…Spring training!!!…


O’Sensei’s “u-u-u-u” in Shingu…

…by Motomichi Anno Shihan

At the beginning of class, O-Sensei would often lecture on [manifesting the Kojiki with your body] for thirty minutes or so….He would “stand on the Floating Bridge of Heaven” and the sound u-u-u-u would float out of him in a rising chant. After doing things like that for some time, he would give a brief  demonstration of a technique and instruct us to practice it….

O-Sensei generated a feeling, an energy, around him. Being in a class with O-Sensei was like being drawn into a mysterious atmosphere like dissolving into the universe. When O-Sensei would chant u-u-u-u, you would ride the waves of his sound. You know what it’s like on a rainy day, when you look out into the mist, and all you can see is clouds and rain, and the indistinct shapes of mountains? That’s the kind of world you entered, with O-Sensei. You would feel drawn to the mountain in the mist.

– – – Journey to the Heart of Aikido,  p. 113


And so when we look at how it might be the kotodama ‘U’ that expresses our  enlightened perception of naka-ima, we can see – just from the way that ‘U’ is the first sound uttered by a new born child – that this is a sound that [naturally] sums up – and unifies –  the contents – of the human heart and mind.  Now, this unification of word, heart and mind is often said to be something that ‘nourishes our hidden depths – our ura.’  And these hidden depths are what are technically referred to as ‘kokoro‘ – meaning ‘our deepest impulses’ 1)  [ – impulses so deep that they  are also part of the collective sub-conscious. ]   Whereas KA-NA [ – kana: the Japanese syllabary – KA(kami)-NA(names) – ] are the writing out of words as the names of gods – of the very  kami [that give rise to these, our deepest impulses, and to the collective sub-conscious.]  And so, again, when you postulate that


is the kotodama ‘U’, it becomes immediately obvious that this is correct because of all of the hundred kami that come into being immediately after: written as kana – as hiragana‘U’ means ‘being’, ‘being born’, ‘movement and vitality’, ‘planting’, ‘giving birth’.

And so again, when we look at how it might be that this kotodama ‘U’, as the first and freshest  perception of naka-ima, could be regarded as our own perception of our innermost impulses [ – emerging from the collective sub-conscious – and ] becoming the conscious workings of our mind, we can see that this is not just a human experience –  but that it also pervades every plant and animal:  it is the first, the simplest, the most primal, immediate, spontaneous and instinctual function and activity of the mind:  our senses directly perceiving. In a human-being  it is perception through the five senses of the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body  (by way of color, voice, aroma, taste and feeling). And for any living thing, manifesting itself in the [natural] universe – all the more so because this perception precedes the mental division into subject and object, and precedes the mental activity of rational cognition – for any living thing, anything that can be said to exist, when it is perceived in naka-ima, is truly perceived in this simplest possible way. For a human being, it is like perceiving with morning-eyes – when you have only just woken up – or like seeing things with a baby’s mind, and first-and-foremost it is having the mentality of perceiving before any division into self and other. Even the amoeba, and the cholera bacillus, have this kind of perception.  And so, whatever the means of perception and whatever is being perceived, because rational thought and judgement are things that happen later:  they are not the perception itself. They are a partitioning of the [natural] universe, a division into self and other, and they are something that happens later.

1) That is, ‘kokoro‘ in the progression kami>kokoro>ri>ki>kyo = the Divine will or energy of the universe>our deepest impulses>the workings of our mind>burgeoning ki>actual manifested gesture or utterance.

– – – Koji Ogasawara, Kototama Hyakushin, pp. 20-21

…blossom and spring training…


…neru kochou!!!…

Wake up! wake up!
I want to be your friend – – –
– – – sleeping butterfly!!!

– – – Basho

…polished ZOU!!! …ready to go!!!…


Lynn’s sculpture, Winter’s Whimsy…

…is in the Art Auction Fundraiser for Surel’s Place, at the Visual Arts Collective, Saturday, June 11 | 6:30pm… Lynn-san was the resident artist at Surel’s Place in Novermber/December 2014….




