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. 

West Sensei seminar June 2021

Hello Aikidoka,

All of us at Aikido Olympia are very happy to announce that Jim West Sensei will be visiting us this week. Please see below for a schedule of this week’s classes and events. We are planning a potluck at Priest Point Park on Saturday. All classes will be held at the dojo. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thursday 17th

  • Open mat 3:30-5:00 pm
  • Beginners class 6:30-7:25pm
  • General class 7:30-8:30pm

Friday 18th

  • Open mat 3:30-5:00 pm
  • Class 6:00-6:30pm
  • Testing 630-8:00pm

Saturday 19th

  • Weapons Class 8:00-11:00am
  • Potluck at priest point 1:00- 3:00pm
  • Meditation/sitting 8:00pm

Dojo Schedule Update March 2021

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 5:30 – 6:00 AM Kata and breathing (online only)

Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 – 7:20 PM Basic Aikido

Tuesday 7:30 – 8:20 PM Focus on ukemi and movement 

Thursday 7:30 – 8:20 PM Jyo kata training

Saturday 8:00 – 9:00 AM Meditation and weapons

Starting April 4th Saturday 9:30 – 10:30 AM Teen class

Starting April 2021

Beginning April 1, 2021, Aikido Olympia will begin offering a class for people comfortable throwing each other again. The plan is to start with one class per week where we’ll return to techniques that have limited and brief contact (primarily some of the throws from movement) and work from there. Aikido Olympia continues to encourage everyone to make good decisions for themselves, their families and the community. And, Aikido Olympia will continue to follow stringent symptom screening, social distancing, masking, and personal and environmental hygiene practices to keep everyone safe.

Also starting Aril 3rd we will add a new class on Saturdays from 9:30 – 10:30 AM that will focus more on the training needs of our teenage group. This new class is tailored to 12-18 year old Aikidoka.

Classes Suspended due to COVID-19

Greetings Aikidoka,

You may have seen or heard the latest COVID-19 news from the Governor.

Beginning Monday night at midnight, several closures will take effect. These include closing gyms and fitness facilities for the next four weeks (until December 14th).

These latest restrictions require us to suspend Aikido Olympia classes for the next several weeks.

We encourage you to keep up your practice at home during this closure. Stretching,  warm-up exercises,  weapons practice, maybe even rolling (if you can find enough space).  As you go about your daily life practice being present. Relax, keep your center and extend ki. Practice using your 180-degree vision, taking up slack, and of course, keeping good Ma’ai.

The closure does not take effect until midnight tonight.  So we will be able to hold our regular Monday Zen class tonight 630-730pm. This class is open to all dojo members, even beginners. This class focuses on meditation and meditative movement, so it is easy to keep good physical distance.

If you have a weapon at the dojo or would like to check one out, this will be your best opportunity to collect them.

Stay safe and healthy.

Aikido Olympia

Aikido Olympia COVID-19 Update: November 2020

As I’m sure all of you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic continues and as we enter into the fall, we are seeing case counts rising in Thurston County. At Aikido Olympia, we are continuing to follow our stringent symptom screening, social distancing, masking, and personal and environmental hygiene practices to keep everyone safe. 

I know that everyone has a different body and we each need to do what will be most appropriate for us, just as we do in class. That said, we are holding classes regularly and are continuing to learn how we might be able to provide some ‘asynchronous learning opportunities’ through some recorded videos that might support those of you choosing to train at home for the time being.

Additionally, the Aikido Olympia Board of Directors and our dojo community are grateful for the generous support that many have provided and continue to provide through this trying experience. 

If people in Olympia or Thurston county begin spreading COVID-19 between themselves, county health officials may ask that we suspend classes for a period of time and we will communicate this to all of you if that needs to happen. For more information please see the Washington State Department of Health website at https://www.doh.wa.gov.

We are all part of the whole and, individually, we all need to do our part to help keep others safe and healthy. 

By Nate Weed

Aikido Olympia Schedule: November 2020

  • Monday 6:30 – 7:30 – Zazen – Erica
  • Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 – 6:20 – Kids’ class – Erica and Amy
  • Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 – 7:20 – Beginner’s class – Brandon
  • Tuesday 7:30 – 8:20 – Focus on ukemi and movement – Marcel
  • Thursday 7:30 – 8:20 – Jyo Kata training – Erica
  • Saturday 8:00 – 9:30 – Meditation and weapons – Nate 

Aikido Reopened to Full Schedule

We are pleased to announce that Aikido Olympia dojo will resume a nearly full schedule of classes. This positive news needs to be viewed with 180 degree or Big Vision.  See the end of this message for our schedule.  


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact individuals, families and communities across Washington State and the nation. This week alone, our state had some of the highest numbers of cases reported since the peak of the outbreak. Fortunately for us, Thurston County has seen less disease transmission than many other counties and has moved into Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start process.  

This phase allows martial arts training facilities, like our Aikido Olympia dojo to operate at 50% capacity as long as we are successfully practicing the required health protocols. Therefore, Aikido Olympia is returning to a more standard Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule to support the training rhythm for everyone interested in attending classes.  

