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4 Days Summer Aikido Retreat in California, USA

Aikido Summer Retreat in the USA

Join Pacific Aikido Federation's 31st annual Aikido Summer Retreat where you will have the opportunity to train with Hideki Shiohira Sensei, 7th Dan Shihan. All Aikido practitioners, regardless of rank or affiliation, are invited to participate. The Summer Retreat will be held in Sonoma County at the CYO Retreat Center near Occidental, CA. The center is located in a coastal forest surrounded by redwoods. It has a beautiful and spacious lodge with a large training area. This is an opportunity for four days of concentrated Aikido training in a beautiful, natural setting.


  • Training 3 times per day
  • Optional zen practice included
  • Training with experienced trainer, founder of PAF
  • Natural and environment-friendly setting
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided
  • 3 nights of accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


4 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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You will be staying at cabins. Cabins have hardwood flooring, modern fixtures, lighting, heaters, and wood bunk-beds that sleep up to 12 people in each, for a total occupancy of 288 beds. The cabin buildings are paired with wood decks and benches in between each two.

Pacific Aikido Federation's Annual Summer Camp Program


August 25, 2016:

14:00 - 15:15: Registration

15:30 - 16:30: Aikido

17:00 - 17:45: Zen (optional)

18:15 - 19:00: Dinner

August 26-27, 2016

5:30 - 6:15: Zen (optional)

6:30 - 7:30: Aikido

8:00 - 9:00: Breakfast

10:00 - 11:30: Aikido

12:00 - 13:00: Lunch

13:30 - 14:45: Video and free practice

15:00 - 16:30: Aikido

17:00 - 17:45: Zen (optional)

18:15 - 19:00: Dinner

August 28, 2016

5:30 - 6:15: Zen (optional)

6:30 - 7:30: Aikido

8:00 - 9:00: Breakfast

10:00 - 11:30: Aikido

12:00 - 13:00: Lunch

12:30 - 15:30: Close and pack up



Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art created during the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), an expert who reached the highest level of mastery in the classical Japanese Martial Arts. Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. Aikido has not competition. The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a step or skill, but rather improving one's character according to the rules of nature.

Features of Aikido

Aikido training is intended to promote physical and mental training, according to the proficiency level of each skill and repeatedly practice so anyone can practice. Aikido training is not only good for health, but also develops self-confidence naturally for daily life. The dojo is a ideal place to deepen the understanding of the human eye, to meet people regardless of age, sex and occupation.

Aikido Worldwide

Sixty years have passed since the spread of Aikido overseas began. During this time, Aikido has become established in 130 countries. Aikido has taken root all over the world because it is recognized as a way to train the mind and body, and as such, its value extends beyond race and border. As a result of overseas promotion activities, in 1976, the International Aikido Federation (IAF) was established, the General Assembly of the Federation has been held every four years.

In 1984, the International Aikido Federation became official member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). Voluntary activities by international organizations and leaders dispatched by Japan Government Foundation, Leaders dispatched by Senior Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and Youth of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also become active. Aikido is expected internationally now as a new culture of humanity in the 21st century.

Aikikai Foundation

Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art created during the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba, an expert who reached the highest level of mastery in the classical Japanese Martial Arts. Officially recognized by the Japanese government in 1940, the Aikikai Foundation is the parent organization for the development and popularization of Aikido throughout the world.

Aikikai Aikido World Headquarters

  • Establishment of Aikido schools, publication of books and newspapers about Aikido (Japanese and English).
  • Establishment of branch dojos, dispatching of instructors to domestic and foreign regions and dojos management.
  • Organization of Aikido public demonstrations and workshops.
  • Other activities related to the dissemination of Aikido in general.

Other Organizations that promote and spread the development of Aikido

  • International Aikido Federation (IAF Established in 1976)
  • All-Japan Aikido Federation (Established in 1976)
  • Ministry of Defense Aikido Federation (Established in 1961)
  • National Student Aikido Federation (Established in 1961)
  • National High School Aikido Federation (Established in 2002)

Pacific Aikido Federation

The Pacific Aikido Federation is directly affiliated with Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. The Pacific Aikido Federation (PAF) is a group of dojos and students who are following Shiohira Shihan's approach to Aikido as a Martial Way. This means not only learning and becoming proficient in Aikido techniques but also settling into your true self (developing awareness and a deeper understanding of yourself) so that the training comes out in our every day life situations. This type of training is called Shugyo.

In addition to regular classes at member dojos, PAF sponsors a number of activities to support this type of training for its members:

Black Belt Training - Advanced training for black belts (and those who will be testing for black belt within a year). This is a two hour class once a month.