WIRETOWHINNEYarmatureand Lynn-san will be teaching ‘We’ve got Legs’ on Saturday June 4h – Sunday June 5, at Laf’n Bear Sculpture Studio…  stepping students through the expressive anatomy of the horse’s leg, and shaping the legs of their own horse sculptures… …from wire armature to casting-ready…



…with an Open Studio on Monday, June 6.


Rebeca, performing at TedX Boise…

…with Mahavia Flamenco… 



...and Rebeca’s new CD: ‘VOGT’  by PALANKEEN…


…the digital download is available here,  and the  CD’s are available on the same link.  You can buy them here in Boise at Doyle’s on Broadway,  and at the Record Exchange.

AN AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO-ZOU for Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America

[UPDATE:] …the AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is cast and remains a laborious and painstaking process of polishing…CASThokothreejewels2CROPCASTassemblingwLHspearCROP


[UPDATE:]  Application of the mold rubber to the drum is complete…
…and in the background, Barry-san prepares a lego container for the first layer of mold rubber to be poured onto AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’s spear…



..outside the silicone, Barry-san applies burlap soaked in plaster-of-paris as the first layer of the drum’s mother mold…
UZUME_April7_removMoldFromDrum_72dpi800pxWCROP...as Barry-san removes first the mother-mold and then the silicone rubber from the original sculpture of the drum, it becomes obvious why a supporting mother mold is so critical to the process!


[UPDATE:]  AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’sarms are being molded separately… so many layers of multi-colored silicone are applied…

Back to the main part of the ZOU:  all the layers of mold material have been built up. Next is a hard shell: sometime referred to as the mother mold. This  will be comprised of several separate sections. Parting lines of water-based ceramic clay define the sections (the wet clay is covered overnight with plastic to keep it from drying out).



Barry begins to apply the “Plasti-paste II” which will form the hard mother mold. The paste is a two-component, fiber-filled resin:  when the two parts are mixed the paste is workable for JUST 10 MINUTES before it begins to set. Barry-san must mix and apply multiple small batches of Plasti-paste. AMEZOUstartingmothermoldCROP

[UPDATE:]  Kimbal Sensei builds a base for AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU, using an actual wooden tub as a basis for the clay sculpture of a taiko drum… AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO danced on an upturned tub, to tempt the Sun Goddess out of the cave… thereby inventing both Kagura sacred dance and taiko-drumming…




[UPDATE:] Meanwhile AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is now in the molding room – at Laf’n Bear Sculpture Studio, pictured here with Dojo member, Barry Moore, of BearCast Molding and Casting:



Barry-san begins to apply the first “imprint” coat of silicone molding material  carefully drizzled on with a brush, then moved into fine detail areas with compressed air.  

24 hours later, the silicone has set to a rubbery firmness, and more layers of silicone are added,  to build up thickness.  

Barry-san tints each coat to help keep track of the layers.  On day 2, AME-NO-UXUME-ZOU is robed in purple…

First thing in the morning on day 3, another layer, this time pink.  Each successive layer is somewhat more viscous and thicker than the previous layer.

Purple again… and by early afternoon on day 3, Barry-san is adding tabs of cured silicone to the seamlines to reinforce those areas.  Held in place by T-pins, the overall effect is one of an odd variation of acupuncture.  The tabs are “glued” into place with yet another layer of silicone mold material…



– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei

For some weeks, now, I’ve been working at constructing a statue for Tsubaki Jinja in America.  While we tend to think of Shinto as being very much based in natural phenomena – we think of the beautiful torii gate in the middle of a  forest… or the sacred stones surrounded by shimenawa…there is, in fact, quite a bit of lineage concerning the making of sacred images. For instance, if you go to a shrine and you’re going to make a branch shrine – a secondary shrine – they will give you a go-shintai:  a go-shintai is something that has been blessed by the parent shrine, and it’s like a little holographic chunk of what the parent shrine has… and often it’s a little statue.

