On Talk of the Bay June 9, 2020, Christine Barrington talks with Linda Holiday Sensei, founder and director of Aikido of Santa Cruz, which has been serving the Santa Cruz community since 1982.
Aikido was considered “a way of harmony, an art of peace, a path of light” by its founder, Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, who at the apex of his skill and power had an experience of enlightenment through choosing not to fight an opponent, but rather to flow with compassion and embody a dimension of non-violence. This moment of choice was to have a monumental impact, evolving a martial art into a path of spiritual transformation with global reach: O-Sensei’s vision was to “unite the people of the world in harmony, in the true spirit of budo, enveloping the world in unchanging love.”
Linda Holiday Sensei was compelled to dive into the heart of this extraordinary martial art in her early 20’s, traveling to Japan and throwing herself into the rigors of a male-dominated culture and practice where she found a community of devotion that would embrace her and provide the path that unfolded her life’s purpose.
Linda Holiday Sensei is the author of Journey to the Heart of Aikido, a beautifully crafted work that weaves together the threads of her own personal transformation with the lineage of teachers she encounters along the way, with particular attention paid to transmitting the heart-centered teachings of her mentor and guide, Motomichi Anno Sensei. For practitioners and non-practitioners alike, Journey to the Heart of Aikido will shift your understanding of what a martial art can be, and it will take you on a heart-opening adventure through a foreign and mystical world of profound depth and beauty.
Aikido is sometimes called the martial art of loving kindness. It captures the paradox of embodying peaceful compassion in the middle of intense confrontation, indeed, a central maxim on the Aikido mat is “True Victory is Victory over Oneself.” Therefore, the path of Aikido, and those who practice it, have much wisdom to offer those seeking insight into how to meet the challenge of this time of profound disruption and discord in the United States.
Aikido of Santa Cruz offers a full range of classes for all ages, from children to adults. Explore their Winter Newsletter for a full description of their offerings, which are embued with gratitude, grace, and a deep respect for the wisdom of nature that flows naturally through all Aikido practices.
Aikido encompasses not only martial practices, but also spiritual practices meant to purify and strengthen one’s Ki life-force energy. Below is a picture of the Santa Cruz Dojo engaging in Misogi–a purification ritual often engaged at the New Year (and always in cold water!) If this sparks your curiosity contact Aikido of Santa Cruz to learn more.
Join us and learn with Linda Holiday Sensei what it means to journey into the heart of a practice that can transform fear and aggression into peace, harmony, and inner strength.