Gimme That Old-Time Aikido

These are the lyrics to the song I wrote and performed for the Aiki Follies at the Aiki Summer Retreat 2013 in Quincy, California. The song is to the tune of “Gimme That Old Time Religion.” Please share this! I hope you will add verses of your own, and perform it at the camps at retreats you go to. I’d love to hear them, and could add them here if you send them to me. Enjoy!


Gimme That Old-Time Aikido

by Linda Eskin

Aikido’s roots run deep
The art of harmony and peace
What we practice, we will reap
And that’s good enough for me

Gimme that old time Aikido,
Gimme that old time Aikido,
Gimme that old time Aikido,
It’s good enough for me.

When attacked we move to enter,
Reaching right to uke’s center,
Though we try hard not to dent her.
And that’s good enough for me.

Takeda was O Sensei’s teacher
Martial technique strongly featured
‘Til Sensei met up with that preacher
And that’s good enough for me.

Deguchi was O Sensei’s buddy
And while Omoto Kyo is muddy
He said that fighting stuff’s too bloody
And that’s good enough for me.

O Sensei saw the harming
From the war – it was alarming!
So he left and took up farming.
And that’s good enough for me.

These two verses run together…

O Sensei had a notion
To spread Aikido o’er the ocean
So he set Tohei in motion
Sent him halfway ‘cross the sea …..

Tohei urged us rather sweetly
Keep one point – relax completely
Extend your ki more freely
And that’s good enough for me.

Tomiki had a mission
To hone his students’ vision
By judging friendly competition
And that’s good enough for me.

Saito said train hard with bokken
Forging spirits never broken.
1,000 cuts? You must be jokin’!
But that’s good enough for me.

While the days and years revolve
Boundaries between us dissolve
As we endeavor to evolve
And that’s good enough for me.

Peaceful people gather here
To practice love instead of fear,
We’ll do it all again next year,
And that’s good enough for me.

Instant coffee in a rinsed out yogurt cup. This is what happens when you’re up way too late talking with everyone about teaching ideas, Aikido politics in general bullshit.

I slept in this morning, unfortunately skipped the first class with Russell (which I was really looking forward to, darnit), and skipped going to breakfast, too. Working on finishing my song lyrics for tonight’s Aiki Follies, and then off to the first session with Frank Doran Shihan at 10:00. It’s supposed to be hot today (high of 91F), so drinking lots of water!

Had the privilege of participating in an after-class discussion with Robert Nadeau Shihan, in front of the gym. Topics included the history and future of Aikido, what’s truly important about the art, dimensionality, potted plants, and much more.

Way Late on Wednesday Night

A quick update at about 1:30 a.m. (actually Thursday morning), with some highlights from the day:

Wrapping teardrop-shaped energy around Uke in a very cool gyakute-dori blend. A clattery connection exercise with jo – imagine a gym full of loudly-ticking clocks. Gluten-free, low-garlic pasta made special for me by the awesome kitchen staff. Training with Daniel Lance Sensei, doing techniques with breakfalls – after dinner. Hanging out and talking with my roommate, Glynis. Hearing “Danny Boy” coming up through the room below us – we put our ears on the floor to listen. And then I went down there and traded songs with David Floeter and Francis Takahashi Shihan.

Many, many more awesome moments, too, but tomorrow is Nadeau day, and the first class, with Johnny Newsome, is at 7:00, so it’s time to stop writing and get some sleep.

Michael Friedl Sensei, doing an exersize very much like the “NO!” exercise we do it our dojo. He shared a great story about the younger sibling of one of the kids in his children’s class, using this technique on the kid’s mother, who was trying to catch the kid to change his diaper.

Friedl Sensei has a wonderful infectious enthusiasm. Very expressive teacher!

It’s going to be sunny and warm today — a high of about 75°. Should be lovely, with everything still wet from the rain the past few days. Temperatures go up between now and Saturday, it’ll be in the 90s then. So we’re going to enjoy the lovely weather while we can.

Lovely energetic, flowing class this morning with Linda Holiday Sensei. It’s cool this morning, but we’re already dripping sweat.

Time to head to breakfast, and to get some real coffee, not the instant stuff I added to hot tap water in the room.