Kangeiko

Due to weather conditions that will make it difficult if not impossible to get to downtown Olympia on Monday, February 11th, at 5:30 in the morning, Aikido Olympia is postponing Kangeiko until the week of February 18th.

Kangeiko is “cold weather training”. At Aikido Olympia, this is an annual event that provides the opportunity to wake up earlier than some of us think is normal, to accept the world around us even if it’s cold and rainy, to remain undistracted by the feeling of our bare feet on the freezing cold mats, and to practice vigorously before we begin our day. Kangeiko elevates our own practices, nourishes the kiai of our dojo, and hopefully helps us develop greater perspective- “If I can participate in Kangeiko and enjoy it, then what else am I capable of doing?” Kangeiko will be held Monday, February 18th through Friday, February 22nd, we will meet at the dojo from 5:30 to 6:15 in the morning for these classes. 

By Nate Weed

The three sisters

To go along with Aikido in daily life: February 2019, I want to share this short aikido simile. I’m not sure who originally wrote this but want to share…

“Jujitsu, Judo, and Aikido are like three sisters. Jujitsu is the oldest sister. She has a temper and likes to fight. She is only interested in winning, has fought many times, and knows what techniques are effective. Since she will fight anyone, she must have excellent technique to secure victory. And, if you had to be in a fight, you would want her standing next to you. Judo is the middle sister. She is more interested in fun and competition, not actual combat. She is excited by the glory of competition. But she can and will fight if pushed. Years of training and competition has made her tough. And remember, she grew up with big sister who taught her a few tricks. Aikido is the youngest sister. Although she is familiar with war and competition, she has little use for it and almost always finds a peaceful solution. She is also the most beautiful of her sisters and people feel good just being in her presence. But she is not incapable of defense. She can manage quite well on her terms, and she is very tricky. Even still, one should be aware that even if she fails, she still has two older sisters who watch over her. “

Author not known

Aikido in Daily Life: February 2019

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

Aikido or Aikijujutsu? Our practice at Aikido Olympia revolves around an idea that Aikido is “A way of being in harmony with the energy of the universe”. On the surface, that sounds like we are applying harmony in a martial way. However, there’s an important nuance when we say “a way of being”. Our art is about how we, as individuals, interact with everything around us. To put a finer point on this, our practice is about how we behave differently and lead our lives better, not about how we make others behave. 

Considering the martial arts world, there are ways we can organize practices. In our specific martial lineage of Aiki – “being in harmony”, there are basically two main approaches. One is the “Do”- the way, and the others are “jutsu” – the arts or techniques. What is not always apparent to students of these marital arts is that in Aikido, our techniques and training are designed to change ourselves. Alternatively, in Aikijujutsu the techniques and training are designed to help the practitioner more efficiently affect another person’s behavior. Both use similar principles and even look similar, but intent differs.

In the martial arts world, some contend that practicing martial arts is only valuable if it focuses on building one’s ability to dominate others. Others take a perspective that martial arts are primarily for self-improvement. Our contention is that these practices all coexist, and that people should do what they believe will help them be the best person they can be. Personally, I don’t have a lifestyle that brings a lot of violence my direction. However, I have a high-stakes career that requires me to embody integrity, humility, relaxation, centeredness, and intent while facing a continuous stream of demands, challenges, struggles, (sometimes law suits) and opportunities. So, for me, training diligently in Aikido adds substantial value and as we all develop together, I hope we can continue to help each other find the way through our practice and become even better versions of ourselves.

By Nate Weed

Aikido Olympia Schedule Change Coming

Aikido Olympia intends to change our regular schedule beginning on April 1st, 2019. In reviewing class attendance, instructor availability, and community classes, it seems that moving to a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday class schedule would help us provide the best training and increase the kiai of our dojo. Youth Aikido would remain from 5:30-6:30 on Tuesday’s and Thursdays. We are moving the adult basic time to 6:30-7:30.  Following that on Tuesday, we would hold a general class from 7:30 – 8:10 pm then zazen, and on Thursday’s have an hour long general class from 7:30-8:30. Our Saturday morning schedule will remain the same. With this, some instructors will be able to do some topic specific classes on other nights as interest dictates. Thank you for your understanding. All feedback is welcome. 

By Nate Weed

Aikido in Daily Life: January 2019

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

Family and friends are important to all of us. They connect us together into a social fabric and provide love and understanding. They can also provide some insightful opportunities to practice. For many people, it’s those who we care the most about who are also able to drive us the most nuts. Coming off of the holiday season, I’m sure that many of us have some perspectives on this. That said, Aikido is an art distinguished by its philosophy of extending positive energy, opening our hearts to those who challenge us, and protecting all involved as we are all one. Now, I’m not saying that you should apply yonkyo to those you care about whenever the inevitable interpersonal friction begins warming up. However, living the Aikido philosophy should provide a pretty good recipe for skillfully negotiating a political discussion with one’s mother-in-law, playfully convincing the teenage nephew to help do some dishes, getting the seven-year-olds to put on their coats and get ready to go without raising your voice, and having a centered and thoughtful New Year’s financial discussion with your spouse. These are all opportunities for us to practice applying the more philosophical components of Aikido in our daily lives. Even more importantly, these are opportunities to practice recognizing that these are opportunities!

Who knows, maybe next year, some of us will even be ready to respectfully inquire more deeply into our sibling’s innovative thoughts on parenting or our dad’s ideas on proper auto maintenance.