SarutahikoZou2CROPNow, at Tsubaki America Jinja, there is already a
statue, which I was able to construct, and which  has been there for many years, and it has found its way into rooting itself into the landscape properly.

I had made a statue of
before, and wanted to give one to the shrine, as a gift from our school.  I feel that it’s really important to consider female  energy – she represents, of course, sacred movement, for us in aikido – but also the balancing aspect of having both kinds of energy in a place:  the sacred marriage of the energies.

AMENOUZUMENOMIKOTOzou2016inSHINDEN2CROPThe first time around, I built her just as a pure figure, with the properties which are folk-loric, but without the well-known story. But this time, we’re including the story, and that’s why she’s decorated the way she is, with a bamboo frond in one hand, and a head-dress  of sakaki and a belt of woven club-moss. Now each one of these has some meaning… and I also put tama in her head-dress, and suchlike…

I also looked at some ancient, ancient stuff: the shamanesses and oracles in old Korea –  women who danced – and women who are reflected in the first miko  that ruled Japan… I think that pretty much
is a metaphor for them, and these dances… they are basically spiral dances.

AMENOUZUMENOMIKOTOzou2016CCROPAnd I wanted to make her spear a particular way,  so that while it’s not the Spirit that Creates the Earth in particular, yet there’s a reason she has it. So I like the idea of it being the jeweled spear of creation – and it’s also a  male principle that she’s holding, there.

I really like the old Jomon pottery.  There are so many similarities to the world of Shinto shrines as they are today: the Oyu stone circles on the top of a hill…  with a Te-Mizu-ya – a place for washing hands and mouth clean – just down the hill, before you oyuyangCROPget to the top…  and pottery discovered there, decorated with the image of people seated,  meditating, with halos…  from this time, the decoration always has a  very clear yang, or a very clear yin feel to it: and there are a lot of spiral  designs.

So I  reflected these spiral designs on her garments, as an allusion to the ancient knowledge.

AMENOUZUMENOJOMON2016CROPAnd I’m going to construct the tub that she  dances on in the story. And I’m going to use the old version: people often think it should  be something like an old whiskey barrel, but my own feeling is that  it’s much more like  the thing I make my sushi-rice in. More like  a straight-sided cylinder.

And I’d like to make it so that when the wind  blew, she danced  – I could balance her so she could rotate.

My inspiration is to support Tsubaki  America. I’ve been involved for 30  years, trying to help Guji-san make daigi7CROPthat shrine-world possible for Americans to experience. He’s done such an amazing job with the energy, there:  it truly is one of the most extraordinarily potent places on  the planet.

I think the
will be really be nice because  it’ll help balance everything.  Guji-san has a wonderful spot in mind, where she and her  husband will be able to see each other, so they can be conjoined in that spot. And people will be able to come and experience it.

haniwaI’d also like to make some of those figures, those really ancient Haniwa,  guardians… to give the shrine a connection to the very, very ancient stuff. If you look at these  ancient things, you know, they’ve carried  over… it’s the deep soil of it.

And I hope to have the
reproduced, reduced in size, for people  who would like to have one… about the size of a Goshintai, so if you have a shrine at home you could have it…

Ideally we’d cast it in meteorite-iron….  we’ll see!UZUME_April6_drum_mothermoldbegin_72dpi800pxWCROP

A change of optic:

Aikido is a gem of many facets – sometimes it seems that every one of O’Sensei’s students remembered a different teacher, and of course, many, many different styles have been preserved and developed – but here is one facet that clicked into focus for me recently:

what if O’Sensei spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo coherently pursuing what he felt to be his “mission in life”?…

what if he spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo creating and nurturing a network of dojos run by Omoto-Kyo, ex-Omoto-Kyo and Ko-Shinto believers ( hand-picked deshi,  some of them raised, almost, as members of his family) – – – and ex-Kamikaze pilots, too (!) – often with his own name on the sign –  in places – and close to shrines…

read more: