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Miles Kessler

41 years old, Iwama style/ Aikikai 4th dan

Where were you born?
Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

Where do you live today?
I'm currently residing in Israel. What is your current occupation? Aikido teacher.

What is your education?

  • Traditional American public education through high school.
  • 1 year Iwama uchi deshi apprenticeship under the supervision of the late Morihiro Saito sensei and Hitohiro Saito sensei ('89/ '90).
  • 7 years of daily training as Iwama dojo soto deshi w/ the late Morihiro Saito Sensei and Hitohiro Saito Sensei ('90~'97).
  • Japanese language and cultural studies, including Tea ceremony and Kyudo.
  • A Cumulative total of three years of monastic life on intensive meditation retreats under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pandita in Burma, and Sayadaw U Vivikananda in Nepal.

When and where did you first start Aikido?
I first began Aikido in 1985, in Dallas, Texas, at "South-Western Aikido" (Seidokan style).

Who was your first Aikido teacher?
The late Bill Sosa Sensei

Who would you say are your main influences in Aikido? What do you feel these people have especially passed on to you?

  • The late Bill Sosa Sensei; An appreciation of his maturity as a Human Being, his tremendous personal power, and his courage and integrity as a living example of what he taught.
  • The late Morihiro Saito Sensei; An appreciation of his clear and precise technical mastery, his logical and progressive understanding of Aikido didactic, the need to consistently and seriously "put in your time"of intensive training in an appropriate environment, his beautiful way of being, and the great value of close association with remarkable people whom embody the very qualities of ones own search.
  • Hitohiro Saito Sensei; An appreciation for his high level of technical skill, his mastery of Taijitsu and Bukiwaza , his powerful expression of applied principles, and that the criteria for a persons maturity in Aikido is to be determined in their ability, not by rank and time.
  • Peter Ralston (founder of "Cheng Hisn"); he showed me the "keys" that unlock the doors to the inner realms of principles. Providing the tools for the development of ability and opening up worlds that are rich, profound, limitless and fulfilling.

What is the name of your current dojo?
I currently have no dojo.

What qualities do you find important in an Aikido teacher?
An important quality to posses as a teacher, any teacher, is the ability to continuously stay open and question the known. This necessarily involves taking risks, having an open attitude towards change, accepting the fact that what we know is nothing compared to what we don't know, being open to making mistakes and holding an understanding that mistakes offer a great potential for learning. Continuous exploration and learning promotes growth in the art as well as maturation of the Human Being.

Further qualities of an Aikido teacher are having a satisfactory level of technical skill, being proficient in theory and having a practical understanding of the inner principles of the art. These are all elements to be gained through intensive training with an appropriate guide. Finally, having the skills to facilitate these aspects and in turn guide others in their development is essential. To do this effectively it is necessary for a teacher to be able to "see" a student and understand where they are at in their development. Not just technical development, but intellectual, emotional and spiritual development as well.

Then from such an understanding give appropriate guidance that is relative to the students level while maintaining a deeper and broader perspective of the art.

Can you pin point a few important moments in your history in Aikido? Perhaps moments you feel contributed to you taking a new direction in Aikido or of some other importance.

  • Making the move to Japan to undertake one year of uchi deshi training with Saito Sensei at the Iwama dojo. The benefits gained during this period of total emersion were great and continue to bear fruit to this day.
  • The 7 year period spent as soto deshi in Iwama was an important part in the process of development. A process which involved continued development of Aikido skills, a broader understanding of Japan and Aikido's cultural context, a gradual "de-programming" after my year as uchi deshi, and an opportunity to view from the outside some of the dysfunctional and unhealthy aspects of my relationship to uchi deshi life. It gave me the perspective to distinguish between the aspects of the dojo that were truly valuable and beneficial, and those aspects which were merely self limiting and destructive.
  • Leaving Japan. A sense of completion of a long term commitment and beginning a new phase of life.
  • Going to Burma to practice Buddhist meditation and subsequently meeting Sayadaw U Pandita. Undertaking the training of the mind and learning the skills and practices necessary for overcoming the negative tendencies of the ego. Facing and practicing with conflict at its very source, the mind.
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Miles kessler

I was given the opportunity to train with Mr. Kessler for 3 days at a seminar in the Netherlands. I just want to comment he is an excellent teacher who inspires everyone.

2004-12-01 15:56:13 Jeroen

Contact Information

I am from Israel and looking for Iwama style teacher, is there a way I could contact Kessler Miles?


2004-08-17 08:37:09 Ido Samuelson

Seminar shortly in Gothenburg

A good tip is to look for the Kessler seminar coming up in Gothenburg in September! Look in the Aikido planner!

2004-06-03 14:27:43 Mats Alexandersson

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