Tag Archives: Aikido

Mateel Aikido 25 Anniversary

Mateel Aikido celebrated 25 years of training on November 20-21, with Frank Doran Shihan. Black belts arrived from as far away as Alaksa, Oregon, and all over California. There were 49 people on the mat training at the Beginning’s Octagon in Briceland!

Mateel Aikido 25th Anniversary Gathering


Some of the Sensei’s relaxing a bit!


Michael Friedl, Frank Doran, and Russel Wisby


The potluck was fabulous, and also a birthday party for Frank Doran. What a great bunch of people and what an honor to Russel and Forrest Kan and the rest of the Mateel Aikido dojo to be honored with such a full house. A great weekend!

More photos online at Mateel Aikido’s Facebook page.


Time Keeps on Slippin’

I missed spring, summer and most of the fall. It is now winter, with rain and gray days, running the generator way too much as there isn’t enough solar to keep our small system going.

I haven’t been off the land to town in over 44 days now! Thank the goddess for internet as it seems to be my main social contact. I try to phone someone every few days, but talking on the phone is just not my thing. And my throat / voice has been stressed and strained and talking just makes me cough more.

I am now on day 3 of antibiotics (AGAIN) for the tickle – wake – me – up all night cough – all day cough, that developed as I was finally getting rid of the ‘end of summer colds’. I obviously have something going on that is causing this, (bacterial infection?) but no diagnosis.

I want to wax eloquently about how great a garden we had this year, we actually made tomato sauce to can last week end. I picked off 4 large flats of green and pink tomatoes to ripen off the vine. We dug some red potatoes a couple days ago that were just sooo goood. (carrots too) and peppers. I have 10 good sized butternut squash to store for the winter, and several acorns to eat up. I love being able to go into the garden to determine what’s for dinner, but those days are over for this season.

November is just around the corner. Russel’s Aikido school, Mateel Aikido will be celebrating 25 years this month. There is a big retreat planned for the weekend of Nov 19 – 21, with Sensei Frank Doran headlining. There is a Mateel Aikido facebook page that one of the students put up, that you can check out.

I have been dreaming of a warm sunny relaxing massage filled sauna taking swimming several times a day eating only good food retreat with mountain views. Just a few days (maybe more!) to detox, relax, and rejuvenate. Maybe southern California, as I need to get my passport redone before I can go to Mexico. But this is just a dream at this point.

Election in few days.. will be interesting to see where the ‘collective we’ end up with regards to Prop 19, CA governor, and some local issues.


May into June Allergy into me

I didn’t mean to abandon my blog. Again. I do have some beginning posts of content being organized that I plan on adding either here or in my other website, www.creationdreams.net, when it gets updated to WP.

So in early May, Russel’s sister Carol, came to visit, (May 5-9) and Russel was running back and forth into town to bring Carol out here.

Russel Wisby & Carol Nelson

It was a nice visit and the weather was good, sunny and warm, but the evening we were to go to Shelter Cove, my 4 Runner wouldn’t start. I had had some problems with it the day before in town, and we figured out the alarm system, that we never used, decided to say a door was open and wouldn’t let us start it up.. quite the drag. I stayed home and Russel took Carol out to the cove for dinner.

Then it rained again.

I took the 4 Runner to be fixed by Leo’s. Sunny breezy day after a good rain in May. I need to focus on the rest of the garden planting.
And returning to the Bruce bubble .. where life is just sublime.
I spent the next week working on www.cockburnproject.net, and staying in that Bruce bubble.

I was feeling pretty good for me, and starting to plan out all the projects I wanted to accomplish this spring, before Russel leaves for Aikido Summer Camp on June 13.

On Friday, May 14 – I went into the Farmers Market. How fun! So many happy smiling faces, and lots of good connection. Feels good to be out and seeing people on a sunny bright day! And preparing for the Russel’s upcoming Mateel Aikido workshop at Beginnings this week end and potluck on Saturday. I prepared a non-bean enchilada dip and a pesto, pasta and pine nut salad for the potluck. It was a warm and sunny day on Saturday too, and as always the Mateel Aikido potluck was a blast with good friends and lots more socializing.

2 days of socializing had taken its toll on my, throat hurts from talking so much, my life in general is so isolated that 2 very social days in a row wipe me out! Which is how I felt on Sunday.

