Excited for Matti this thursday

i just got back from 6 days on decatur island in the san juan islands.  i’ve got 3 days of grim reality facing me at work this week before i’m able to get back on the mat and train aikido again.

i can’t wait to the experience again the simplicity and precision of matti’s movement.  he has a degree of humility not often found in 6th dan around the world, which is a nice breath of fresh air as well.  he’s finnish, trains/runs a dojo in austria, speaks fluent english (and probably 4+ languages including japanese), and we get to see him first hand here in seattle.  how cool is that?

“Connect, then take down, that’s all there is in aikido, there is nothing else” – paraphrasing Matti Joensuu, 6th dan aikido.

i simply can’t wait…

Jazz up your Aikido at SSA!

Aikido can be many things to many different people. For some, it is a Budo, a martial way of life. For others, it’s a hobby to pass the time. For yet others, it’s a means of physical fitness.

Using music as a metaphor for martial arts, to me, aikido is like jazz. It’s fairly new (less than 100 years old), but has roots in much older arts (like aikijutsu) that might be considered more like blues. I consider striking arts more like rock and roll, MMA (mixed martial arts) is like speed metal, and Tai Chi like classical music. There is no art that is “better” or “more effective”, there are only different personal tastes. All arts have value to their practitioners.

Aikido schools with chief instructors teach their own singular version of jazz. Some teach acid jazz, others fusion jazz, maybe big band jazz, or even instrumental jazz. All are valid styles, but at most other schools, only one version is taught and that style is expected to be learned and recited.

At the Seattle School of Aikido, as a cooperative school with instructors from varying backgrounds, students are taught to find their own version of jazz, not to just copy the instructor’s version. We want students to take responsibility for their own training, and to find their own way. We want everyone to know the basics, but we allow everyone’s personal style to ultimately become manifest for themselves.

For me, I am working on my aikido to be like smooth jazz: comfortable and soft, simple yet soulful. No extra notes, no flashy phrases, just enjoyable music for those with or without training in music appreciation. I have taken my influences from a number of sources (aikido and non-aikido alike), and ultimately come up with my own style. As I continue to practice, I constantly evolve. Can you hear the notes I could but don’t choose to play?

That is my Aikido, my quest for smooth jazz.

Please, come jam with us.

Distinguished guest instructors coming!

SSA is honored to host classes taught by two internationally recognized instructors in September and October!

On September 9, Matti Joensuu 6 dan from Austria will be teaching class.  Joensuu sensei teaches extensively in Europe and Canada.  He is a student of Endo shihan.

On October 25, Jan Nevelius 6 dan from Sweden will be teaching class.  Nevelius sensei has been making annual trips to the Northwest and we are again pleased to welcome him to SSA!  He is also a student of Endo shihan.

Mark your calendars for these special events!

More details to follow…