Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is Sho Bi Jutsu

I have been working on some calligraphy to be used on the lifelong arts center logo. After some study, revision and coaching, (Thanks Jane-san!) I think this will be the official calligraphy for "Lifelong Arts." Although I need to practice a bit more, I think I can paint it a little prettier...

The translation is in Japanese of course:
Issho, (ee-sho,) meaning "one's whole life."
Bijutsu, (bee-joot-sue) refering to "fine arts" in general.
You may recognize the word "Jutsu" from the martial art Ju Jutsu, (Ju Jitsu, in the English accent.)

I like the double meaning with Bijutsu; a nod to the martial arts as well as the fine arts, such as painting and sculpture. I want the lifelong arts center to be all encompassing. All art forms will be welcome. Be advised though, I am NOT creating a new martial art! So don't come and ask me to teach you some Issho Bijutsu moves.

© 2010 Lifelong Arts

Monday, July 12, 2010

Aiki Kyu Poem

Traditional Japanese martial arts schools use a system of Senpai and Kohai. The Senpai students are more senior to the junior Kohai students. The ranks between Kohai and Senpai, which we know as the different colored belts, are called the Kyu ranks. Hierarchy is very important in Japanese culture, but more importantly the senior students must take care that the beginning students are practicing safely and correctly. This is a whimsical little story/poem I wrote about the trek through the Kyu ranks, and on to Shodan or Black Belt.

Seventh Kyu. (White Belt w/Stripe)
Like a child’s first steps.
He can crawl. He can roll
He can say a few words.
Only time will toll.

Sixth Kyu. (Yellow Belt)
Steady now as you begin to walk.
A few bad falls.
Still a fear of heights.
Sometimes a flash of light.

Fifth Kyu. (Yellow Belt w/Stripe)
Still young and resilient.
Not bothered by a fall.
The fear is gone.
Try it all, try it all.

Fourth Kyu. (Blue Belt)
I’m no beginner.
Throw me harder!
Pain is great fun.
Yeah! That was a good one!

Third Kyu. (Blue Belt w/Stripe)
What does Aikido mean?
Is there a Brown belt here?
Is this the right tai sabaki?
Are you asking ME?

Second Kyu. (Brown Belt)
Ah, the home stretch
Like the first semester Senior year.
Step proudly on to the mat.
My Ki precedes me.

First Kyu. (Brown Belt w/Stripe)
The wise old man
Learning and teaching
Teaching and learning

Shodan (Black Belt)
Like a child’s first steps.
He can crawl. He can roll
He can say a few words.
Only time will toll.

© 2010 Lifelong Arts

Friday, June 25, 2010

Edward Germanov Seminar: June 4-6, 2010

My thanks to Ed Germanov Sensei for a great seminar, early in June, in Chicagoland.

He was hosted by Bob Garza Sensei of the Sosei Aikido Kyokai Organization, based in Worth, IL. Congratulations to Garza Sensei on his beautiful dojo. This was was my first of what I hope are many visits.

The seminar theme was "In The Footsteps Of Shihan," celebrating the lives, friendships, and Aikido that we all cultivated under the powerful instruction of Fumio Toyoda Shihan.

There were many great Aikido techniques taught and many lessons learned over the weekend, but nothing was more powerful and inspiring to me than to just be with my Aikido family again. All the yudansha were asked to say a few words at the end of the seminar, and I have to admit that I was steadily becoming more emotional as my turn to speak came near. (I happened to be one of the last to speak, so there was some time for this to well up...) The gist of my words were this:
It has been an honor and pleasure to train and grow with Feyen Sensei and my friends back in Michigan over the years. It has been an honor and pleasure to train with all of you here in Chicagoland with Toyoda Sensei, and the Toyoda method of training. I have had the opportunity to train in many dojo around the world and I can tell you for a fact that when you walk into a "Toyoda" dojo, you feel it. There is nothing like it. As I work to build my new Dojo in Florida, I thank you for your continued inspiration and support.

The participants from Yushinkan Dojo are pictured above. Back row from the left: Hung, Ken, Chad, Jeff, Clark, Nicole, and Roseanne. Kneeling in front from left: Scott, Sensei Bob Garza, Sensei Eric Strouse, Sensei Ed Germanov, myself, and Bryan. I think there were 50+ participants throughout the weekend and of course Yushinkan had the largest group in attendance. Just like the old days guys! Thanks to everyone for a great time!
Even though I didn't get any chocolate donuts all weekend...

