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11-01-2005, 06:06 PM

Here is an interview with Donald Levine Sensei, Aiki Extensions President.

Topics include, off-mat-aikido, Osensei and tradition, aiki aging and aikido peace initiatives.



Rupert Atkinson
11-01-2005, 11:15 PM
Sounds like the guy is doing a good job, but he could do it just as well with soccer. Or, as more young people are interested in soccer these days, perhaps that is the area in which 'cultural exchagne' could occur even more productively.

Still, you can't criticise positive energy and he has tons of that.

11-01-2005, 11:34 PM
Re soccer - there is an organization in Israel/Palestine that does bi communal work with soccer and basketball. Teams of kids from both sides get to know one another as people, and I'm told it works well.

Aikido is a real gem though for bi-communal work for a number of reasons (non-competitive, power role taking, tactile, relaxed, spiritual elements, etc), but in terms of numbers you're quite right - it's more like ripples in a pond I guess, and each community doing their bit.

All the best,


Anat Amitay
11-03-2005, 11:47 AM
That was a very interesting interview.
I actually live in Israel and did not know of these efforts to bring Palestinian and Israeli Aikidoka together, but I think the idea and the seminar were a great idea (I admit for not being high ranking, in case the seminar was limited).
I really hope such "get togethers" will continue to take place in the coming years and hopefully will contribute to the peace process, on the Human level (not politics). I know that talks between Palestinian athletes and Israeli ones were denyed in the handicapped olympics, but maybe this can open another options for better relations.
Continue your great work!
May more fruiteful programs come to be in the future.

11-04-2005, 09:19 PM

Thanks for the interest - please contact me privately if you wish to be put in contact with some of those involved.

It looks like joint training and get togethers are to become a regular part of training in the area.

Warm regards,


11-05-2005, 02:28 PM
I think anyone who claims to have the solution to all of the worlds ills is a snake oil salesman. Obviously these seminars provide a great service to the divided peoples of the world, but ultimately it is up to each attendee to go home and do the work. Aikido does not do the work, it has to be done by people. Aikido is almost 100 years old, and look at how little its presence in Japan has done to stop metropolitan gang violence and the police from busting labor unions. It seems unlikely to me that Aikido will make policemen stop doing corporate dirty work, or make inner city youth decide to go to college.

11-05-2005, 02:34 PM
Please note that my previous post was in no way meant to devalue the hard work of those who participate in the relevant seminars. I am extremely proud of the effort that these individuals have put into making their world a better place. My point is simply this:
I think that anything where people work hard to improve themselves both as individuals and as a group will have a similar effect, and I wish that more leaders and policy makers would be willing to participate in these types of events, rather than just making speeches about what a triumph these programs are from their fortress walls.

11-05-2005, 10:04 PM
Hi Benjamin,

Where are you coming from with this? It seems you're angry and I'm not sure if you're expressing it at the appropriate people. TAB for example wasn't anyone trying to solve all the worlds ills, but rather some thoughtful people trying to have a small but positive effect, through the art that they love.

You make some very good points, and I agree with you for example that it is up to each of us to go home and do the work (I took some of these ideas back to a seminar in the UK recently).

Re Japan - Fair enough, though interestingly Aiki Extensions has only one member in Japan. I would take your line of thought as an argument for why aikido needs to be extended and not for why it can't work at all.

Re corporations and youth - people have taken aiki ideas to gangs, fortune 500 companies , the armed forces and other diverse groups - usually with very positive results. I can e-mail names and details if this is an area of interest.

I would end with the saying used by Amnesty, "It's better to light a candle than complain about the darkness." and by making a sincere request that we not flame in regard to this as it could have some serious consequences for worthwhile programs and people that I care about.

Be well,


PS - Ask Ikeda Sensei about Don and his colleagues if you have doubts - I believe the two have been friends for some time.

11-06-2005, 08:22 PM
I certainly agree with the candle analogy. I also hope that these seminars continue and have the intended results. Mr. Levine came to Boulder Aikikai and said many things. Some of them were about helping people, some were about snake oil. This is all I was trying to say.

12-05-2005, 10:06 AM
UKextensions Part Deux

Disclaimer: all delays, misinformation and downright upsets are mine, any kudos for arranging things and keeping it all on-track, please direct Mark's way

A day of Round-Robin multi-style training, and presentations of "off-mat" aikido. A seminar for people interested in aikido in everyday life, and how the art can be applied to other fields.
What does aikido have to do with leadership, business, sports science or peace building? Find out here.
January 21st, 2006, 2-6pm. Charteris Sport's Centre, Kilburn, London, NW6 7ET, map (http://www.happyaikido.com/kilburn/charteris.php) 10 -- Suggested donation.

We have a broad and enviable group of instructors who have kindly agreed to come along and teach. Not only can you experience the delights of the brothers Cooke and the spectacular Philip Smith but also join in a throw-along with the exuberant Simon Whitaker before happily enjoying the august presence of Terry Ezra.

Please could you confirm attendance before the day we expect to have to cap places. Contact Ian Hurst or Mark Walsh to do this

Now the misinformation and confusion bit (my very own)
- firstly, the times may be changing to a 1pm start assuming the sports centre lets us as Mark would like us to have a break at some point (wuss)
- mats: we have a hall, so a plethora of space, but mats are (as everywhere) in short supply. I will be asking (and generally begging) around the immediate vicinity - big hint, anyone nearby reading this can lend me a hand -- so final numbers we can accommodate are as yet uncertain.

I hope to have more clear-cut information for you all by the end of the week, until then think of Mark as your friendly contact and me as the grit in the machine that is aiki-extensions UK.

Mark Uttech
12-05-2005, 02:10 PM
Why do people think having inner city kids go to college is a world-saving idea?

In gassho

Carlos Rivera
12-24-2005, 08:42 PM
Perhaps it is all about giving everyone an opportunity at improving their lot in life. I was an "inner city kid," got a decent education, a post graduate degree, a great job and believe that every person deserves an opportunity to improve themselves. It is what we do with all this that matters the most. It all starts with doing a good deed for your fellow citizen. "Don't light a candle, light a torch and take away the darkness and ignorance."

Mark Uttech
12-25-2005, 06:13 AM
A candle is not as dangerous as a torch. Big ideals shut many people out. It is like Aikido: the simplest techniques are the best and go deep.
In gassho

Ron Tisdale
01-09-2006, 02:17 PM
Why do people think having inner city kids go to college is a world-saving idea?

It may not be world saving, but it sure beats paying the bill if they end up in jail without the education.

Ron (not an inner city kid, so what would I know anyway??) ;)