ZazenKai - Training in Zazen meditation and Shodo (Calligraphy). This half day session occurs once a month.

Summer Camp - Intensive Aikido Training. This is a week long immersion in Shugyo. Aikido techniques, weapons and zazen are included along with room and board. It occurs sometime in the summer.

Winter Retreat - Intensive Aikido Training. This is a weekend immersion in Shugyo. Aikido techniques, weapons and zazen are included along with room and board. Winter Retreat generally occurs in February.

Seminars - Shiohira Shihan regularly visits the PAF member dojos to conduct Aikido training.

Workshops - Shiohira Shihan instructs at various Non PAF dojos and seminars around the country.

Attendance at these activities is not restricted to PAF members. In fact all of these activities are open to anyone, regardless of affiliation, who wants to sincerely train and participate in Shugyo.

Testing - Exams are conducted at least twice a year from a standard syllabus.


The CYO Retreat Center

The CYO Retreat Center is located amidst 216 acres of towering redwood forest and open meadow in historical western Sonoma County, just six miles from the Pacific Ocean and a short walk away from the town of Occidental.

The Center is ideally situated for retreats, meetings, conferences, weddings, and family gatherings and is available for rent when CYO Camp’s Outdoor Environmental Education Program and Summer Camp are not in session. Miles of wooded hiking trails, a large redwood amphitheater/chapel that can accommodate up to 300 guests, and a private lake provide a tranquil environment for your special event. The Center started renovations in 1994, with completion of all new cabins, bathhouses, and upgrades in 2006.

The CYO Retreat Center property includes:

Twenty-four heated cabins house up to twelve people each and have centralized bathhouses

Bathhouses that are handicap accessible and have separate facilities for men and women, 5-6 toilets and 6+ showers in each, and many modern amenities like a radiant heating floor system, automatic lighting and fan system

A limited number of luxurious Day House apartments are available for group leaders and key attendees, offering amenities such as a full kitchen, living room, and separate bedrooms and baths

A fully equipped and staffed main kitchen, ready to prepare a wide selection of meals for up to 300 people

A spacious 6000 square foot lodge with surrounding decks, which is the centerpiece of the CYO Retreat Center

A large playing field that has a regulation size softball field with a short backstop.

A large sports court with six basketball courts and a volleyball court, a second “sand” volleyball court, and a horseshoe pit.

Two full-size, heated pools

Multiple camping and campfire sites, including two large campfire areas that each have bench seating for up to 100 people

Multiple hiking trails



  • Hiking nearby
  • Hiking trail nearby
  • Shopping nearby


  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lobby


  • Conference room
  • Free toiletries
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free Wi-Fi / computer
  • Internet access
  • Meeting room
  • Parking lot
  • Room cleaning
  • Wireless internet


Food is included in the package price. The kitchen catering staff prepares all meals on site, which are served family or buffet style, with a variety of selections including a full salad bar, soups, freshly baked breads, and vegetarian options. Coffee and tea service is available during regular kitchen hours.

Things to do (optional)

Since CYO Retreat Center is originally a logging settlement in the mid-1800’s, you can step back into history as you explore Occidental’s cozy cafes, open art studios, and unique boutiques. Experience the famous Italian family-style meals at the Union Hotel and Negri’s. Nestled in one of the premiere wine growing regions in the world where more than 150 wineries produce some 133,000 tons of grapes annually, visitors have myriad outdoor, cultural and historical adventures from which to choose. In Freestone you can get a massage or facial at Osmosis, or buy delicious artisan breads at Wild Flour Bakery. From the dramatic Sonoma coastline less than 10 miles away, the incredible redwoods of Armstrong Woods, to a stage side seat at the Celtic Music Festival or Jazz on the Russian River, there is something for everyone.

What's included

  • 3 nights accommodation
  • 9 training sessions
  • Meals
  • Optional zen and free practice sessions

What's not included

  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to site

How to get there

Driving directions from San Francisco:

Go North on Route 101 to Highway 116 in Rohnert Park.

Exit left (West) and drive 7 miles into Sebastopol. In the town the highway becomes a one-way road.

Turn left (West) at the first light (after the road is one-way) on Bodega Avenue.

Go 7 miles and turn right at the Bohehian Highway (a small green sign on the right says Freestone/Occidental).

Go 2.2 miles and the CYO Retreat Center is on the left, about 100 yards after passing the "Salmon Creek School" on the right. Be careful crossing the highway.

Note: Please drive carefully, as the Bohemian Highway is a curvy, narrow country road through redwood forest. The sign for the Center is easily missed. If you reach the town of Occidental (several miles past the Camp) you have gone too far.

Go up the hill and park at the Lodge to register.

Note: The parking is limited, so please carpool if possible!

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