I want to give special recognition to Eric Strouse Sensei who has taken over as Dojo Cho at Yushinkan for the passed several years. He is doing a remarkable job with the program as was evident by the testing I witnessed back in Michigan, post seminar. Great Job Eric! And to the students, keep up the hard training!

© 2010 Lifelong Arts

Friday, March 19, 2010

Founder and President of Lifelong Arts

Alan Adams has been training in the art of Aikido since 1996. In that time he has trained in the tradition set forth by Fumio Toyoda Shihan (1947—2001). Adams Sensei is currently ranked nidan, (second degree black belt,) and is recognized by the world headquarters of Aikikai, Hombu Dojo, Japan. He is actively training and participating in Aikido seminars and cheerfully prepares for his next black belt test.

Born and raised in Michigan, Adams Sensei moved to Florida in the fall of 2005. He continues traveling throughout the United States and the world seeking out the world’s greatest instructors and finest training experiences. He attended numerous seminars held by Toyoda Shihan, (until his untimely death in 2001,) and participated in the Doshu (current chief instructor of Aikikai, Moriteru Ueshiba) seminar in California in March 2004. He has since trained in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and Italy.

Adams Sensei has been teaching Aikido since November 2002. He worked with Blaine Feyen Sensei, his instructor of nine years, to build a thriving dojo and cultural center back in Michigan, The Toyoda Center. For many years prior to becoming an Aikido instructor Adams Sensei was a USPTA certified tennis instructor. (He maintains a 5.0 playing level.) Therefore, for over twenty years Adams Sensei has been touching lives through his instruction. Teaching has been the natural progression of every interest in his life.

Adams Sensei also pursues interests in Japanese painting (shodo,) and Zen meditation.

The founding of The Lifelong Arts Center is the latest challenge that Adams Sensei has accepted on this lifelong journey in teaching.

Adams Sensei continues to pursue his own training with a big heart, beginners mind, and generous spirit. His intention is to pass on the same kind of ethic and belief in Ai-ki principles to his new students.

Aikido strives to transmit universal principles to be used in daily life. “If you don’t take something from your training which you can use in your daily life, then you are missing out on the greater purpose.”

© 2010 Lifelong Arts

WELCOME! - This blog is just the beginning...

"The Lifelong Arts Center" is the name of a new cultural arts school that will be opening soon in the west Broward area, serving all of South Florida.

To enrich lives though rigorous and stimulating activities for the mind, body, and spirit.

This school will be a meeting place for all teachers and practitioners of the arts; physical and aesthetic.

Japanese Aikido, Zen Meditation, Japanese Shodo (painting.)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Japanese taiko drumming, Japanese sword arts (kendo, iaido,) western painting and drawing, private music instruction, dance, and more!

The purpose of this blog is to excite all teachers in South Florida and to develop the strategy for building this school. It is my conjecture that there are many teachers out there who are highly qualified and passionate about their arts, but alas they have no classroom or studio space in which to work. Many great teachers have also given up on their teaching because they were not able to meet the financial and time commitments of running a school dedicated to just one art. The Lifelong Arts Center pools all of this great talent into one space and provides the business infrastructure so that teachers can do what they do best: teach.

The formula is to create a clean, comfortable, conveniently located, multipurpose learning space. The building will be sectioned off into at least 2 large spaces for physical arts, and numerous smaller classrooms or studio spaces for aesthetic arts. Teachers will be able to lease time slots in the space according to their needs. Teachers participating in the Lifelong Arts Center will have access to centralized billing systems for their students. They will be featured in all marketing and advertising tools via the center's website and other advertising. Access to all the schools hardware; tables, chairs, electronic equipment, presentation equipment etc. is included. And most importantly you will have the support of a professional teaching community and staff who will represent you in the most positive light to your students.

Students in the Lifelong Arts Center will be able to access a wide variety of stimulating programs all under one roof. They may join one or many programs and will pay only one vendor.
For the physical arts this school will be a different experience then the sweaty, dirty gyms which are so common in the market place. For the aesthetic side, you will enjoy an inviting and encouraging environment where your artistic muscles will grow. All students will be encouraged to face both sides of their being, the physical and the aesthetic or creative. This is essential for fully inspired personal growth.

Please comment on The Lifelong Arts Center!

© 2010 Lifelong Arts