Sam Taitel Sensei (they/them) began practicing Aikido in 1999 at age 5, was an uchi-deshi (a live-in student) at NY Aikikai under Yamada Sensei, and now trains and teaches at East Lake Aikido in Minneapolis holding the rank of san dan (third degree black belt). Sam is part of the founding Solstice Seminars team, a panelist and moderator, international teacher, local trainer, and project collaborator. As a Mixed, Black, Jewish, and Queer woman, Aikido has deeply informed how they move through and connect with the world. Sam explores the internal and external realms, with a focused curiosity on their overlap and interplay. They work to nourish belonging in the martial arts community and beyond as a racial and social justice activist through relationship building and body forward inquiry.
Together we will explore how our bodies receive, draw support from, and work in cooperation with the ground.
I’ve long had a fascination with the interplay of bodies, hence my love of Aikido practice, and have been reflecting on how the Earth is a person’s most consistent and present partner. My care for the Earth has been at the forefront of my mind as fires, oil spills, the climate crisis, and capitalism engulf us. I want to be intentional about my engagement with this planet as one body in space to another and live out ways that we can take care of each other.
This class will be a building series of individual drills moving through expanding focal points of connectivity with ourselves, the ground, and other people while simultaneously minimizing the distance between our embodiment of uke and nage roles. These focused movements incorporated in training can aid in protecting your body in practice and life. When we better understand how safety can exist within ourselves, we can more effectively co-create community and world safety.
I hope that this workshop honors some of the lessons the Earth offers in an authentic, playful, and accessible manner. Feedback welcome.
Register to receive the Zoom link for the seminar class.
The seminar is by donation, and all proceeds will go to support our work as we continue to bring this practice into the world.
Suggested donation: $15-35 per class
(If that’s too much, pay whatever feels comfortable. If you’re feeling a financial squeeze just come to class.)
What to Bring to Class:
A relatively heavy but manageable weight that can be gripped with both hands – ex: kettlebell, dumbbell, textbook, water bottle, gallon of water. Creative household items welcome (laundry detergent, two handled pot with water, kitty litter box, dog food bag.
Space and safe surface to roll and move on the ground just over a body length.
Gi or comfortable, loose clothing (no hakama).
Beginners are warmly welcome.
We look forward to practicing with you!
Please share this email with any and all you think might like to attend.
Chief Instructor/Dojo Cho
New Orleans, LA, USA
[Above photos by Ruth Peyser, Jaime Kahn; and Bobby Velez is the uke in the second photo.]