And a presentation of our teachers:
Dave Goldberg, Aikido San Diego, CA USA
My name is Dave Goldberg, and I’m the chief instructor of Aikido of San Diego. Teaching aikido is my full time gig. I also dabble in comedic/theatrical improv, and I’m a dad to twin 16-year-old boys. What inspires me most about aikido these days is it’s potential as an embodied artistic expression. In this way, Aikido is beauty and empowerment in harmony. I love to explore this. I like to place emphasis on the single continuum of energetic movement between uke and nage, the mutually supportive relationship between them, and the basic 4 embodied elements of earth, water, fire, and air. These three aspects are the cornerstones of my evolutionary path.
Marco Rubatto, Hara Kai Dojo, Torino Italy
I’m Marco and I would like to introduce myself. I started martial arts when I was fourteen, cause I was looking for something of useful to increase my personal security… so mainly for the “martial” aspect. I’ve met Aïkido apparently by fortune: soon I’ve dropped in its philosophy, feeling myself more complete and confidence. This happened 26 years ago. From then, I’ve never stopped training and going deepest I can in study the wisdom already inside the martial arts, doing my best to take it in my daily life. I teach professionally Aïkido in Italy and I’m part of the National Aïkido Technical Commission of my country. I’m honoured to teach and train at the first AEC Summer Intensive in Montreux, and I wish to meet each one of you there!
Carolina Van Haperen, Integral Aikido
“Aikido contains a vision that supports our growth in different ways on different levels. Every time we practice it gives us the opportunity to connect body, mind, heart and soul. We each possess the ability to tune inward to notice what our urge to grow, heal and connect is. We start where we are; therefore we need to see first what is here in our being.
Aikido is for me a path of authenticity. From the start my interest was to discover and connect with my true self (Self). This helps me to return ag
ain and again to the place of ‘home’ within myself. There is something that calls, even in times when I feel I am in the midst of turbulance and conflict. It is a life force that can not be denied. To awaken to this force, and to allow ourselves to be humble and vulnerable, helps us to see the other person with compassion and care. With true interest we want to connect and discover the potential of harmony and unity. In all of this our mind function is to support; it has the potential to discriminate and reflect, in service of the body,heart and soul.
As an aikido instructor I hope to help and guide some one to find their true path. It is an honour to explore together, respecting the place where a person is in their interest. I am always curious what brings one to the aikido mat, every time. This is a question I ask myself too. And sometimes there is no mental answer, which is fine. If there is no direction forward there is at least something right now to connect with, and to start from.
This Summer we will be together with a lot of people from all over the world. Regardless of our backgrounds we seem to want to come together, and that is a wonderful thing to look forward to. It definitely makes me curious and excited to meet you all.
Carolina van Haperen”
Durward Burrell, Aikido Vevey, Switzerland
Durward Burrell, 5th Dan Aikikai and instructor of Conscious Yoga, is the principal instructor at Aikido Vevey with over 25 years of experience in martial arts and yoga. Burrell Sensei began his Aikido and yoga career in 1999 in the United States as an uchideshi (apprentice) with Patrick Cassidy Sensei (6th Dan, Aikido Montreux). His classes focus on discovering new perspectives that create growth and evolution through conflict. Recently, he has been exploring how to allow for a deeper sense of communal sharing and freedom; along with how to practically bring one’s discoveries into other areas of daily life.
Julia Geissberger, Aikido Unlimited Uster, Switzerland
My name is Julia Geissberger, I run the full time Dojo Aikido Unlimited in Uster/Zurich together with Peter Fankhauser. Before for several years I taught self-defence for women
and girls and worked as a teacher for arts and crafts at high schools. Aikido is art, healing and spirituality. Uke represents both the struggle for beauty, the process of accepting
challenges and the longing for wholeness. In addition to teaching Aikido and dance and working as a Trager practitioner, I am involved with Authentic Movement and verbal communication related to Aikido principles for some time. In Aikido I attach importance to a mutually supportive relationship between Uke and Nage and an intelligent handling of the body in motion. The reconnection to the inside, to an authentic being and expression brings the relationship to a new level.
Mein Name ist Julia Geissberger, ich leite das Vollzeit Dojo Aikido Unlimited in Uster/Zürich zusammen mit Peter Fankhauser. Mehrere Jahre habe ich Selbstverteidigung für
Frauen und Mädchen unterrichtet und war als Lehrerin für Kunst und Handwerk an der Volksschule tätig. Aikido ist für mich Kunst, Heilung und Spiritualität. Uke repräsentiert
sowohl das Ringen um Schönheit, das Akzeptieren lernen von Hindernissen und die Sehnsucht nach Ganzheit. Neben dem unterrichten von Aikido und Tanz und der Arbeit als
Trager Praktikerin beschäftige ich mich seid längerem mit Authentischer Bewegung und der verbaler Kommunikation im Zusammenhang mit den Aikidoprinzipien. Im Aikido lege
ich Wert auf eine sich gegenseitig unterstützende Beziehung von Uke und Nage und einen intelligenten Umgang mit dem Körper in Bewegung. Die Rückverbindung nach Innen, zu
einem authentischen Sein und Ausdruck bringt die Beziehung auf eine neue Ebene.