By Nate Weed

Misogi

 Misogi is the Shinto custom of removing the impurities that build up within each of us. In Aikido training, sensei from the earlier years of this practice would often comment on the quality of a student’s ki. A clear honey colored ki that was rich in effervescence was healthy while a ki that resembled oil from the refuse bin at the Jiffy-Lube was not. Related to this was the concept that through the practice of Aikido, a student’s ki could be cleansed with hard work and a lot of ukemi. In addition to the routine practices of funekogi kata and tekubishindo kata (both forms of misogi), many who trained in Aikido added additional training in misogi. External misogi to purify one’s self with  cold water is perhaps one of the most archetypical forms of this practice. In fact the “Black Belt” card in the popular Pokemon trading card game depicts a young person in a gi and black belt meditating under a waterfall. There are also more internal forms of misogi. At Aikido Olympia we practice bell misogi every Saturday morning. In this form of misogi, a simple but vigorous physical activity (sitting and ringing a bell) is paired with repetitive chanting that resembles a kiai. Either way, the goal is to return a person to a state of being in which they can better sense their own awareness and connectedness. 

Regardless of whether you choose to enter the frozen water on January 1st or sit with a bell on Saturday mornings, much of what Aikido is about is to help us learn to clean up our own baggage and expand our awareness to those things bigger than ourselves. O Sensei has been quoted over the years with saying something to the effect of Aikido is Misogi. He also gave this advice: 

“Daily training in Aikido allows your inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter. Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Keep the mind bright and clear as the endless sky, the deepest ocean, and the highest mountain. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on Aikido, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions. Aikido never restrains, restricts, or shackles anything. It embraces all and purifies everything.” 

As we begin 2019, I hope that Aikido Olympia collectively enters the new year with this sense of clarity and openness.

By Nate Weed

2019 Fee Changes

As a reminder, Aikido Olympia will be increasing our fees in January 2019. Our Dojo remains 100% volunteer and non-profit, but we still have to pay our rent, electric, water, and for some ongoing maintenance. 


Monthly Annual Dojo     Maintenance Drop In 
Adults $90 $60 $20 per visit
Students and
youth
$80 $40 $20 per visit
Senior Center/
Parks & Rec.       Evergreen
As described in    flyerNone – though   donations are   welcome N/A

*To continue supporting families who participate in our dojo, we’re simplifying things and taking $15 off for each additional family member.  

Aikido in Daily Life: December 2018

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

At the  end of the year we reflect on the previous year and on our practice. There are many ways that we can all do this.  For some it will be quietly considering what we have appreciated and what we hope to continue in the coming year.  Others will take some time to evaluate the year and make plans about how they’ll conduct their life in 2019. Regardless, as cycles come to an end, it is human nature to contemplate how we are affected or how we have made an impact on the events in which we were involved. For Aikidoka, we should recognize that the natural cycles of the year are greater than ourselves and, although we may play a role, it’s most important that we are present and alive as we move along our path. From a certain perspective this is applying the S.O.F.A. approach, that we discuss in class, to life more broadly – Show up, Observe, Focus, and Accept the outcomes. 

Approaching life from this perspective doesn’t require a plan or a strategy. Instead it requires a quiet confidence in our own resilience and a willingness to open our hearts and minds to whatever comes next. These characteristics emerge as we become more disciplined and expand our awareness to new levels. Moreover, they are the very things we develop and hone through our Aikido practice.

We have enjoyed another wonderful year practicing together, and may we continue this journey together in 2019!

By Nate Weed

Kokoro

The kanji that hangs on the shomen at Akido Olympia is Kokoro. Kokoro means heart! but not just the internal organ of a heart (though it can mean that too, and if you look at it, it looks like a heart but usually when used this way the kanji is called “shin”).  Native Japanese speakers tell us that kokoro is well understood in Japanese, but that it’s very difficult to translate in English. As Aikidoka we have a bit of an advantage in understanding this because it aligns with our concept of integrating mind, body, and spirit (which we learn are not different things) as whole human beings. 

As we move into the holiday season, we hear a lot about opening our hearts, giving of ourselves, and love. These are aspects of kokoro and aspects of Aikido that should apply at all times, but we can certainly use this time of year, and the many opportunities it brings, to learn more about how we have integrated our mind, body, and spirit as we spend time in our community and with our families. 

By Nate Weed

Holiday Schedules

    • Basic Adult Aikido: Monday and Wednesday from 6:00 – 6:55 PM
    • General Adult Aikido: Monday and Wednesday beginning at 7:00 PM and Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 6:30 PM
    • Zazen Meditation: Monday from 7:50 – 8:40 PM 
    • Youth Aikido: Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 – 6:25 PM
    • Bell Misogi: Saturday 7:00 – 8:00 AM
    • Instructor’s Class: Saturday 8:00 – 9:00 AM
    • Introduction to Aikido: Saturday November 17th from 10:00 – Noon
    • No class November 22nd – 24th for the Thanksgiving Holiday
    • Winter Breath Training: December 3rd – 7th every morning 5:30AM to 6:15AM.
    • Promotional Demonstrations: Friday December 14th, 5:30 – when we’re done (and a “snack-luck” to follow)
    • Annual Dojo clean up event: All are encouraged to participate… Saturday December 15th 9:00 – when we’re finished
    • Winter Break: December 15th – 31st
    • New Year’s Water Misogi: January 1st… Meet at the Dojo at 7:00AM
    • First class of 2019: January 2nd