It’s with great sadness that I must announce the passing of Ryuzen Robert (Robby) Pellett. I met Robby in 1999 when I was given his name as a possible sword teacher. I spoke with him briefly on the phone and then went to observe a class the next Saturday. I joined immediately. Robby was one of the kindest people I have ever met. Immediately after describing the intimacy of combat he would pause class to help shepherd a crane fly off the mat before it was accidentally stepped on. Robby’s training history was incredible, studying aikido intensely with Hiroshi Ikeda before his move to Japan where he trained directly under Mochizuki Minoru sensei at the Yoseikan hombu dojo. Years later, in Seattle, when asked to do a demonstration of Yoseikan’s sutemi-waza (sacrifice throws) at a Japanese sword tournament on hardwood floors, he was able to adjust each throw so that he took the majority of the initial impact and was able to place me gently onto the ground next to him. “Trust me and I’ll put you down safely,” he said. While in Japan, in addition to his study of zen and aikido, he studied kyudo, atarashi naginata, chado, ikebana and Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu, coming home with Yudansha (black belt) ranks in each. I was lucky enough to travel to Japan with him several times to begin a relationship with his Shinto Ryu teacher Mochizuki Takashi and saw him slide effortlessly back into the role of humble student rather than teacher.
Anyone who knew Robby knows that he struggled for many years with health issues. We all went through the pain of his kidneys slowly failing and the long wait for a donor. But watching him reawaken from that experience was seeing him at his most joyful. He was literally full of life and lust and embraced the gift of existence as only someone who nearly lost it could. I remember him coming to class one morning with his new girlfriend and quietly, blushing, asking me to throw him around the dojo. In that moment he wasn’t a sword teacher, or a mental health worker, or a zen priest, he was a boy trying to impress a girl. We put on a show and they left early with a twinkle in their eyes.
Robby was special and unique and I’m so glad to have known him.
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu will be demonstrating again at this year’s Eastside Matsuri Festival! We will be demonstrating at 4:00 PM on Sunday September 7th. For more details please see http://enma.org/2014/ma/14shintoryuiaibattojutsu.html
Hope to see you there!
Intent: This course is designed to introduce a prospective student to the basic characteristics of Icho Ryu Aiki-Budo training and prepare them to enter traditional class much better prepared than they would otherwise. Secondarily, it is intended as a way to offer a different view of “Aiki” than is seen in other arts and study groups. While there are many similarities with other arts and practices, it is our belief that the training and environment of Icho-Ryu is unique. It is our hope that offering a different but similar perspective will help clarify the home art of any student who attends this series. This series is not meant as indoctrination into Icho-Ryu and does not require any further commitment on behalf of those attending. We have found great moments of insight into our own art(s) by travelling outside of our own dojo and training with other generous teachers. It is our hope that this course could offer that same experience to other students.
Audience: Any interested student. The specifics and nature of class will depend greatly on the skills and experience of those students in attendance, but we are confident in the general content and potential benefit of this course regardless of background or experience.
Class Format: Class will run approximately two hours and will generally have the following format:
- Welcome and bow-in
- Bodyskill development (t-shirts and gi-pants/shorts)
- solo drills
- walking drills
- partner drills
- Short water break
- Taijutsu (dogi, no hakama)
- ukemi: rolls and falls
- freestyle practice/exercises
- Open discussion and bow out.
Cost: Free to current members of Seattle School of Aikido, $80 for the eight week course for non-members.
When: Classes are Sunday from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM beginning October 9th and running through November 27th. Since this course is intended as a sequential series, participants are encouraged to attend as many classes as possible.
Instructors: This course will be taught by senior students of Icho Ryu Seattle.
For more information contact Chris Moses (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jeremy Hulley (email@example.com).