Attend Our 10th Anniversary Celebration — March 10-12, 2016

It’s completely hard for me to believe, but our 10th Anniversary is coming up. So, I think this calls for a little dojo history lesson. ๐Ÿ™‚

White-Faced Ibis

These are White-Faced ibis, not Sandhill cranes.

In Japanese culture, the crane is special. It’s a sign of longevity and good fortune, because it supposedly lives for 1,000 years. In reality, cranes do live long lives. In captivity, their life-span averages 40 to 60 years. Supposedly, one captive Siberian crane lived for 83 years and fathered chicks at age 78. OK, then!

Anyway . . . to Aikido’Ka Opening Day. We had classes and other events going all day long. It was quite the extravaganza and tremendous fun. While I was leading a class, I heard a familiar sound and listened carefully. It didn’t take too long for me to think I was hearing Sandhill cranes — a lot of them.

I dashed outside and saw circling directly above the dojo a flock of Sandhill cranes. There must have been hundreds of them. The cranes visited several times that day. I’m not superstitious, or anything like that, but I sure did appreciate the visit. ๐Ÿ™‚ The cranes don’t show up every year, but they often do.

Michael Friedl Shihan and Kimberly Richardson Sensei

Michael Friedl Shihan and Kimberly Richardson Sensei

While I can’t guarantee the cranes will appear during our 10th Anniversary Celebration, I can assure you that we’re going to have a great time. Two of my favorite aikido people will be teaching — Michael Friedl Shihan and Kimberly Richardson Sensei. Michael Shihan is my direct aikido teacher. He’s an extraordinary teacher and a great guy — informative, fun, easily approachable. Kimberly Richardson Sensei is an absolute marvel. She moves with extraordinary grace. She’s very friendly and approachable. You’ll love both of them. Getting the two of them with us together is an incredible treat. We’ll also have some other teachers who have been instrumental in our success teach some. We’ll be providing lunch at the dojo. I also understand that Michael Shihan may put on a brief magic show during lunch!

On top of all of this fun, Ian Isbell will be doing his shodan test Saturday morning around 10 am. Ian will be our second home-grown black belt. Talk about exciting! Ian has been training for about 8 years, and is a key member of Aikido’Ka. He’s a really great guy with a truly joyful spirit.

Ian Isbell

Ian will be demonstrating for his shodan on March 10, 2017.

Aikido’Ka is a friendly, fun dojo where you are welcome. So please join us and celebrate! You’ll get a $20 discount if you register before March 3, 2017.


By the way, the photo I’ve used with this post is not of Sandhill cranes. They’re White-Faced ibis. Ibis aren’t cranes, but they’re considered “crane-like.” Since I couldn’t find any photos of cranes that I’ve taken, I used this one. I expect to get some crane photos soon and I’ll update this post then.

Group Photo of Aiki Summer Retreat Instructors

Here’s our incredible lineup of instructors at Aiki Summer Retreat 2015: Michael Friedl Sensei, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, Danielle Smith Sensei, and Craig Fife Sensei. Wow.

They led an absolutely fantastic Retreat.


Aiki Summer Retreat Featured Instructor Michael Friedl Sensei

michael 9Don’t miss Aiki Summer Retreat, June 21 – 27: Senseis Michael Friedl, Danielle Smith, Kimberly Richardson, Craig Fife with Special Guest Robert Nadeau Shihan.

About Aiki Summer Retreat Co-Host Michael Friedl Sensei:

Michael Friedl Sensei is founder and chief instructor of Aikido of Ashland. He just completed a 4-year tenure as President of the California Aikido Association.

Friedl Sensei began his Aikido training in 1972 under Clyde Takeguchi Shihan in Madison, Wisconsin. Friedl Sensei became a live-in student (also known as a uchi deshi) for Takeguchi Sensei from 1975-1977 in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1978 Friedl Sensei established a dojo in Burlington, Vermont. He moved to Ashland, Oregon in 1979 and started a small aikido club.

Friedl Sensei affiliated with Frank Doran Shihan in 1979 and has been a student of his since that time. Friedl Sensei 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.

Click here for more information about Aiki Summer Retreat.

Don’t miss Friedl Sensei’s stories on Aikido Stories Podcast Episode 2 and Aikido Stories Podcast Episode 3.


Thank you, Michael Sensei!

PJ6A7230Over the weekend, Michael Friedl Sensei taught a seminar at Aikido’Ka. It was wonderful! Sensei covered all sorts of material from jo techniques, to koshinage (hip throw), to randori (multiple attackers). What a blast.

We have lots of photos. I’ll post them as I get a chance.



Who else wants a great aikido weekend with an incredible instructor, fun people and beautiful surroundings?

michael 4Improve your aikido and have a great time. Michael Friedl Sensei will be here March 20 – 22.

In case you don’t know Michael Sensei, he is my direct aikido teacher. He’s my teacher because he’s a great person and an incredible aikidoist. He is tremendous fun. He has a great sense of humor. His seminars are always a blast. His aikido is simply amazing.

Saturday evening we’ll have a potluck/birthday party. Sydney Manka has been training with us since she was 12 years old. Saturday evening we’ll be celebrating Sydney’s 18th birthday!

Click here for more information and to register for the fun.michael 9

Aiki Summer Retreat!

ASR-15-logo Aiki Summer Retreat is June 21 – 27, 2015 at Feather River College in Quincy! Our featured instructors are Michael Friedl Sensei, Danielle Smith Sensei and Kimberly Richardson Sensei. We’ll have many more instructors and an incredible time.

Click here for more information and to register.

Michael Friedl Sensei Seminar

Michael-Friedl-Sensei Michael Friedl Sensei will be giving a seminar at Aikido’Ka March 20 – 22! Yea!

I’ll be posting all the particulars soon. Mark your calendars now!

Conversation with Aikido Teacher Michael Friedl, 7th Dan

Michael Friedl Sensei and I were co-hosts of the Aiki Summer Retreat last year. It was an incredible success. The Retreat is absolutely one of my greatest aikido achievements, not the least of which because I did it with Friedl Sensei.

Michael Sensei will be giving an aikido seminar at Aikido’Ka March 7 – 9.ย  The seminar will be great!

Click here for more information and to register.

Last year, before the Retreat, Michael Sensei and I did a webinar to discuss aikido, the Aiki Retreat and other things. I thought I’d re-post the webinar so that you can enjoy it. Other aikido instructors called in to enjoy the fun.

Congratulations to Michael Friedl Sensei

Michael-Friedl-SenseiCongratulations to my Aikido teacher Michael Friedl Sensei. He was promoted today to 7th Dan!

Michael Sensei is an extraordinary martial artist and the promotion is well-deserved. He’s also an absolutely wonderful guy.

Michael Sensei will be giving a seminar at Aikido’Ka the first weekend in March. I’ll be posting the details soon.

Aiki Summer Retreat is Back!

Michael Friedl Sensei and I are co-hosting the Aiki Summer Retreat from June 23 – June 29.

We’ll have special guests:

Frank Doran Shihan, 7th Dan
Robert Nadeau Shihan, 7th Dan

We’ll have featured instructors:

Michael Friedl Sensei, 6th Dan
Kimberly Richardson Sensei, 6th Dan
Craig Fife Sensei, 6th Dan
Greg O’Connor Sensei, 6th Dan

Registration will open soon.

For all of the information, click here.