Please, grab my wrist...

'Ai Ki' from the Aiki Jinja. Dec. 2003.





ai82tahoe. Lake Tahoe. May 1982.

1982 with my original dojo and aikido friends at the Lake Tahoe Memorial Day training. Left to right: Maeda (visiting from Japan), Tom Gambell, Steve Smith, Ralph Pelligra (NASA doctor), Peter Sloate, Patricia Henricks, (?), (?), Saito Sensei, Alberta Henkenson, Bruce Klickstein, Kim Peuser, Sally Klickstein (at the time), John, moi, (?), Marshall Spight, Hoa Newens, Louis Jumonville, and Peter (the filmmaker),

My first aikido dojo was the seminal Aikido Institute, when it opened up on Piedmont Avenue, in north Oakland, California. It was a beautiful dojo-a huge, open mat surrounded by red brick walls and a high, open ceiling. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. I trained with Bruce Klickstein for eight years, and a surprising number of men and women who I worked my way up the white belt ranks with went on to establish their own dojos.
After the Bruce debacle, I trained with Dennis Tatoyin and Frank Doran before making the first of three forays to living in Japan. While in Japan, I trained at the Tokyo Honbu dojo for six months, went to Iwama on weekends, and hung out at the secret aikido sleeper cell aikido Iwama style club in Yoyogi, western Tokyo. While in Boulder from 2001-2005, I had three great aikido experiences: 1) Ikeda Sensei at the Boulder Aikikai, 2) Izawa Sensei at the YMCA and various seminars, and 3) the joy of running a very small aikido dojo for UCAR, a group of atmospheric research scientists.

ai02minna. 2002.

Some of that original group traveled to Iwama, Japan, for the official funeral of Saito Sensei, in 2002.
What possessed people to drop everything and at great expense fly to Japan? It was tremendously sad to realize that our leader, advisor, and honored friend would no longer walk beside us. However, as we watched the Japan/Korea world soccer championships on the rickety television in the shokudo kitchen together, or trekked once more to the top of Asago-san, shot the breeze outside the dojo, or tried to figure out the required funeral rites and comportment protocols, I came to realize we gathered really to strengthen our own ties to carry on. We would all fly back to our respective countries, but perhaps a little less lonely after sharing this emotional time of farewell. We would step into the future together, come what may.

Tahoe aiki house crew. May 2005.

Proof that we get out of our gi's once in awhile. Look at those magnificent trees outside. Aviv Goldsmith, someone, Aviv's wife Donna (also trains), Peter Sloate and his wife, and Sean Hollender. The Memorial Day Weekend Aikido Seminar still continues at Tahoe City. 2005.

The original Iwama family. 1953.

The original Iwama aikido family. Left to right: Hatsu Ueshiba, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Morihei Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, Kisshomaru's wife, Sakuko, Morihiro Saito. Perhaps Morihiro Saito's wife is taking the photograph. c. 1953.

ai74nikyo. SS in America, 1974.

Saito Sensei on his first trip out of Japan to give a seminar in California. Left to right: Shigemi Inagaki, Hans Goto (in back), Jeanette "Jeannie" Klickstein (at that time) applies the fierce nikkyo to Saito Sensei, Tom Everett, Bill Witt and David Alexander.

ai-ki. 2002.

ai-ki as brushed by Ueshiba Morihiro. This hangs in the original Iwama dojo. I wonder how many non-Japanese memorized the two characters for aiki and Morihei over countless hours of keiko training."