Thursday, July 30, 2015

Balance Challenge Circuit Training Course

The Balance Challenge! Circuit Training Course

Improve your balance, safely and enjoyably, by practicing the balance challenges in this indoor circuit training course. The exercises are varied and fun. Exercises are scalable so you can practice at the level of challenge appropriate for you. Regardless of your skill level, you can improve your balance and have fun doing it!
Saturday August 1, 2015, Noon- 1pm: 
Initial orientation session, $20. Personal training and orientation to the course presented by Suzane Van Amburgh
Saturdays, August 8, 15, 22, 29, 2015, noon to 1pm: 
DIY. Self-directed training for alumni of the orientation session. Suzane Van Amburgh on site and available to offer help and clarification as needed.
Once you’ve completed the initial orientation session on August 1, you are eligible to return on subsequent Saturdays for self-directed training (DIY) at a reduced rate of $10.
Multnomah Aikikai members who attend the initial orientation session for $20, are eligible to return on future dates for self-directed training (DIY) at no charge.
Not a member? Become a Multnomah Aikikai Community Member for $20 per month.
Your Instructor and balance coach:
Suzane Van Amburgh developed the balance challenge circuit training course and continually improves the stations of the course. Suzane is a martial arts instructor (aikido and iaido), a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher and a balance trainer. She conducted balance testing and balance training protocols at a physician’s office. She is the founder of the balance lab. Suzane brings fun balance challenges, benchmarks to self-assess progress, and an array of resources to help you explore and improve your own sense of balance.
The exercises:
The training course includes a variety of challenges to improve coordination, proprioception, leg and core strength, how we use our eyes, eye/ hand coordination, somatosensory functioning, use of hip joints and spine.
Our balance is influenced and maintained by the eyes, inner ear, and brain working together. The brain receives signals from the somatosensory system and processes that information along with input from the structures of inner ear and the eyes. Proprioceptors in the ankles and ribs are key to one’s sense of balance and the ability to restore balance. Leg strength and joint functioning are essential factors in balance as well.
When you improve your balance you invest in an improved quality of life. What do you feel safe doing? Even a slight erosion of confidence in you balance over time, will subtly narrow the range of activities you choose to engage in. As confidence in your balance grows, you will broaden your options, move freely and enjoy a more active life.
Whether you are rehabilitating from an injury, training for top performance, or anywhere in between, you will find the right level of challenge for you. If are interested in graceful aging, neuroplasticity, fall prevention or improved decision-making, you will find the Balance Challenge Training Circuit Course fascinating and engaging.
Contact Suzane Van Amburgh by email: spacetomoveinfo(at)
Find your Space To Move at Multnomah Aikikai

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Reflections on the 2015 Birankai North America Aikido Summer Camp

Reflections on the 2015 Birankai North America Aikido Summer Camp

 by Jon-Paul Oliva, Sandan

Author’s note: As a bit of background, beyond the technical instruction at camp, the commemoration of Chiba Sensei’s life and particularly the devotion and commitment shown by his Kenshusei and lifelong students was very moving to me. In this devotion I recognized the special nature of the teacher-student relationship, and the opportunity that relationship provides us with; to study ourselves through our training.  It strikes me that this is one of the great gifts of Aikido and that we all owe a great debt to Chiba Sensei as someone who gave a great deal of his life to make the study of ourselves through Aikido possible.

I have found that the Way of the samurai is death. 
This means that when you are compelled to choose between life and death, you must quickly choose death. 
There is nothing more to it than that.

- Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

This was a special summer camp for us all.  Many longtime students, friends and kenshusei of Chiba Sensei came to honor and celebrate the life of our teacher. Through their instruction and words of commemoration this weekend, these people literally embodied Sensei’s dedication to Aikido and commitment to his students.  

Even among those of us who only experienced Chiba Sensei indirectly through our teachers, or occasionally at seminars, there was an extra spark to training and commitment in running camp, created by the motive energy of Sensei’s lifelong commitment to Aikido and his students.

George Lyons Sensei taught a Dan weapons class at summer camp this year.  During the class, we practiced kiriotoshi with bokken.  I noticed that neither he nor his uke used a tsuba on their weapons.  He remarked that at the culmination of the kiriotoshi exercise, the domination movement, that nage must hold the line and penetrate deeply with full intention into the attack of his opponent in order to successfully dominate their attack.  Moving into a killing strike against all odds, nage must abandon all hope of survival in order to succeed in this encounter.  His exact words were “It’s crazy”, to advance into the oncoming strike, rather than retreat from it.  This is the way of Budo.

Although I only had the opportunity to train with Chiba Sensei occasionally over the years at seminars and summer camps, it was abundantly clear to me from the first time I met him that Sensei embodied the spirit of Budo and carried it forward for all of us like a lamp to show us the way.  He could radiate ferocity that was palpable to anyone he approached, and he brought forth the same commitment and spirit from anyone who was lucky enough to be his student.  

Through his conduct, Sensei showed us how to embrace our fear and move through it.  Above that, he dedicated his life to transmitting this spirit to his students. His legacy to all of us is a system of study and a cadre of teachers that, through our own diligent practice and sincere commitment, will make his passing a less difficult endeavor for all of us who must now follow in his footsteps.  

What a gift this is to all of us! Speaking personally, I struggle with fear on a daily basis. I sometimes find myself unable to move forward decisively when a situation demands it.  I am often reluctant to be vulnerable with others.  When I do find the strength to act without attachment to fear, I know that it is because of the great gift of Aikido that I can find the calm center within me and embrace a situation as it presents itself.  

This is the great gift and responsibility Sensei has charged us with; to honor his life work by devoting ourselves to the system of study that he has laid out for us.  Now, as always, it is up to us to accept this gift and continue our practice in earnest.  It is my sincere hope that each of us, in the spirit of self-sacrifice, find the courage within ourselves to renew our commitment to forging the spirit of Budo within our hearts and carry it forward like a light into the world.

Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. 
Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. 
The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love. 

- O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido Lessons at a refreshing price!

So refreshing!

This summer you can get started with a series of four aikido lessons at a refreshing price. 

When you schedule all 4 private lessons and make one payment you'll save $40!

Regular price for four lessons: $260
Summer special price: $220

Private lessons taught by Suzane Van Amburgh, 5th degree black belt, Birankai certified shidoin instructor. Learn more about Suzane Sensei.

Limited time offer. Be one of the first 5 people to book. This special price is for for new private lesson students. Lessons to be scheduled within August.

Location: Aikido Multnomah Aikikai, 6415 SW Macadam Ave, Portland OR 97239
Schedule: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat time slots, subject to availability.
Contact Suzane: spacetomoveinfo(at) or use the inquiry form on this Dojo News web page.

Get started in Aikido practice this summer with private lessons!