Froggy Bottom Cares Fall 2021 campaign

The Cause:

Our Fall 2021 raffle is being offered in support of Shobu Aikido Vermont and Gleason Shihan.

The proceeds of this endeavor will go to support the mission and life’s work of an Aikido master (Sensei) who has dedicated his life to teaching and to bringing along teachers of the art in the furtherance of Aikido–often referred to as the Way of Harmony–a modern martial art dedicated to the practice of physical conflict resolution in a manner designed to mitigate destructive outcomes and to overcome struggle without engaging in violent intent.

The honorific for an Aikido teacher who has dedicated their life to the art–instructing and bringing up other teachers–is ‘Shihan’.

William Gleason left for Japan in 1970 and studied for ten years under the extant high-level Senseis, direct students of the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Sensei, at Ueshiba O’Sensei’s Hombu Dojo.

Gleason Shihan trained with Seigo Yamaguchi a senior student of the founder, and with Mitsugi Saotome, the last live-in student of the founder, Ueshiba Sensei. (Saotome spent more than a decade in that role).

At the age of 78, Gleason Sensei has lived a very modest lifestyle in support of the practice and regularly made personal and professional sacrifices to benefit the dojo.

With the advent of the pandemic and the very necessary restrictions on public gatherings, many dojos have suffered tremendous losses and are just now trying to get back on their feet.

Your support for this effort will help Gleason Sensei continue to deliver the high-quality instruction for which he is known, provide opportunities for students of Aikido, and extend the influence they will bring to the world through their practice of this ‘way of harmony.’

It must be said that, in addition to his mastery and direct lineage in this Aikido tradition, Gleason Sensei is also an accomplished acoustic blues guitarist.

Join us in supporting this work (BUY TICKETS) at:

More information about Gleason Sensei,  and Aikido can be found at:

Why Aikido?

With martial arts, as with so many things, the quality of the human being who is teaching is paramount.

- Michael Millard

Froggy Bottom Cares Fall Campaign is based around my lifelong commitment to traditional martial arts training.

A high school exhibition in the 1960s opened the door to my involvement with martial arts training. That day I saw various styles of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean arts demonstrated. The one that resonated most deeply with me was Aikido, but training in that art was difficult to find. In the absence of Aikido instruction, I explored other styles.

With martial arts, as with so many things, the quality of the human being who is teaching is paramount. In the 1970s, I found an excellent Tae Kwon Do instructor and began a lifelong study of that art.

In 2019, I became friends with a student who was training at Shobo Aikido Vermont under the instruction of Todd Trzaskos. (Todd is the host of this fundraiser to support the work of his Sensei, Gleason Shihan.) I visited the dojo; observed a class and joined.

The instruction–its lineage, its direct connections to the founder of the art, Ueshiba Sensei and his heirs, Saotome Sensei and Gleason Sensei–and the community gathered there all exceeded my hopes.

Having looked for quality Aikido instruction for decades–though it is bittersweet to find this rich community in my 70s–I feel extremely blessed to be working with them. My respect for the vision of Ueshiba Sensei, Aikido’s founder, and the direct heirs of his teaching who extend that vision to a new generation of students and teachers, is enormous.

This is one way an old guitar maker and his mates can say ‘thank you’ and work to keep Aikido–the way of harmony–alive and flourishing.

Please join us.

The Prize

The guitar we’ve selected for this campaign is exceptional in all ways – a Limited Grade R-14. This is our take on the L-00 Gibsons of the 1930’s, widely appreciated as one of the finest and most versatile guitars from the Golden Era of pre-World War Two acoustic instruments. While slightly smaller than OM or OOO designs, these guitars are easy to play, sonically complex, and have earned unsurpassed popularity among both finger-stylists and flat pickers for over seventy-five years. this

Flat picking ...

Finger style ...

This one is best-of-the-best: not just 5A Brazilian rosewood, but truly a set to drool over……the tightest quarter-sawn grain of the darkest chocolate color, with sweet spiderwebbed figure, something which might have graced the very finest instrument from the very best builders of the 1920s. It is paired with a Master Grade 1876 Vintage German Spruce top. All this wood comes from Michael’s “nobody-gets-near-it” personal stash. Binding and trim are of highly figured Big Leaf maple, setting off a top border of exceptionally colorful Paua abalone from New Zealand waters. 

Our Limited Grade appointments, a traditional pyramid-style ebony bridge, Glenn Carson engraved Mother-of-Pearl #3 Style fleur-de-lis position markers and Froggy logo on the headstock complete the package. 

Built for standard Light Gauge (.053-.012) strings with a 24 3/4” scale length, it features a 1 3/4” nut width and 2 5/16” string spacing on the traditional ebony pyramid-style bridge. Tuners are high-ratio (21 to 1) open back Waverly’s in nickel finish, with hand engraved buttons. 

The case is our standard TKL American Vintage Series poplar hardshell, of black exterior with dark green crushed velour lining.

For this raffle this guitar is valued at $20,000.   It will be shipped to the lucky winner of the raffle by FedEx Overnight at no charge.  Delivery is limited to the United States.

For this raffle, we will sell 1400 tickets @ $25 each or 5/$100.

We had hoped to close the raffle on or before November 15, 2021, but actual closing will be whenever 1400 tickets have been sold.  That happened on May 14, 2022.

The drawing will be held within 24 hours of the raffle closing, and I will personally contact the winner to arrange delivery.

Terms and Conditions

Michael Millard
Froggy Bottom Guitars
September, 2021