Centerfield Aikido, Occidental California – Mary Mclean Sensei

Our first dojo we intended to visit was Centerfield Aikido, headed by Mary Mclean Sensei. Centerfield Aikido is in the hills of western Sonoma County approximately 10 minutes from the beach. The dojo is on Mary Sensei’s property and is one of the most unique schools I’ve visited. The actual facility is a tent like structure that was designed and built by one of her students, Rhen, who is an architect. It sits on a wooden foundation and one side can be opened up to view the trees and woods on and around her property. As the sunlight moves across the sky the silhouettes of birds can be seen as they fly over, and the shadows of tree branches become shorter and longer as the day goes on. It is one of the most marvelous, aesthetically pleasing schools I’ve ever been to.
However, the day we were to go and visit, Mary Sensei called me to let me know that she was sick. I wanted to introduce Leah to her for a couple of reasons. Mary has beautiful Aikido, is a strong woman and works in the same line of work that Leah does. I mention the dojo here, even though we did not visit, because it truly is a special place. In hypnotherapy sessions it became my “safe place”. I have had thoughts of marrying Leah there. A structure is only that though, and it cannot come alive without the people to fill the space. I’ve only visited the school once, but I felt a kinship to Mary Sensei. When we talked after class, we discussed our lineage of teachers and she said to me, “You are in the same tribe.” I think about that, and how she knows all of the people I trained under, and really appreciate that she can see from my Aikido on the mat and a compare of my teachers that we are in fact from the same tribe. It is very regrettable that we will not have a chance to train with Mary Sensei. However, there is always another trip and we will make sure to visit Centerfield when she is back in California.
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