Why Train at Aikido Seattle?
Maybe you have practiced martial arts before – perhaps you have even done aikido. But maybe this is the first time you have thought about any martial art. So, the question is, why would you want to come train with us?
As we prepared to re-design our website, we sat down with our students and talked about the features that they thought made our dojo distinctive – and what had brought them to us in the first place.
Training at every age/ for every body
Our students range in age from 16-66, a full three generations. This leads to a feeling that we are one big family, and our students mention how much they enjoy being part of an aikido family.
We also invite every body into our community. We welcome beginners as well as people who have previous martial arts experience. We believe that every body can learn how to become more flexible and to move more freely.
Having fun and learning how to focus
The most common experience our students talked about was how much fun they had when training. People feel a sense of connection to each other and experience a sense of camaraderie. They almost always have big smiles on their faces as soon as they come into the dojo.
At the same time, our students all talked about how much they have learned to focus since beginning their training at Aikido Seattle.
How we practice
One of the major features that distinguish one dojo from another is the style that is practiced. Some dojos emphasize the “martial” aspect of aikido, focusing on the self-defense aspect of aikido. Other dojos, such as Aikido Seattle, emphasize the “health and vitality” aspect of aikido, focusing on how doing aikido will increase one’s sense of well-being. While we try and keep our practice grounded in the real-life nature of attacks and self-defense, we also strive to increase our student’s flexibility, both physically and mentally.
Ukemi (the art of falling) is practiced with an emphasis on the connection (musubi) between the attacker (the uke) and the defender (the nage). Our approach encourages students to tumble (roll) in a manner that enhances energy flow and vitality.
The most perfect actions echo the patterns found in nature.
A few years ago, I went to visit an old friend in Japan, in Kuroiso-shi, not far from Tokyo by the Shinkansen. My friend Jago-san lives in the country, in nature, and he makes pottery, traditional natural glaze earthenware. He used to travel away to sell his pottery, but then he had the idea to build a gallery right there, next door to his house. Soon people came to see him, in his gallery, where they too could be in nature, enjoying his pottery.
It occurred to me that if I built a dojo in the country, with a bathhouse nearby to soak away our aches and pains and woes, that people would come out to see us - and spend time in that nature - and to train in aikido!
....and so Aikido on Willapa Bay was born.
Located on 6 acres of dense woodland, Aikido on Willapa Bay is on the Long Beach Peninsula near the mouth of the Columbia River. The peninsula is a renowned wildlife sanctuary, and features the worlds longest stretch of sandy beach.
In the spring of 2005 we were able to bring Seishiro-Endo Shihan to Seattle for a week-end seminar. This was his first visit to the USA, though he has been teaching seminars in Europe for many years. Endo Sensei is an 8th Dan Shihan at Hombu Dojo, teaching there and at his own dojo in the city of Saku in Nagano Prefecture. Over 100 students, ranking from beginner up to high Dan ranks, students and Senseis alike, attended the seminar. Almost the entire floor space of a full sized basketball court was covered in mats of various descriptions (and all taped together!). People attended from as far away as Finland, Germany Atlanta, Orlando, Western and Eastern Canada, California, Oregon, Colorado, and more. (see link to Saku Dojo for a complete summary.)