Schedule Implementation with Your Safety in Mind 

At full capacity, our dojo can have about 24-30 people practicing safely. With COVID-19 appropriate ma’ai and following the state and county requirements to operate at 50% capacity, the dojo accommodates approximately 12-14 people (think two rows of 6-7 people each). At this point, we do not anticipate that all of you will return to class in phase 3. Therefore, we will not use a reservation system. For now, classes will be on a first come first serve basis. Just show up a little early to ensure yourself a spot on the mat and be aware there is the possibility that a class may be full. 

 If this method does not work (i.e. we are regularly turning away students because we are full) we will figure something else out. 

What will classes look like? 

In addition to optimizing dojo ma’ai and mind, body, spirit coordination through our Aikido kata, instructors will focus on awareness and Aikido movement using jo and bokken. This is a great opportunity to build fundamentals in these arts and work to better understand the foundations of Aikido, which grew out of Japanese sword, staff (jo), and spear arts.

Many of us have heard the story of Hirata Sensei’s first year of teaching in the United States where he did not have any students to train with. To keep his Aikido strong and to continue developing his ki’ai he trained with the bokken. One practice that has become rather legendary was that he would hold his bokken while standing in hanmi and breathe for 20 minutes. When he returned to Japan, his cohort of training partners were expecting his Aikido to have suffered but they all found that his ki’ai was stronger and his Aikido was better. Training in this COVID- 19 world is challenging but we have his example to follow (and we do have people to train with). 

Will we touch each other? 

Although Covid-19 is not transmitted through sweat (per the CDC), we will not touch each other at this point. We will use jo and bokken and develop our Aikido movements individually through ‘shadow’ practice. Usually jo and bokken are taught as ‘advanced techniques.’ Since O Sensei, the developer of Aikido, trained in sword, jo, and staff arts prior to Aikido, we are in essence ‘going back to the roots’ of Aikido and Budo training at this point. When appropriate we will re-integrate physical contact arts. 

Aikido Olympia, COVID-19 Health Safety Protocols 

Student responsibilities 

·         Only enter the dojo if you are healthy, and have been for the last 48 hours 

·         Everyone entering the dojo must wear a mask.  

·         Everyone entering the dojo will have their temperature taken with a no touch thermometer. 

·         Everyone entering the dojo will sanitize their hands upon entry, and throughout class as necessary. 

·         Everyone in the dojo will keep appropriate physical distance. 

Instructor responsibilities 

·         Instructors will follow all the above 

·         Ensure students are following health precautions 

·         Disinfect mats and high touch surfaces. 

Aikido Olympia, COVID-19 Health Safety Protocols 

Tuesday and Thursday:      

·        Kids class: 5:30-6:20pm

·        Adult Beginners: 6:30-7:20pm

·        Adult General: 7:30-8:20pm. 


·        Adult General: 8:00-9:20am 

Covid 19 Phase 2 Health Protection Protocols


  • All people entering the dojo must wear a cloth mask that covers your nose and mouth as per Thurston county health regulations.

Monitoring Health

  • We ask you to monitor your health at home and not come to the dojo if you have a temperature or feel ill.
  • When entering the dojo, all participants will have their temperature taken (we have a no-touch thermometer).
  • With this new challenge we ask everyone to attend to their own health and consider how they care for others.

Maintaining Health at the Dojo and for Our Practice

  • We ask everyone to use hand sanitizer upon arrival at the dojo and periodically during classes as needed. 
  • Classes will be no touch. Six-foot spacing (two mat squares) between participants will be maintained during classes. Aikido exercises and kata, Jo, bokken, ‘shadow’ techniques, slow individual Aikido movements, and Taiji will be shared.
  • Dressing rooms will be closed. Please come dressed to do Aikido.
  • Please bring your own water bottle. The water dispenser will be closed.
  • We will attempt to hold classes outdoors as much as possible depending on the weather. Classes held outside will meet at the dojo and walk to the park at Capitol Lake.

Dojo Cleaning

  • We are cleaning the dojo after each class with anti-viral solutions. Doors will be open as much as possible to provide fresh air.

Aikido Olympia Dojo reopening!

Hello Aikidoka,

We have missed you all very much and are excited to begin offering classes again. During stage 2 reopening, class size is limited to 5 students. These classes are only available to current members (no new students at this time).

We are using Eventbrite to manage registration for these classes. We have sent info on how to register for these classes to our member email list.  If you are a current member and have not been receiving email up dates from us, contact us through [email protected] or the Contact Us page and we will send you a link to register.

We look forward to being with you, training with you, and supporting you in your Aikido practice through this next phase.

National Preparedness Month and Aikido

This September is National Preparedness Month. And as I’m writing this, I ‘m heading to Texas to support the national response to Hurricane Harvey. This month focuses on planning for the small and the large disasters, with an overarching theme “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

In Budo (Martial Ways) our path is becoming more prepared in many ways- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This preparedness can be personal and focus on our selves but it is perhaps as important to look at how our individual preparedness increases the overall resilience of our whole community.

We should all take action to prepare! We may be the first first-responders in our community if a disaster occurs. And, by training how to respond during an emergency and what to do when disaster strikes — where we live, work, and train –  we can model the Budo in our community, making it healthier, safer, and more resilient when disasters happen.