Aikido in Daily Life: March 2018

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.

In our lives, things can start coming at us pretty fast. Work, family commitments, illnesses and injuries, other demands. Balancing all of that is challenging and often we’re tempted to get stuck on one or more of these activities, even if it’s only temporary. When that happens, it’s typical for another of the demands to start “pressing in” on us.

Our practice is to accept that life is full of energy and full of opportunities and that we can address each of our commitments directly and completely, and then to move on to the next one. This is certainly easier said than done but practice not perfect. First, it’s all about how we frame the situation- when we look at our hand, from the back, with our fingers spread apart, we see that there are five fingers all facing us. However, if we turn our hand so the thumb is facing us, then we see a series of fingers- one, then the next, and so on. The multiple competing commitments in our lives are the same. When we focus on all of them facing us, it’s a lot. Alternatively, if we can find the right angle, then we see one thing, then one thing, and one thing, and so on. Our practice helps us better remember to remain centered, extend our energy, and approach the world with optimism.

During Kangeiko, in February, we practiced randori where multiple uke are trying to grab the nage. For a nage to be successful, they have to find a way to get the hoard of uke to line up. Once that has happened, then it’s a matter of throwing them or evading them in turn, without getting stuck on them. Finally, the nage must keep moving forward- a step backward and the energy can become oppressive.

Beyond the metaphor and training in the dojo, we have a commitment to those around us. As our family, friends, and colleagues are facing this reality, it’s also up to us to support them both by sharing the optimism and by helping them take up the slack as they would like.

By Nate Weed


In my office, I keep an old page from a calendar designed by Olympia artist, Nikki McClure. It says “Prepare” and it contains the image of children playing capture the flag and a fox in some blackberry bushes.

In the martial arts, there is an ethos around preparing. We train to become better prepared to respond to conflict, crisis, amazing opportunities, or whatever comes down our path. Preparing isn’t always what we want to do, but Aikido allows us to approach it with positivity, curiosity, and playfulness. And, like the fox, we use every day and every event to become better able to respond, or some might say- more response- able.

Periodically, we also get the opportunity to demonstrate our preparedness. There can be many ways that we demonstrate our preparedness in our lives but the way we get to demonstrate our preparedness in the dojo is in the form of a promotional demonstration. This month, Aikido Olympia will be hosting promotional demonstrations for those members of our community who feel they are ready to show us that they have expanded their practice and are ready for additional “responsibility.”

Promotional demonstrations or “Testing”, will be on March 15th. We typically begin with a short whole dojo class (kids, adults, beginners, and instructors) at 5:30. After the class, we begin the demonstrations with our young people going first and ascending in rank, followed by adults with the same strategy. We encourage everyone to attend so they can be part of this experience and contribute their energy to the event. Family and friends are also welcome. Typically, we finish the evening with a “snack-luck” so that everyone can spend time together and unwind after they’ve demonstrated how much they’ve prepared.

By Nate Weed

Local article about Aikido Olympia

For those of you living in the Olympia area, you’re likely familiar with

Recently Holly Reed published a wonderful article about Aikido Olympia which several people have commented, really captures what our dojo is about.

Good reading at the following link:

Finding the Center: Aikido Olympia Designated a Non-Profit

Be Well,

Nate Weed

P.S. Thank you Holly for writing this great article!

Aikido in Daily Life: February 2018

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.

Fear of falling, fear of getting hurt, fear of dying, fear of failing?

In our lives we all face fears. In some cases these fears create resistance for us t truly find our potential and experience life at it’s fullest. Understandably, fear (or perhaps the desire to confront fear) is what draws many people to the martial arts. And, chipping away at our fears is certainly an implicit outcome of practicing a “Do” or martial way.

Most of us come to adult life having developed a set of fears (some are probably rational and some not so much) and an ego that finds ways to use our fears to keep us safe but also hold us back. Additionally, our fears are often layered like an onion. We have a fear of falling perhaps. Within that fear there might be other fears like the fear of getting hurt, the fear of dying, or maybe the fear of failing or of being embarrassed. Finally, these fears can be hidden with self delusion and justification where they become subtle mental friction that make us pause, lose our centers, present our openings, and lose opportunities when otherwise we might have achieved something great.

Practicing Aikido, is designed to help us first, become better aware of our fears, then to help us process these fears as we work to overcome those fears, and finally to live our lives with a “warrior spirit“. At Aikido Olympia, we all work together to support each other as we travel this path. And to truly support each other, our practice must be sincere in order to unravel the layers of fear and ego that keep us from our full potential and keep us from living fully.