Peter Fankhauser, Aikido Unlimited Uster, Switzerland
My name is Peter Fankhauser, I run the Dojo Aikido Unlimited in Uster together with Julia Geissberger. On 1 May 2019 we celebrated our 10th anniversary. My work as a Trager practitioner and instructor inspires and enriches my Aikido in a decisive way and vice versa. It is not surprising that the healing aspect of Aikido has aroused my interest. It is not the movements and stretches that Aikido brings with it that I would call healing. Healing is more than a well functioning body. It is more this affirmative aspect that is inherent in Aikido, it is this inner attitude that accepts and embraces even when it is a NO. In the Trager work I learn that this unwillingness has a direct effect on my clients. A space of faith opens up, there they relax and can be themselves. In Aikido it becomes especially visible for Uke, the nature of the attack changes, the attack dissolves. This magical and from our mind unexplainable inspires me.
Mein Name ist Peter Fankhauser, ich leite zusammen mit Julia Geissberger das Dojo Aikido Unlimited in Uster. Am 1. Mai 2019 feierten wir unser 10 Jahre Jubiläum. Meine Arbeit als Trager Praktiker und Instruktor inspiriert und bereichert mein Aikido in entscheidender Weise und umgekehrt. Es überrascht nicht, dass der heilende Aspekt welcher vom Aikido ausgeht mein Interesse geweckt hat. Es sind nicht die Bewegungen und Dehnungen die Aikido mit sich bringt welche ich als heilend bezeichnen würde. Heilung ist mehr als ein gut funktionierender Körper. Es ist mehr dieser bejahende Aspekt der dem Aikido innewohnt, es ist diese innere Haltung die akzeptiert und annimmt, selbst wenn es NEIN ist. In der Trager-Arbeit erfahre ich, dass dieses nichts wollen einen unmittelbaren Effekt auf meine Klienten hat. Es öffnet sich ein Raum des Vertrauen, dort entspannen sie sich und können sich selber sein. Im Aikido wird es vor allem für Uke sichtbar, die Natur des Angriffs verändert sich, der Angriff löst sich auf. Dieses Magische und von unserem Verstand Unerklärbare inspiriert mich.
Andrew Haight, Floating Bridge Centre for Learning
Sensei Andrew Haight Aikido 4th Dan , head instructor for Floating Bridge Centre for Learning, has been a dedicated student of the martial arts and KI (Chi – life energy) for over 30 years. Teaching the evolutionary art of Aikido supported by the harmonious practices of TaiChi and Iaido. Offering classes, workshops and seminars cultivating personal growth and awakening; exploring the evolution of the warrior archetype to best serve our modern local and global communities. Through nurturing body, mind and spirit, sharing a path for developing life long physical and emotional health. Sensei Andrew has witnessed numerous students develop presence, generosity, compassion, true confidence and resilience.
Ray Butcher, Henshin Aikido, Dublin Ireland
I am co-owner of Balance Ireland where I teach Aikido (Henshin Aikido), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Self Defence, Yoga and mobility. I also specialise in Women’s Self Defence, teaching a program called ‘Reduce the Odds’. It uses scenario based training to deal specifically with awareness and sexual assault/rape prevention.
I started training when I was 10 years old in the 70s. I have studied various martial art traditions, including Judo, several styles of Karate and striking arts, Aikido and Gracie Jiu Jitsu. I started practicing Yoga in the early 2000s and completed my teacher training in 2011. I have worked in the field of Crisis Intervention teaching Control & Restraint and Defensive Tactics to security personnel and health professionals. I currently hold a 4th Dan black belt in Aikido and a 1st degree black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
As I started at a young age, I developed a passion for martial arts and eastern philosophy. In my late teenage years I began to feel, especially form a physical perspective, that there had to be a better way to resolve a conflict than winning at the expense of the other person, In my mid twenties I moved from Ireland to Australia, and it was there that I found Aikido at a University club in Sydney. I distinctly remember during my first class having a sense of belonging. As I delved deeper into Aikido, I found the answers I was looking for in the founder’s philosophy but I soon realised that it was going to take a lot longer for this to manifest physically.
Because of my experience in the other martial arts I felt confused and unsure physically about Aikido and its practically. In the early 2000s I began to feel a shift in my understanding and started to make some changes and progress. I finally found the way forward when I began to let go and start to trust the process of Aikido and realising that my previous concepts of self protection and conflict resolution were flawed. Two main influences that paved the way forward for me back then were with my study of Gracie Jiu Jitsu under Phil and Ricardo Migliarese, and then later in 2011 when I began to study Aikido with Patrick Cassidy Sensei and Evolutionary Aikido.
