Aikido of Santa Cruz

True Victory is Victory Over Oneself

Aikido of Santa Cruz
306 Mission Street,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 423-8326
fax: (831) 423-6156
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Student Essays

A sincere offering of thoughts, feelings, insights, and questions regarding Aikido practice, presented in the form of essays by Aikido of Santa Cruz students, on the occasion of their promotions to dan ranks. Please read, enjoy, and carry the inspiration into your practice of Aikido!


  • Download essayTempering the Sword of Peace

    by Steven Cervine, Sandan

    “Feeling safe can come from our mastery over our nature and not from being the most aggressive. It has required a maturation of my skills to learn to make a different choice than reacting from fear. With greater skill comes greater choice.” — Steven Cervine, April 2017

  • Download essayAm I who I want to be in the world?

    by Kahlil Johnson, Yondan

    “In this moment I can choose my old self of protection or my new self of authentic whole heartedness. No one escapes this painful moment of reckoning. Will I walk my talk or will I retreat back to the darkness?” — Kahlil Johnson, November 2016

  • Download essayNotes on the Aikido of Social Activism

    by Neil Mick, Yondan

    “Just as an aikidoist should be fully aware of the rules of etiquette before engaging in active keiko: a social activist also requires preparation and awareness of her rights, especially if engaging in civil disobedience.” — Neil Mick, November 2016

  • Download essayNidan: Second Step

    by Nathan Holiday, Nidan

    “Aikido began to seem bewilderingly complex to the point that it was impossible to do. How can our muscles remain relaxed while moving ourselves and someone else? How can we extend while maintaining posture? How can we keep an open field of vision while controlling the center line?” — Nathan Holiday, September 2016

  • Download essayThe Unification of Self

    by Nico Secunda, Sandan

    “How can I let go of the habits that keep me from experiencing each moment anew? How do I practice a particular technique so that the movement does not become solely automatic, but rather natural? How do I let go of myself to find myself?” — Nico Secunda, August 2016

  • Download essayThe Path

    by Nicola Astley, Nidan

    “As the years went by I came to realize that Aikido was informing every aspect of my life, as my teachers and Sempai guided me along my path. Akido was changing the way I walked, being more conscious of my center. It became my primary stress relief.” — Nicola Astley, July 2016

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