 15. If you cancel after May 15 and by June 1, the cancellation fee is $75. If you cancel after June 1, you will be subject to a loss of the full registration fee.
Getting to the Summer Retreat
Granlibakken Tahoe is in Tahoe City, California a little more than 50 miles (about 1 hour) from Reno airport.
Here's what Granlibakken says about their shuttle service to and from the airport:
"Transportation is available from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport at a cost of $49.00 per person, each way (2 or more passengers on the same shuttle) with a minimum of $98.00 each way for a single rider. Rates are subject to change. We require 7 days advance notice and all reservations must be prepaid. Cancellations received less than 24 hours prior to arrival or departure are non-refundable. Airport pickup service requires Granlibakken be notified of the airline, flight number and arrival time. (Subject to change)" Contact Granlibakken at (800) 543-3221 to set up shuttle service, if you'd like.
We'll be sending everyone who signs up emails with all of the necessary information for a great Retreat.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!