Then it rained — again.
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Randy Foster – RIP

Randy Foster caught his last wave Tuesday November 25 at Shelter Cove.

Randy Foster-2004

Gone from mystery into mystery
Gone from daylight into night
Another step deeper into darkness
Closer to the light

~ Bruce Cockburn, Closer To The Light

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean’s roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night

~ Bruce Cockburn, The Charity of Night


His bright light of being will be missed.
Randy and Sarah with their Aikido family at Benbow in 2004.

Randy Foster with Mateel Aikido family -2004

I love the pounding of hooves
I love engines that roar
I love the wild music of waves on the shore
And the spiral perfection of a hawk when it soars
Love my sweet woman down to the core

There’s roads and there’s roads
And they call, can’t you hear it?
Roads of the earth
And roads of the spirit
The best roads of all
Are the ones that aren’t certain
One of those is where you’ll find me
Till they drop the big curtain

Hear the wind moan
In the bright diamond sky
These mountains are waiting
Brown-green and dry
I’m too old for the term
But I’ll use it anyway
I’ll be a child of the wind
Till the end of my days

Little round planet
In a big universe
Sometimes it looks blessed
Sometimes it looks cursed
Depends on what you look at obviously
But even more it depends on the way that you see

Hear the wind moan
In the bright diamond sky
These mountains are waiting
Brown-green and dry
I’m too old for the term
But I’ll use it anyway
I’ll be a child of the wind
Till the end of my days

~ Bruce Cockburn, Child of the Wind


Full Moon May

The garden is mostly in. The poppys are popping.. the sage is blooming and the wild lilac. We have had a dry spring with mild temps until the last several days of HIGH HEAT (100’s). Watching the clover yard dry up. The deer coming around less as there is less to eat. Haven’t seen the bambies yet, although we had a pregnant doe here for weeks.

Russel’s Aikido teacher from the bay area is here this weekend for a retreat. The potluck was last night and good food was had by all.
He is wrapping up the schools classes. In 3 weeks he will go to Aikido summer camp in the south bay for a week. I hope to have a lot of energy and maybe some money to do some interior work on this house.

The Michigan trip is booked for June 25 -July 11. Dad does have even more cancer. The melanoma keeps spreading, there are spots on his lungs which nothing can be done about, and a lump in his neck that is some kind of squamous, but not skin cancer kind. There is at least one more surgery ahead, if he chooses to do it. Probably just before we get there.

I have started to speak it out loud, that he may die soon… or not .. as he is a tough old guy (86) going on 60. But I need to prepare myself. This one will be hard to let go of.

My friends T and Ter from Florida are actually saying they may come visit this way this summer. I am so hoping that they do. I need them too. I need to see T… just feels like it must happen.

Not a lot of photos to brag about. Haven’t been using my camera much. Got this one in april through the hazy kitchen window:


I have been working a lot.

And Bruce Cockburn, www.cockburnproject.net is out on a short tour which is being recorded and filmed for a new LIVE-Solo CD and DVD. Wish he was doing some shows on the west coast for this, but he’s not.

There is also a lot going on locally. Too much to really go into here, but here is a link to a local blog who keeps everyone informed at least to what is going on with code enforcement, diesel concerns, 2nd district elections and Reggae wars, to name a few. I use it only as a means to being alerted and seeing what some (few) people are thinking about these issues. I do not generally agree with a lot that is posted over there as opinion.


Russel’s 60th!

Russel also turned 60 on 13 December. I started the day with a few balloons and a small gift of books, then later, another gift, a watch which he has been wanting. Then we went into town for dinner at Rene’s, and it was exceptional. Fresh Rock Cod on truffulled mashed potatos.. ummm words do not describe.

It really was one of the best meals I have had in ages. It was then time for Aikido class and I did a few errands and returned to the hall.. and surprise !!! Birthday cake ice cream and balloons 🙂 He was happy. It was a good day.

