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
7th dan, Shihan; Chief Instructor and Executive Director, Aikido of Santa Cruz


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 the local, national, and international community through Aikido, an art of peace and "building the world family". In 2020, Linda Sensei was honored to receive a 7th degree black belt from the Aikikai Foundation in Japan, awarded by Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu, the grandson of Aikido's founder.

While Linda Sensei was training in Kumano, Japan, in the 1970s, she was especially inspired by Motomichi Anno Sensei (8th dan) and began a lifelong connection as his student and interpreter. She has brought him to the United States many times to teach. In her 2013 book, Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei, Linda Sensei provides extensive translations of his wise and compassionate teachings, Aikido history, and a memoir of her experiences training in Japan. The book speaks to beginning students, experienced teachers of Aikido, and practitioners of other disciplines. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh writes: “This book is a treasure of wisdom from the heart of a true peacemaker.” For more information:

Linda Sensei has studied with numerous Aikido teachers since the beginning of her Aikido training in 1970. There was never just “one way” to do Aikido. Learning from instructors who maintained an attitude of collaboration and mutual respect with others has influenced Linda Sensei's own approach to teaching and her style of leadership. She has profound gratitude for her first Senseis in Santa Cruz, Robert Frager (7th dan, Western Aikido Association) and Frank Doran (8th dan, California Aikido Association), who were soon joined by Stanley Pranin Sensei (founder and editor of Aikido Journal). Linda Sensei has been deeply influenced by her teachers in Kumano, Japan: Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei (10th dan, Kumano Juku Dojo), Motomichi Anno Sensei (8th dan, Kishu Kumano Aikikai), Motoichi Yanase Sensei (7th dan), and Yasushi Tojima Sensei (6th dan). Training at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo as well, she was fortunate to practice under Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei (2nd Doshu), as well as Senseis Kisaburo Osawa, Koichi Tohei, Seigo Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Tada, Morihiro Saito, Mitsugi Saotome, and more recently, the 3rd Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba. In the US, she has studied with O-Sensei’s American uchi deshi Terry Dobson Sensei, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei (8th dan), Hiroshi Kato Sensei (8th dan); and she has long appreciated the inspiration of Mary Heiny Sensei (7th dan).

Linda Holiday Sensei is a member of the California Aikido Association, Division Two. Teaching in Santa Cruz, nationally, and internationally, she leads classes and co-teaches Aikido events that draw together teachers and students from a wide variety of affiliations. Linda Sensei is profoundly inspired by the founder of Aikido, and shares this in her teaching and writing. “Understand Aikido first as budo and then as a way of service to construct the World Family.” (O-Sensei)


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