After almost 30 years of practice, Aikido obviously plays a very important role in my life. It has and continues to open up many avenues of growth, constantly keeping me creatively engaged and open minded. Rather than close the door on my past martial arts experience, Aikido opened up a new and wonderful way to look at all the arts I have studied. Utilising Aikido’s principles gave me a greater understanding and appreciation and helped me to continue my studies in other areas and arts, such as Gracie Jiu Jitsu and conflict management. I believe that the basic Aikido curriculum is a very important foundation to learn the principles. To keep evolving and truly understand the vastness Aikido has to offer, we need to step outside this box of just technique based Aikido, take a risk and explore all avenues, hopefully creating opportunities to discover new possibilities.
Currently I am working on a ground based flow. The goal being to seamlessly include a complete flow from all ranges standing to ground, with single and multiple attackers. An important part of my training is to put myself in physically difficult, sometimes restrictive scenarios. To find solutions under stress, all the time staying curious with the process and true to myself and the core principles of Aikido.
I think a good description of Aikido is that it is a tool for reconciliation. At its core, it helps us to embrace conflict (inner and outer) with curiosity and confidence, cultivating inward reflection and peace.
In conclusion I would like to say that I have met some amazing people on this journey. I am very grateful to all my teachers both past and present for sharing their knowledge. I feel very fortunate to walk this path, and to have the opportunity to study and teach.
Mitchy Ogata, Aikido St-Gingolph , France
Hello! My name is Mitchy. Now, I am totally in love with Aikido, however, in the early time of my life, I was rather a girl who loves classic ballet with a tutu than practicing combat wrapped with a belt. I used to think how unsexy judo people were, running with the red sweaty face under the sun with wearing white pajamas. In addition to that, since I was a kid, I hated wearing kimono because it blocks my body freedom and it made me feel like a piece of wood. And tatami! In my parents’ house, there are several tatami rooms but I was more used to sit on a chair or sofa, sleep on a bed, walk on a carpet or wooden floor. Moreover, I used to make an extra effort to avoid to become a teacher, just because I did not want to do the same thing like my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my sisters, a teaching job. Often my intentions and interests were clearly shooting towards to outside Japan, outside Japanese culture and outside teaching job.
As you might already see, all these were the beginning point of my Aikido path. And my Aikido path contained lots of surprises. Firstly, I learned from a Westerner that Aikido is a martial art comes from Japan. Soon, I was surprised that I can throw a big man like a piece of paper. (Yes, I was vicious.) Then later, I was surprised to understand that throwing men was not only about Aikido practice. By that time, surprisingly, I consumed a good quantity of “kimono (keiko gi)” which I used to see as an unsexy, and spent plenty of time on the tatami. I thought I knew a good amount of English language but words like Expression, Connection, Joy, Being Open, Authenticity, Awake, Vulnerability, and Truth in relation to Aikido practice seems to have more meanings, and I felt partly they were new to me. That surprised me completely.
For a long time, sharing words in front of more than two people had been challenging for me, especially feelings and emotions. In addition to my avoidance of being a teacher, teaching a class became a real challenge. At the beginning of the Uchideshi program, every time after my classes of adolescent class, Harakiri idea came across in my head. Then I was surprised to see that I was the only one who judges me and the fact that even the responsible of the dojo did not. I was totally surprised that I did not trust myself for what I do in my life even if somebody trusts me. I was also surprised to find a wonderful feeling in me by sharing internal self through Aikido practice. Surprisingly to me, Harakiri idea was not my own exclusive patent but with different shape and name, it seems to be something most of us recognize.
Practicing Aikido surprises me in every practice and in every teaching, both in the morning and in the evening, on the tatami and off the tatami, whether with many students or just one student. My story of surprise continued and obviously will continue. I am looking forward to experiencing and also sharing many surprises with you this summer!
Jo Theys, Kokoro Aikido Dojo, Belgium
I am Jo Theys, Dojo-Cho and teacher at the Kokoro Aikido Dojo (Scherpenheuvel, Belgium).
During my youth, I practised a wide variety of sports (including classic ballet and contemporary dance) but I was also curious for more. Hence about 32 years ago, discovered Aikido. Aikido was initially a puzzling experience although I knew intuitively…”this is it, go for it !”.
Looking backwards, I am grateful because Aikido brought and still brings me three “joys”.
First is the pleasure of vibrant movement in contact and partnership with others.
Then came the joy of exploring, discovering and developing; mystical and mythical items came within reach while at the same time all my internal dragons kept challenging me.
The third joy is the ability to share these treasures with others during practice and to point these out to my students during class.
As a professional practitioner of embodied therapy, I am naturally fascinated by the effects of Aikido on healing and evolving in individuals and humanity.
The opportunity that I was given to start a new Dojo (in 2017), that I can lead according to my inspiration, is a magnificent gift.
Please share these joys “on the bridge between heaven and earth” !