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.
Please note that there are no Shinto Ryu sword, Budo Tanren, or Kids Martial Arts classes this Saturday, December 9th. Our teachers are continuing their own training that weekend at Dan Harden’s seminar at Aikido Eastside. Regular Aikido classes are on for Friday night and Sunday morning however!
There will be no kids or teens class Saturday the 9th. Evan will be at a martial art seminar hopefully learning some cool new things to teach in the program. Have a good weekend!
As a reminder, the dojo will be closed starting Friday 2:30pm through Sunday 2:30pm. Apologies for all that are inconvenienced, our mats are being used at the Jan Nevelius Shihan seminar at Seattle Central College Friday through Sunday. Classes will resume as usual on Monday. Thank you for your cooperation and support. – John
Shinto Ryu Iai-battojutsu – regular schedule.
Budo Tanren and Kids/Teens classes are cancelled. Several of us will be attending Dan Harden’s weekend seminar at Aikido Eastside.
A number of our instructors will be attending a continuing education seminar this weekend. See you at regular classes next week!
Unfortunately, our Kids/Teens Summer Camp pre-enrollment didn’t reach the minimum number of campers required, so we’re cancelling it for this summer.
Kids/teens classes are on for tomorrow, Tuesday 8/8. Weather’s cooled off a bit, but bring those water bottles. See you on the mat!
Evan Bucy, Chief Kids/Teens Instructor, is offering a 5-day Budo skills summer intensive. Participants will learn practical strategies to foresee, assess, and protect themselves before situations develop. Daily activities include ukemi, waza, aiki body exercises, lots of group and partner work, and community building. Introduction to weapons training – wooden staff, wooden sword, and wooden fan techniques and kata – teach focus, sustained concentration, confidence, and centering, all aspects that augment total Aikido body skills. Students may expect to have serious fun.
The camp runs August 21 – 25, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm each day. Cost is $300.
Basic requirements: SSA students who are 8 years and up + yellow belt and up. Other SSA and non-SSA students by permission – ask Evan directly.
Save the date! Evan’s offering a weapons day camp: Mon 8/21 – Fri 8/25, 9am-3pm, $300/student. Staff technique in the mornings & sword in the afternoons. Who: SSA students who are 8yo & up + yellow belt & up. Other SSA students by permission – ask Evan directly. Great intensive for teens to build on their kata from past summer camps.