Aiki Summer Retreat 2019

June 16 - 22, 2019

Lake Tahoe, California

Welcome to Aiki Summer Retreat 2019! Live, train, take meals and relax with fellow aikidoists at breathtaking Lake Tahoe, in the beautiful Sierra Mountains, from June 16 - 22.

Deepen your aikido practice with extraordinary instructors: Michael Friedl Shihan, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, and Craig Fife Sensei. At Aiki Summer Retreat, you will immerse yourself in your study of aikido, reflect on and reaffirm why you train, and nurture the spirit of aikido through community. Please join us for a wonderful week of aikido training, community and fun!

Our home and dojo will be at lovely Granlibakken Tahoe resort, in Tahoe City, California. We'll have access to all of Granlibakken's amenities -- resort-wide wireless internet, pool, hot tub, sauna, tennis courts, and more.

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

Featured Instructors

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.

fade-leftfade-rightHere'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

Registration Information

Granlibakken TahoeAiki Summer Camp 2019 is returning to Granlibakken Tahoe, which is in Tahoe City, California. Everybody last year loved Granlibakken. It is simply a fantastic place to hold the retreat.

We’ll be walking distance to the lake. In case you don’t already know this, Lake Tahoe is one of the more beautiful places in the world. The elevation is about 6,200 feet. The weather in June is spectacular, with an average high around 70 degrees. Nights can get pretty chilly.

To be as accommodating as we can be to everyone, we have several Retreat plans that you can select from. Most of the plans are all-inclusive: room, food, training, and all of Granlibakken's amenities. With the independent plans, you get your own place to stay, and we provide everything else.

We have three rooming options: (1) Townhouses, (2) Dorm Rooms and (3) find your own place independent plans.

The Retreat is first-come, first-served. June is the high season for Lake Tahoe, so we have limited rooms and cannot get more. Don’t delay registering, because you really may miss out.

We have two types of rooms at Granlibakken – dorms (we have 10 of them) and townhouses. The dorms are basic, big rooms with either one or two bathrooms. Depending on the room, the dorm will have some type of regular bed (twin, double, queen), plus one or more bunk beds. The dorms come with linens and daily cleaning service.

The townhouses are either two or three bedrooms and a loft. They have a bathroom for each bedroom. The person staying in the loft will share a bathroom with one of the bedrooms. Expect each bedroom to have two beds. While the town houses will be filled, they are very nice with full amenities – kitchen, fireplace, the works.

If you want single occupancy, your own hotel room, or want to bring your family along, contact me and we can arrange that for you. We can't give you prices for these here, because we'll have figure it out on an individual basis. Just know that the prices we can get you are much, much better than if you arrange for a room yourself. We are, after all, booking a lot of rooms!

Please let me explain how we're going to assign dorm rooms. First, here's the maximum occupancy for each of the dorm rooms:

Room 1 = 3, Room 2 = 5, Room 3 = 6, Room 4 = 4, Room 5 = 4, Room 6 = 3, Room 7 = 4, Room 8 = 4, Room 9 = 3, Room 10 = 6.

We're going to keep the numbers down in each dorm until all of the dorms are full. Nonetheless, expect there to be that number of people in each dorm. Oh, and let's say the obvious: The dorms are uni-sex, men or women only.

I hope this makes sense! If not, just contact me and I’ll be glad to explain it some more.

You can pay online or mail in your payment. Here's a link to the Aiki Summer Retreat schedule.

Registering for Aiki Summer Retreat

June 16 - 22, 2019

Even though our cost for the town houses has gone up this year, we're keeping our prices the same. Just so you understand how steep our discount is, visit the Granlibakken pages for the townhouses. Here’s the link to see some more info on the townhouses and see a floor plan. Just click the “book lodging” button at the top of the page to get prices. Go visit now. I’ll wait.

Quite the discount, right? Along those lines, do not make the mistake of booking a room with Granlibakken directly. You would seriously overpay! We get a significant discount, because we contract for a lot of rooms. We pass that discount on to you.

Full Retreat Plans

Check in between 3:00 - 5:00 pm Sunday, June 16. Check out is 11:00 am, Saturday, June 22. (This time is firm.) Our Full Retreat Plans include all training, lodging and meals, including dinner Sunday evening, 3 meals a day Monday through Friday, and breakfast and lunch Saturday. Only the Independent Plans do not include lodging. Check here for more details about lodging.

We have 3 Full Retreat Plans: Townhouse Lodging, Dorm Lodging and Independent plan where you provide your own lodging. You can pay in one or two payments, depending on what works best for you.

Click Here to Select Your Full Retreat Plan

Mini Retreat Plans

Check in between 3:00 - 5:00 pm Tuesday, June 18. Check out is 11:00 am, Saturday, June 23. (This time is firm.) Our Full Mini Retreat Plans include all training, lodging and meals, including dinner Tuesday evening, 3 meals a day Wednesday through Friday, and breakfast and lunch Saturday. Only the Independent Plans do not include lodging. Check here for more details about lodging.

We have 3 Mini Retreat Plans: Townhouse Lodging, Dorm Lodging and Independent plan where you provide your own lodging. You can pay in one or two payments, depending on what works best for you.

Click Here to Select Your Mini Retreat Plan


Online Registration

This is the first year that we are doing all registration online. We believe this will be easier for everyone. Below you will find the links to the registration forms. We have two registration forms, one for the Full Retreat and one for the Mini-Retreat.

Please read and complete the registration/release form fully. If you are set against paying online, then mail in your payment and use the online registration form. Make your check payable to Aikido'Ka and mail your payment to Aikido'Ka, 142 East McKnight Way, Grass Valley, CA 95949.

We will return incomplete forms and forms without payment without processing them. Please pay careful attention to your form.

Aiki Summer Retreat Registration Forms

The sooner you return the registration form, the more likely we'll be able to accommodate your roommate preferences. Really, earlier is better.

Thank you.

Multiple Registrations

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 16 and end with lunch on June 22. Three meals will be served Monday through Friday. Please be sure to indicate whether you're vegetarian on on your registration form. If you have any dietary or other special needs that are not on the registration form, 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.

Waiting List

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 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.

Cancellation Fees

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.


More Info.

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 feel free to contact us!

Attend Aiki Summer Retreat 2018 at Lake Tahoe, California