Russel Wisby turns 60

Aikido and Russel

Russel has been profiled this December by his Aikido Association – www.ai-ki-do.org. This is the profile:

Russel Wisby 2006- 3rd Dan

Russel Wisby, 3rd Dan
Mateel Aikido, Redway, California
Division 2

How I started

In 1974 I took a defensive tactics class at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka. I was looking for a self defense class and I had no idea what to expect. The instructor was a Hawaiian named Richard Kahoali, a student of Koichi Tohei Sensei. He taught some Kempo but mostly Ki Society Aikido. I found myself becoming more grounded and empowered almost immediately. I was struck by how powerful Kahoali Sensei could be while at the same time being kind.
In 1982 Tom Moreland Sensei, started classes in Garberville and I trained with him until early 1983 when he stopped teaching for health reasons. He suggested that I check out Tom Read Sensei’s classes at North Coast Aikido in Arcata.

Read Sensei is a remarkable Aikidoist. He studied with Hikitsuchi Sensei in Shingu and went on to develop his own unique way of Aikido. This was my first taste of Aikikai Aikido and I really liked it.
The first ten years of my Aikido training were sketchy at best.
The call of the wilderness was strong in me. I bought land in Southern Humboldt County in 1977. Distance and circumstances kept me from training more than two years spread out over a ten year period. The only classes available locally at that time were Wing Chun, Karate and Tai chi. So I dabbled in all of them. None of them could compare with the experience of Aikido.

In 1985 Doug Knox, who was Tom Read’s chief student, moved to our area and started Mateel Aikido. Now, finally, we had local, regular classes with an able instructor and the possibility to progress.
In 1986 Knox Sensei moved to Oregon and Carl Tissol Sensei became Dojocho of Mateel Aikido. Carl had trained for a long time with Tom Read and was very influenced by his Shingu roots.

In January 1993 I received my Shodan from Read Sensei. He had numerous Gasshukus and this was my first exposure to other Aikikai instructors including Frank Doran, Mary Heiny, Jack Wada, Richard Moon, Terry Dobson, Linda Holiday and others.

Tissol Sensei encouraged us to go to Seminars and Summer Retreat at San Rafael to broaden our perspective of Aikido styles. Summer Retreat provided the opportunity to learn from top notch instructors, primarily Frank Doran, Robert Nadeau, and Hiroshi Ikeda Senseis. And there were so many fantastic guest instructors and morning class instructors that it would take too long to list them all.

In 1994 Carl stopped teaching and Forrest Kan and I became the Dojochos of Mateel Aikido. We had maintained our connection with Read Sensei’s Association of Independent Aikidoists, but as time went on we were more and more drawn to the teaching and style of Frank Doran Sensei. In 1997 we became official members of the Aikido Association of Northern California Division 2. Since then we have been inspired by Doran Sensei’s sage counsel and guidance.


We currently have about a dozen regular students. Some classes there are only six or eight of us. The highest number of students we have ever had in twenty one years of classes is twenty three. We have classes every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6:30 and every Sunday morning at 10:30 at our local Veterans Hall in Garberville.
The wonderful thing about living in a small country town is that you get to see the same people over and over again every time you go to town. So you get to know more people. A trip to the store becomes a social event. And likewise in our dojo we have seen and trained with the same people for years. Everybody in the dojo knows everyone else. Really well! So there is a strong sense of family.
Sixteen years ago I started a kids program with the intention of increasing our adult school population over time. But small town kids usually move away when they get out of school since there are no serious career options here.

Nevertheless I still teach kid’s classes twice a week at the Community Center in Redway at 4pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
I also teach classes at four local schools throughout the week. Mostly kindergarten to eighth grade. At the busiest time of the school year I have seventeen kid’s classes and 150 to 160 students .

My most Memorable Aikido Experience

It would be so hard to pick one particular Aikido memory because there are so many.
It could be Doshu’s visit, or
A weapons class with Pat Hendricks or Danielle Smith, or
A quiet moment with B. J. Carlisle, or
A mind stretching realization in one of Nadeau Sensei’s energy classes, or
Being chastised by Doran Sensei in such a tactful and gracious way that if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn‘t even know it, or
Experiencing an almost hallucinatory shift in the light in Read Sensei’s class, or
Getting brutally honest feedback from an eight-year-old in kid’s class, or
The countless daily realizations that I am applying an Aikido principle to some seemingly mundane action, or
Any one of dozens of wonderful moments with a long list of generous and patient instructors I have been fortunate enough to meet.
I am deeply grateful to each and everyone of them.

But if I had to pick just one it would be my first Gasshoku in 1975 were I saw my first high ranked Aikidoist and student of O’ Sensei, Koichi Tohei teach. He was awesome.


Russel Wisby 2006- 3rd Dan