Aikido Olympia Schedule

Monday 7:00 PM – Zazen (Seated Meditation)

Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 – 6:20 – Kids Class

Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 – 7:20 – Beginner’s Class 

Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 – 8:30 – Adult General Class

Saturday 7:30-8:15 AM – Bell Misogi

Saturday 8:30- 9:20 – General Class with Weapons Focus

Saturday 9:30 – 10:20 – Teenager Class (tailored to 12-18 year old Aikidoka)

Aikido in Daily Life

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

Aikido is a budo, a martial practice that focuses more on how to apply the learning to our everyday lives than simply learn a set of techniques. This focus requires practice both within the dojo and beyond the dojo and for most (if not all) of us, this can lead to many questions about the nature of practicing Aikido. How do I get this technique to work in the dojo? How does learning these technique translate to practice outside the dojo? And so on… These are good questions and certainly worth contemplating and, over time, like the drops of rain dripping into a muddy pool, things become more clear. We begin to experience practice as a way of life and for Aikido practitioners a way of working toward being in harmony with the energy of the universe.

In the dojo, a goal of much of our Aikido training is to break down the barriers between our mind and body that have developed over our lives. We also learn resilience in the dojo as we take ukemi increasingly better as we progress. Then, as we begin to live more fully integrated and with greater resilience, we can then begin to intentionally polish our habits, disciplines, and behaviors. Although this process certainly starts in the dojo where we can rely on our training partners to give us feedback and support us, much of the polishing is done outside the dojo where we are experiencing life, interacting with others, becoming more aware of our impact on other people and the broader world around us, and ultimately striving to be more effective as human beings. The practice of Aikido is focused on living our lives more fully and with greater connectedness and confidence. 

Summer Vacations and Aikido

It is summer time in Olympia and many of us have had the opportunity to get out of town and spend time with friends and family on the road, in the woods, or other spots across the globe. This has had a couple of impacts. First, we’ve had a little extra mat space over the past couple of months, and we’ve been a bit creative with the instructor calendar in the dojo. However, Aikido is not just what happens in the dojo and vacations provide many of us an opportunity to see how our practice works when we’re navigating different cultures, spending extra time with our families, or navigating a new terrain. It is an opportunity to see how well we can keep our awareness, maintain our centers, or come back to our centers when we’ve lost them just a little bit. I hope you all get the chance to rest, recharge, and reflect a bit on how this practice can make you a better vacationer. 

West Sensei Awarded 7th Dan

Following our seminar and promotional demonstrations this spring, Maruyama Sensei awarded Jim West 7th Dan in Aikido Yuishinkai. This reflects West Sensei’s more than 40 years of practice and teaching Aikido and his leadership in Aikido Yuishinkai. We are proud of his accomplishment and are grateful for his ongoing mentorship and guidance. 

As background on 7th Dan, this is a high level rank in any martial art and obviously reflects decades of dedicated practice. This level of Dan rank in many traditional Japanese martial arts indicates that the person holding the rank is fully qualified to teach the deeper philosophical aspects of the martial art. In more modern times, this rank signifies that the person has taken on responsibility for training others and leading organizations over a lifetime of practice. For all of us who have had the honor of training under West Sensei, this is exactly what he has offered to us and to Aikido Olympia. 

Upcoming Testing and Seminar

Jim West Sensei is planning on coming to Olympia May 9th through May 14th. During this time, he’s planning to teach a couple of classes, help conduct some promotional demonstrations, and lead a seminar. We’re also planning a bit of social time to get together and connect. 

Tuesday, May 10th West Sensei will teach classes as normally scheduled

Thursday, May 12th, we will hold promotional demonstrations for color belt ranks beginning at 5:30 (we may have a couple of people testing for blackbelt ranks doing some demonstrations as well)

Friday May 13th, those testing for Yudansha (blackbelt) ranks will perform their promotional demonstrations beginning at 5:30. These demonstrations are a little long and we have several people testing so we’ve decided to split the demonstrations up just a little bit. 

Saturday May 14th, we’ll have bell misogi at 7:30 and then host a seminar from 9:00 – 11:30. Following that, we’re working on a location for a potluck/barbecue for everyone to get together. 

By Nate Weed

Aikido in Daily Life – April 2022

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

Reflecting on the plan to begin Misogi this month, Aikido practice when approached with seriousness and intention is a form of misogi. At the core, misogi is about doing something hard, that requires commitment, and may well lead to failure in order for us to further develop as human beings. 

Each time we step onto the mats and commit to a technique with our minds and bodies unified, we have a single opportunity to learn something about ourselves. Each and every shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, or other attack will result in a unique event in which the energy we’re committing is transformed into something bigger, something connected beyond our local selves. In this transformation we gather insights (if we’re paying attention) about our own fears, biases, and areas for further progress. Sometimes this learning is subtle and other times it can be rather profound but the opportunity is precious and with repeated moments we have a valuable process for improving ourselves. 

By Nate Weed

Bell Misogi Returns to Saturday Mornings

Throughout the pandemic, Aikido Olympia has suspended our Saturday morning practice of bell misogi. Starting on April 2nd, we will resume our bell misogi practice every Saturday morning from 7:30 to 8:15. This will mean that we’ll also be adjusting our regular Saturday morning schedule and beginning the general Aikido class at 8:30.

For those not familiar with misogi, it is a side practice that goes along with Aikido. There are many ways to practice misogi (immersing ones self in cold water, doing 1000 bokken cuts, and our approach which included vigorously ringing a bell and chanting while seated). Bell misogi (Soku Shin no Gyo)  is a practice that originated in an intense school of kenjutsu founded by Yamaoka Tesshu and has been carried into the 21st century by his students. 

The purpose of misogi is to help unify the mind and the body while forging the spirit. If you’re interested (or have been waiting patiently for the return of this practice), we look forward to seeing you on Saturday mornings.

By Nate Weed

Aikido Olympia COVID-19 Update

Given the low levels of COVID-19 transmission in Thurston County and the ending of mask requirements in our community, Aikido Olympia is making masking optional beginning on April 1st for all classes. Because of the nature of our practices, we still encourage masking and ask that anyone who is feeling even a little ill, not participate in class. As always, we encourage good hand hygiene and appropriate respiratory etiquette regardless of circulating respiratory diseases.  

By Nate Weed

Aikido Olympia Schedule – November 2021 through December 2021

Monday 7:00 PM Zazen (Seated Meditation)

Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 – 6:20 – Kids Class

Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 – 7:30 – Beginner’s Class 

Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 – 8:30 – Adult General Class

Saturday 8:00 – 9:30 – Meditation and General Class

Saturday 9:30 – 10:30- Teenager Class *NEW class tailored to 12-18 year old Aikidoka

Note: Brandon and Nate are facilitating several open mat times – announced at the dojo.

Reminders – No class on Thanksgiving

Dojo COVID-19 Update

The COVID pandemic is slowly becoming something we’re all learning to live with. This is a challenge for martial art’s training as we share physical contact with one another. That said, Aikido Olympia continues to implement our safety protocols with masking, hand washing, getting vaccinated, and encouraging people to stay home and get tested even if they are feeling a little bit “off”. These behaviors have served our dojo community well for the past 21 months, and we have confidence that they will help keep our training environment safe for the foreseeable future. 

By Nate Weed