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Old 02-02-2006, 08:55 AM   #10
Jim Sorrentino
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia, Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Washington, DC
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 221
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Re: Ellis Amdur in Maryland Jan. 28 - 29

Greetings All,

Ron, thank you very much for your review, and also for your participation. One reason that this seminar succeeded was the willingness of people from very different martial arts backgrounds to work with each other with open hearts and minds.

There were three groups that put this seminar together. Itten Dojo (http://www.ittendojo.org/) in Harrisburg, PA, retains Ellis Amdur as its technical adviser on aikido. (Itten Dojo also has a serious study group for Shinto Muso-ryu jodo under the direction of Meik and Diane Skoss, and with the permission of Phil Relnick-sensei.) The Itten folks are quite familiar with Ellis' approach to aikido. Although Ellis is, in a way, their "sensei", the Itten people made a point of working with everyone, sharing their experience of Ellis' aikido with all seminar participants. Their participation was a credit to their instructor, Bob Wolfe-sensei.

The second group was my dojo, Aikido of Northern Virginia (http://www.aikido-nova.org/). We are an ASU dojo that has been operating in Arlington, VA, for the past six years. For me, Ellis has been a friend, an inspiration, and something between a gadfly and a mentor. His approach to aikido is insightful and provocative, and he is very generous with his knowledge and experience. I have attended and hosted several seminars and workshops with him, and I have always been pleased with the experience. The ANV students and I handled the organizational tasks of the seminar, such as hosting Ellis, designing and posting the flyer, registering the participants, and all of the other "little details" necessary for a seminar to run smoothly. The ANV students have also had some experience with Ellis' aikido, and I was extremely pleased with their performance during the weekend.

The third group was Toman Dojo. Toman is a private dojo in a rural area of Montgomery County, Maryland. Their chief instructor, Arvind Rajguru-sensei, is a senior student of Frederick Lovret-sensei. The dojo studies Lovret-sensei's kenjutsu and aikijutsu. Josh Freeman, a senior student at Toman, owns the farmland on which the dojo is located, and directed the construction of the dojo, which was a barn in its last life. Several of Toman's members, as well as Rajguru-sensei, participated enthusiastically in the seminar. (And Rajguru-sensei had just arrived home from a grueling 20-hour flight from India the day before!) I was deeply moved by the courtesy and generosity of the members of Toman Dojo in making themselves and their facility available to us. Mr. Freeman and the Toman students were excellent hosts, and went "above and beyond" in ensuring that all the participants were able to focus on their training.

It was a great seminar --- thank you again to all who participated!

Jim Sorrentino
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