Traditional Japanese Martial Arts for Adults
A few of us from the dojo had the privilege of spending an entire week in August up in the mountains of Glenwood Springs at the 31st annual, week long Aikido summer camp sponsored by an association called Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU).
The whole week was a truly wonderful experience for us. We're so glad Harris Sensei encouraged us to attend. We were welcomed by the entire community and we look forward to attending next year's summer camp, as well.
The week-long seminar equated to almost 2 full months of training for us compared to our regular schedule in Castle Rock, so to say it was intensive was quite the understatement.
Aikido Summer Camp was held at the Colorado Mountain College campus a few miles north of town with the beautiful "14-er" Mount Sopris as a backdrop. It was a bit odd living in college dorm rooms again after 20 years, but the training and experience was well worth it.
On our 2nd night there, Kriss and Sean were out at the Glenwood Springs Brew Pub enjoying a cold, draft beer when suddenly a big slap came on our backs. George Ledyard Sensei (pictured above Left-Center), a well-known and popular Aikido instructor from Washington state, said to us, "Hey, guys. Come on. Follow me." He took us to the back of the pub where we got to hang out with he, Saotome Sensei, and some other big wigs for a few more hours. It was a reall fun and interesting experience for us. Ledyard Sensei is a powerful communicator of Aikido principles and we hope to have Ledyard Sensei visit us in Castle Rock some time in the next year.
Saotome Sensei's is a talented calligrapher. Below is his calligraphy that he created specifically for this year's summer camp. The character reads "TAN" meaning dawn or new beginning.
Mid-week we had one afternoon to go enjoy the Glenwood Springs area. Kriss (pictured left) and Sean hiked up to the top of Hanging Lake Trail to see the multiple switchback waterfalls that run for miles and both the beautiful and inspiring bridal and spouting waterfalls.
Later, a bunch of us soaked the soreness out of our bodies in the downtown Glenwood Springs Hot Springs.
We also had the privilege of meeting and training with Munetsugu Sakabe Sensei from Kyushu, Japan. Sakabe Sensei is the instructor of a very large school in southern Japan. Through an interpreter, Sakabe Sensei extended an open invitation to come visit and train with him in Japan. Below is senior student, Kriss pictured with Sakabe Sensei. He couldn't speak any English, but his powerful teaching style transcended words.
There were approximated 140 people in attendance from all over the country including California, Washington state, Texas, Chicago, Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Others came from Japan and Switzerland. The seminar featured Mitsugi Saotome Shihan, who was a student of O Sensei, and legendary Frank Doran Sensei from Washington state.
Tres Hoffmeister (pictured above, alone) from Boulder Aikikai taught several fun and thought-provoking classes.
Pictured left to right: Kriss Myer, Frank Doran Sensei, Mitsugi Saotome Shihan, Tip Harris Sensei, and Sean Hannon.
Doran Sensei and Saotome Sensei split the lion's share of the week's teaching. This year represents Doran Sensei's final year of teaching at the Summer Camp, so Kriss and I felt very privilege to be in attendance. Doran Sensei's teaching metaphors and communication style are unlike any I've experienced in Aikido.
Pictures from our ASU Aikido Summer Camp 2011
in Glenwood Springs, Colorado