About SSA

In these stressful and increasingly uncertain times, we at Seattle School of Aikido would like to reiterate that we are a welcoming and friendly space to persons of all ethnicities, countries of origin, genders, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs. Martial arts can offer a special opportunity to really get to know other people in our community. We offer our own bodies to our training partners so that they may further their own training, and in doing so have a shared opportunity to develop trust in and empathy for others.  –Chris Moses, Board President

Seattle School of Aikido was founded in its current location by Mary Heiny in 1976.  After studying at Hombu Dojo from 1968 to 1973 with O-Sensei’s direct students and with Hikitsuchi Sensei, 10th dan, in Shingu, Heiny Sensei returned to the United States and began teaching at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

After successfully building up the Seattle school, she moved to Canada in 1986 and turned Seattle School of Aikido over to her senior students.  Several of those students, in the years around that time and after, left to start their own dojos — Pam Cooper (1985), George Ledyard (1989), Joanne Veneziano (1991) and Kimberly Richardson (1995).  Today these dojos form the core of internationally recognized Seattle Aikido.

Seattle School of Aikido incorporated in 1985 as an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational institution to further broaden its teaching opportunities.  It is managed by a volunteer board of directors who meet regularly.  The school depends on the participation of all its members to run smoothly and efficiently.  As part of one’s training, each member is expected to participate in the responsibilites of running the school, particularly as they advance in rank.

Since the early 1990s and to the present day, the school has operated as a cooperative, with instructors having a wide breadth of martial arts experience working together to develop and implement a training program for the Aikido program at Seattle School of Aikido.

In 1992, Seattle School of Aikido expanded their instructional offerings as Shinto Ryu USA joined the school under the leadership of Robby Pellett.

In 2009, Seattle School of Aikido added Icho Ryu to their training schedule under the guidance of chief instructor Neil Yamamoto.

In 2012, the adult Aikido program became formally aligned with Jan Nevelius Shihan, 6th Dan Aikikai.  Our grading exams for Shodan and higher ranks are certified by the Aikido World Headquarters, Hombu Dojo, Japan, under his supervision.