Posted by: aikithoughts | May 1, 2006

Spring Seminar with Sensei Rick Berry

This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege to learn from Sensei Rick Berry at the PNBA’s Spring Seminar. Currently, my feet are sore, I’ve a wrenched wrist, and a potentially hyper-extended elbow. My muscles are tired, my bones are fatigued, my eyes would very much like to close.

I feel GREAT.

Most of the time, when I or one of my training partners is at a seminar, we inevitably make a statement similar to: “What a great experience! I learned so much.” While that is certainly true in this case, one element made this past weekend more amazing than most. Most of the time, when I am at a seminar, I am the receiver. I learn, and take what I have learned and try to give it to my students. There are many occasions where this is highly appropriate (I am thinking of camps with Sensei Maruyama, for example). But this past weekend, I felt that I went on a journey with Sensei Berry. He was not simply there to teach. He was there to share, to discuss, to encourage. We, as the students, were partners in a discussion of martial technique and philosophy.

There is simply too much to say in one post about what I learned from this weekend. So I won’t try. But I’ll at least start with the energy. There was so much of it. So much positive excitment, dedication, and enthusiasm. It was built on a combination of seeing both Sensei Bannister and Sensei Berry, two of the finest Aikido practitioners I have ever met; it was built on seeing old friends; but mostly it was built on a community of people dedicated to improving themselves, their community, perhaps even the world through the practice of Kokikai Aikido.

Think seeing your favorite football team win the Super Bowl. Think a family reunion. Think getting together with a group of old friends. Think the energy you get when you are performing or listening to your favorite music. Think of a runners high, think of a good meal. Get all this wrapped up, and you have the beginnings of what I felt during this weekend.

Right now the entire experience is a hazy blur; over the next few weeks, things will sharpen into focus. I want to share and describe what comes into focus here, because I do not want to forget it. Right now, I am stunned, amazed, happy, sore, enthusiastic, recharged, and tired. I’m off to bed.

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Responses

  1. I think so many of us that attended the seminar walked aways with similar feelngs. As tired as I am I wanted to do it all again. In addition to the fantastic teaching we received, for me it was so very INVIGORATING to practice with the likes of yourself, Robert Choi, and so many of the other black belts that gathered onto the mat this last weekend. It was a high quality gathering.

  2. Hi Dave-san,

    I am feeling very gratified that you got my message. I do not do Aikido as a means of self-defense, I practice for self-inprovement. The journey we shared during the seminar was, quite frankly, a collective experience in mental exploration done physically. That to me is what mind-body coordination is all about.

    As you may deduce from my statements, that I am a student of the mind and am working on mental development on a continual basis.

    One of the messages I wish to leave with you is this: never stop your exploration, never stop helping others and never be satisfied with your present situation.

    Tthe universe is just what you think is, so dare to think great thoughts, dare to dream beautiful dreams and dare to believe those dreams will come true today.

    If you would like to see more of what I wrote about dreams, go the website: http://www.quietstormkarate.org
    It is a website about my old karate days and there is a page written on dream.

    In any case, thanks for the kind words.

    Peace,

    Rick Berry Sensei

  3. Sensei Berry,

    Thank you for your comment. It was truly a pleasure to train with you. I still have many notes, thoughts, and ideas that originated from that seminar!

    I am very grateful that you were able to visit us in the Northwest…I hope that our paths cross again soon!

    Dave


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