Review of June 2017 Seminar in Oakland, CA

"I could write a entire book on all the things Dan and Roy taught in the last 5 days."

Ancient Traditions and Modern Combatives:
Aiki - "Two sides of the same coin"

Seminar with Dan Harden & Roy Goldberg
June 30 - July 3, 2017

These two extremely knowledgeable and talented instructors approach Aiki from very different perspectives, bridging the traditional and the combative.

Bernard Langan, from Stillness in Motion, recently shared his experience:

The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a work written for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form. The Variations are named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer. 

Goldberg Sensei comes from a long line of classical musicians; though he does not play a instrument himself preferring horsemanship and rock climbing. 

Sensei taught a seamless flow of very soft and powerful Daito Ryu techniques which have obviously evolved greatly since this video above, was made in 1992. Then like his namesake 'Johann Gottlieb Goldberg' Goldberg Sensei showed how one technique within Daito Ryu contains all the others. He then masterfully played out countless variations on his Ukes. 

Dan Harden Sensei, as he was addressed during the seminar, kept things on track and brilliantly explained what was happening in terms of the San Gen Kai pedagogy and brought out further elucidations of key principles, such as Kiyama Sensei's "Golden Rod". Without embodying these principles none of the 'techniques' would work. Goldberg Sensei taught the 'silk pulling' pinning and cramping methods - which from my experience involve a long, soft pull of the core inner muscles, tendons and fascia which then creates pulls from inside out on the outer phasic muscles. This caused a temporary Ideomotor Apraxia; the term comes from the Greek ἀ- a- ("without") and πρᾶξις praxis ("action"), in which the Uke has difficulty with the motor planning to perform their next sequence of movements; i.e., they are stuck and can have difficulty breathing if the pull moves into the cervical spine and then through phrenic nerve into the diaphragm. 

The seminar was taught at whatever level the participants could understand. I could write a entire book on all the things Dan and Roy taught in the last 5 days. The seminar was also fun and I am sure will remain one of the highlights of my martial arts training. The collaboration and exchange make this seminar experience unique and definitely worth traveling for. The subtext dialogue of the seminar was kind of like the movie "Twins". Roy Goldberg Sensei stayed here with us and he is a soulful, wonderful, warm man and has a magnificent sense of humor. Felt like I was in the movie "My Cousin Vinny", except Vinny is my favorite Jewish Uncle, one of the long lost Marx brothers and highest ever ranking Western exponent of Daito Ryu Aki-Jujitsu. I got to feel his Daito Ryu technique for the first time and his skills are very soft, powerful and top notch. I was VERY impressed - had not had the opportunity to feel Goldberg Sensei do anything before though we have had many great phone conversations.

Goldberg Sensei really wants to spread the art and wants to teach Daito Ryu as well as his PT work, so we will be starting a study group here.

He was very generous and open with instruction, and if you know anyone interested in Daito Ryu I would highly recommend him. As always, Dan's architecture background informs his teaching and makes the material informative and clear in addition to being functional and intellectually alive. Working with Dan, discussing the training processes and practices, models and the material is time to be treasured. San Gen Kai teachings are very congruent with Chinese, Indonesian and Filipino Martial Arts and applicable to both healing skills and everyday life. I imagine Dan is close to training with someone the caliber of Don Draeger Sensei, closest that anyone from my generation will get in their lifetime.

—Bernard Langan

Although not from this seminar, watch Goldberg Sensei demonstrating a similar series of variations on a technique:


If you are interested in more videos from past joint seminars with Dan Harden and Roy Goldberg watch this playlist.