Aikido of Santa Cruz

True Victory is Victory Over Oneself

Aikido of Santa Cruz
306 Mission Street,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 423-8326
fax: (831) 423-6156
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Linda Holiday Sensei

Linda Holiday Sensei, 6th degree black belt (Rokudan)
Executive Director and Chief Instructor,
Aikido of Santa Cruz

Linda Holiday, 6th dan, is the chief instructor of Aikido of Santa Cruz. For over 40 years, she has devoted herself to teaching and developing Aikido in Santa Cruz. She is a senior teacher of Aikido in the West, and the author of the book Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei.

In 1970, in the early years of Aikido in America, Linda began her study of Aikido as a first-year student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1973, she moved to Japan to receive instruction from the generation of Japanese Aikido teachers who had studied directly with the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei. She was one of the first Westerners to live in the remote Kumano area of Japan, the birthplace of O-Sensei, and undertake rigorous physical and spiritual practice there. She trained in Japan for several years, studying Aikido and Japanese language, culture, and traditional practices. Those early years of shugyo (intensive training) in Japan inspired Linda Sensei to dedicate her life to the martial art, spiritual discipline, and profound path of peace that is Aikido.

Since her return to the United States, Linda Holiday has focused on the transmission of Aikido in her native California as well as teaching seminars in the United States, Europe, and Africa. Complementing her training in Japan with academic study in the West, she received a BA in Japanese and Chinese Studies from UCSC in 1979 and a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University in 1983. She taught Aikido for six years at UCSC before leading a group of students and instructors to start a community dojo (now called Aikido of Santa Cruz) in 1982. Since that time, Linda Sensei has served as the executive director and chief instructor of ASC, a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to serving Santa Cruz and the wider community through Aikido. In 2005, Linda Sensei was awarded a 6th degree black belt from the Aikikai Foundation in Japan, through her teacher Motomichi Anno Sensei (8th dan).

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Glen Kimoto Sensei

Glen Kimoto Sensei, 6th degree black belt (Rokudan)
Senior Instructor, Aikido of Santa Cruz

"I started Aikido in 1969 with Robert Frager Sensei and Frank Doran Sensei in Santa Cruz. Delightfully, they have continued to be my teachers and my source of inspiration. Along the way I have been very fortunate to receive instruction from Stan Pranin Sensei, Jack Wada Sensei, Mary Heiny Sensei and Motomichi Anno Sensei. Anno Sensei has made many visits to the Santa Cruz Summer Retreat and has been a major influence on my aikido and my personal growth.

At the beginning of my Aikido journey, I was motivated solely by a desire to become proficient in the physical art. That attitude was an outgrowth of previous training as well as my personal mindset. Fortunately, after a few years of Aikdo, it became very clear that "true victory" was not physical. My journey along the Path continues."

Instructors for Youth Classes

Aikido for Teens: Aimen Al-Refai
Aimen Al Refai has been the chief instructor of our Teen Classes since 1996. Aimen is a highly skilled Aikidoist and an experienced teacher of young people. He first taught Aikido classes for kids at Musubi Dojo in southern California. Aimen joined us here in Santa Cruz in 1993, and has become one of our senior black belt instructors. Aimen Sensei has an engaging, humorous style of teaching, complemented by his serious focus and a wonderful 'presence', which draws young people in and leads them along the path of Aikido.


Aikido for Young People (6-9 and 9-12 yrs): Louise Alaniz
Louise Alaniz is the chief instructor of the 6-9 and 9-12 year old classes. She has been teaching in the youth programs at Aikido of Santa Cruz as well as Aikido of Los Gatos for many years. Louise brings a wonderful sense of energy, dedication, focus, and enthusiasm with her each time she steps onto the mat. And she clearly loves working with young people in Aikido! Louise says, "I am really blessed and fortunate to get to participate in the youth classes. It's like drinking from a wishing well. So many capable young hands, strong hearts, and creative minds, practicing kindness, patience, focus, and ferocious courage with each other-- they give me courage and confidence in the future of our community."


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Aikido of Santa Cruz