By Nate Weed


It’s the time of year when Aikido Olympia practices Kangeiko. Kangeiko literally means “cold training” and each year we try to pick a time when early morning temperatures are about as low as they get in the Olympia area. Last year, there were two weeks where temperatures were in the 20’s, the first week of January and the second week of February. Since we already do water misogi the first week in January, we chose to host Kangeiko in the second week of February with hopes of cold weather.

But what is Kangieiko you ask?

In almost every martial arts tradition, there is an emphasis on austere training to develop grit, spirit, hara, or kokoro (as in the calligraphy we hang on the front wall of the dojo). The goal is pretty simple, to test ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually so that we can become more self-aware, learn where we need to develop further, and to build confidence in our ability to thrive in adversity. For our practice, Kangeiko provides the opportunity to wake up earlier than some of us think is normal, to accept the world around us even if its cold and rainy, to remain undistracted by the feeling of our bare feet on the freezing cold mats, and to intentionally practice vigorously.

From kangeiko, we elevate our own practices, nourish the kiai of our dojo, and hopefully develop greater perspective- “If I can participate in kangeiko and enjoy it, then what else am I capable of doing?”

Aikido in Daily Life: January 2018

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.

2018 has arrived!

For many, the New Year is a celebration of what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve learned, what we’ve endured, and what we’ve experienced. For others this is the time for setting new goals, looking to new opportunities, and an look to the coming year with hope. In the practice of Aikido, we certainly reflect and learn, we also open our hearts to new opportunities, and we set our minds and hara’s on positive thoughts and deeds. We also practice our art in our lives and work to maintain our centers and our presence. And, from that strength we enter with our full intention and commitment. The martial aspects of our practice help us to appreciate the value of action and appreciate the grit that we develop from repeatedly pushing beyond our comfort zone. The discipline of Aikido also helps us learn to “take up the slack” and apply a gentle and harmonious energy as we move along our journey.

So, let’s all work to use our training to “enter” into 2018 with presence and intention!

Aikido for Elders Coming Soon to Olympia

With Aikido Olympia’s new commitment to greater community partnerships, we are beginning to work with area parks departments and the Olympia Senior Center to explore how we might be able to mutually support one another. One path that is starting to form is an opportunity to offer classes for elders, initially at the Olympia Senior Center, beginning as one of the spring offerings. Since Aikido teaches self-awareness and respect, both for oneself and for others with whom one is privileged to practice, one can begin practice at any age beyond six or seven, and with any range of physical abilities, even if one currently is more comfortable sitting than walking. Tim Sensei and I have been exploring this in our teaching and practice over the past year and are excited to create space for this in our community.

By Chuck Pailthorp

Aikido Olympia Non-Profit Status Update

Throughout 2017 (and maybe a little of 2016), several members of our dojo have been working on officially establishing Aikido Olympia as a non-profit organization. Aikido Olympia has operated for many years as a 100% volunteer organization where dues and donations go toward mats, rent, utilities, and the occasional new fan, but we weren’t actually incorporated as a non-profit organization.

Well, we recently received our letter from the State of Washington recognizing our organization in this new status. This change in our organizational status won’t change the fact that we are a member supported, volunteer organization but we hope that it will help open up new relationships and opportunities.

2018 Aikido Olympia Class Schedule Changes

Coming in 2018, we are implementing some changes to our weekly class schedule:

Some of you may recall filling out a survey where you were asked about your preferences for class times. The dojo leadership used that information to create a new schedule for 2018 that should benefit both students and the instructors.

Changed: Youth classes to Tuesday/Thursday beginning at 5:30 instead of 5:00
Added: Adult general class on Tuesday/Thursday following youth class. Class begins at 6:30.
Removed: Classes at 5:30 AM on Tuesday/Thursday and no regularly scheduled classes on Friday.

We will begin this new schedule on January 3rd, 2018.



Aikido in Daily Life: December 2017

We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.

In the practice of most martial disciplines, practitioners work to develop the ability to absorb information from our environment more effectively. In our Aikido training we frequently talk about using “Martial Vision” or 360 degree vision. This takes a lot of work to develop but ultimately this skill begins to grow. Usually, this process starts with actual vision – the seeing with your eyes part. As this skill grows, other senses start to become included, we begin to hear, smell, feel, and maybe eventually even taste more of our environment. This provides more opportunities to appreciate our natural world, our friends, our families, and the other things that mean a great deal to us.

As we enter a season of holidays focused on family, friends, food, light, and peace, it’s a great time to turn our martial vision toward these things and be present with them. Take some time to care for ourselves and be the people we want to be all year long.