On a recent Wednesday afternoon in Iaido, all the students were female. Sensei was the only man in class. Half-jokingly, he asked “where are all the men?” We shrugged, and went on drawing our swords, slicing through envisioned attackers, holding difficult stances, and counting loudly in Japanese to build our ‘haras’ or centers.Read More
About the past…
When and where you were born?
I was born August 16th, 1971 in Concord, California.
What is your story of coming into Aikido?
I grew up in southern California, San Diego, and originally I started Judo. My father wanted me to become stronger. At 12 years old I went to a local place in Oceanside, California. I’d been doing Judo for around a year and a half when my Judo instructor told me that I should also do Aikido, that it would help me. At that time Gerald Gemmell Sensei, who was a Marine, was connected to Chiba Sensei and had a small Aikido group. I joined and was doing Aikido and Judo at the same time.Read More
Gandalf speaking to Lord Denethor, the steward of Gondor:
But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?
Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.
I am grateful that the Universe allowed me to come into being, and for my parents who brought me into this world. I am grateful to my family for allowing me to be as I am but also challenging me to be more. I am grateful to all the teachers that I have had who were both patient and tough with me as was needed.
I am grateful for this training that I have given my life to and that has given back to me immeasurably. I am grateful to our dojo and my students for they have fed me more than they know.
And I am grateful for the sun, the sky, and the stones, the water, and the wind through the trees. And even in times when things can perhaps seem dark, I am grateful for the ability to hope and believe in love.
My gratitude to all of you,
Ryūgan Robert Savoca
I practice aikido because it is my path. This is not what I would have said five and a half years ago when I started.
When I started aikido, I had no idea what it was. I had just moved to New York City from living in India and London, and was starting life over on my own. After about 22 years of dancing, I had decided to stop. I had studied one year of Indian martial arts while in Bangalore and knew that I wanted to train in a martial practice. I did not know why. It was like I was in a pitch black room and was following a simpler, more basic sense than sight. My friend said, “you should check out aikido, I think you would like it.” Watching class, I knew within a few seconds that I would like Savoca Sensei to be my teacher. In a way, as much as I found aikido, I think it also found me.Read More
Sometimes, your bread does not rise.
After you mill the rye berries into fine flour in a hand-powered mill until your arms are tired; after you feed the sourdough starter fresh rye flour and water, and let it ferment overnight; after you get up in the morning and mix the tangy-smelling starter with white flour, water, caraway seed, and sea salt in a 40-quart bowl, enough dough for 24 or 36 loaves; after kneading this mass by hand until you're tired and sweating; after waiting for the dough to rise, forming it into loaves, and waiting for them to rise again; after baking the loaves, sometimes, nothing happens.Read More
In 1859, the Cooper Union Foundation Building was opened with the mission to promote social mobility through subsidized education in arts and engineering. The building itself was an example of foresight and massive inventiveness, having been the first 'skyscraper' of its time (it was five stories), and was designed with an elevator shaft before the elevator was even invented.Read More
On my way out from work, about to exit the lobby, I heard someone call out, “Hey, doctor!” I turned around, and this tall man came up to me.
“Hey, you the doctor that discharged me with no meds, man!”
You would think that a 13-hour flight might have you sleeping through most of it—but not when you’re heading to Japan!
One of the greatest experiences in my life was the opportunity to travel and train in Japan. There, at Ichikukai Dojo, we trained intensely in Misogi, a purification practice through chanting and breathing. The training was hard, rigorous, and painful, though I can’t say much about the specifics of it (you have to experience it for yourself to really understand it).Read More