In keeping with the goals of preventing and delaying the spread of the pandemic disease covid19 to the vulnerable members of our community, the Seattle School of Aikido will be closed through the end of March.
Our board and instructors will re-evaluate the situation by April 1st, and will let you know when it is safe to resume training.
I would encourage all students and members (of all ages) to practice solo exercises, bokken and jo, and ukemi while at home during this time.
For more general information about why social distancing is important to delay this pandemic to preserve our healthcare resources, i direct you to this link:
Well it has been almost a month since my Yondan grading exam on 1/12/2020, and I finally have the time to process my thoughts and post a pic of me and my Sensei, Jan Nevelius Shihan at my home dojo, the Seattle School of Aikido.
I started my Aikido journey in February 1995 in Albany, New York, with Rick Wolslayer of Nihon Goshin Aikido. I also had the pleasure of training with Steve Sadowski and Irv Faust during my time in Albany. There was no internet, no youtube, no facebook, and no social media. You had to just show up at a dojo and check it out for yourself
I moved to Seattle in June 1997, and began training at my current home, the Seattle School of Aikido, with a wonderful variety of Aikido teachers from various lineages. Eric Oberg,Jan Keller, Robby Pellett, Allan Kaplan, David Kaplan, Jain Rutherford, and others were my teachers and mentors for many years. I received my Shodan from them in 2002. (Over time, our dojo community has become smaller with the retirements of my teachers, and I have been Chief Instructor of Aikido at Seattle School since 2015).
With the support of Glenn A Leichman, I had the opportunity to connect my Aikido lineage with Hombu Dojo via Seishiro Endo Shihan, and received my Aikikai Shodan from him in Seattle in 2008, and my Nidan from him in 2012.
I met Jan Nevelius during his various workshops in Seattle, he was co-teaching at times with Frank Ostoff. My Seattle Aikido buddy, Rupert Berk, had been encouraging me for years to come with him to Sweden to study more intensely at the Lillsved Aikido camp outside of Stockholm.
In 2013 I finally was able to go, and it was then that my formal relationship with Nevelius Shihan began. I have been going every summer since then to visit my “extended Aikido family”, and it has changed my practice immeasurably.
In 2015, I received my Sandan from Nevelius Sensei at Vanadis Aikido in Stockholm in front of my international Aikido community. And that brings me to last month, taking my Yondan exam in front of my friends and family in Seattle. There are no more tests in our lineage, any future promotions are done based on my contributions to Aikido as determined by my teacher.
A short but long story, with really too many people to name and thank individually, but without the support of my wife of 21+years, Catherine L Peng, much of this would not be possible.
It seems like my journey has ended, and yet I feel like it has only now begun. Thanks to all of my teachers, training partners, and students. I am looking forward to another rich 25 years of Aikido training and practice.
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.
Hey everyone, I have come down with some sort of stomach bug and thus there will be no kids classes tonight. As well there will be no class Saturday the 23rd and no class on Tuesday the 26th. Regular schedule resumes next Thursday.
Tuesday nights start with a new class, Icho ryu jujutsu at 6:15. This class is open to all members of the dojo and will focus on jujutsu waza (techniques). Appropriate for all levels, this class will work on ukemi (falls) and the basic techniques of Icho ryu with an emphasis on the kuzushi, tsukuri, kake model. At 7:30 we transition to Icho ryu aiki-budo. This class requires instructor permission to attend.
Thursday nights will also offer Icho ryu jujutsu at 6:15 followed by Budo Tanren at 7:30. Budo Tanren (martial forging) combines martial qi gong exercises and serves primarily as a Sangenkai study group. Both classes are open to all members and are suitable for any skill level. There will no longer be a Shinto ryu Iai-battojutsu class on Thursday nights.
Saturday morning is all Shinto ryu Iai-battojutsu, our sword class. Beginning at 8 AM and running to 10 provides more time to explore this rich and interesting art. Classes are open to all members of the dojo and are suitable for all skill levels.
Hello there everyone! Just a heads up that there will be no kids or teen classes from November 10th till November 22nd while I am in Massachusetts for instructor training. Regular classes will resume Saturday November 24th after the holiday.
Our dojo will be closed from Friday 2pm through Sunday (10/12 through 10/14/18) because our mats will be used at the Jan Nevelius (John’s teacher) Aikido Seminar at Seattle Central College this weekend.
We apologize for any inconvenience, and appreciate your support and understanding.
For seminar details go to: https://aikidoseattle.org/events/nevelius-2018