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.
It’s official, the next SSA board meeting will be Monday night, March 5th, 8PM at the dojo. We will be discussing dojo direction for the next few years and open leadership positions on the board! Open to all members (and parents of members).
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!
The next board meeting for Seattle School of Aikido is scheduled for Tuesday, December 5th at 8PM at the dojo. As a non-profit dojo, board meetings are open to all members (including our awesome parents!). We will be looking at our finances in particular at this meeting and evaluating a likely dues increase to begin in 2018. Feel free to join us for Budo Tanren/Icho ryu from 6-8PM before the meeting if you’d like to get a workout in beforehand.
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
A reminder that our board meeting starts at 8:15 pm tonight, Tuesday, August 8.
Waza and body skill warm up starts at 7:00 before discussion of our administrative agenda. 😁
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!
We are cancelling all Saturday classes due to the smoke related health advisory. No Shinto Ryu, Budo Tanren or kids/teens classes.
Stay cool and be healthy. See you next week!
It was a good first day of the project. The old subfloor was dismantled and the concrete cleaned and sealed. Prepped the OSB and plywood. Sanded and stained the mat frame.
Thanks to everyone who showed up today to help. Seriously, you guys and gals took on the dirtiest job and rocked it!
We have one week left to enjoy the 25+ year old subfloor with broken plywood soft spots, cracked wood supports and powdered foam blocks! Starting Friday, April 8, we’re going to rip out the old floor and build a new sprung floor. The dojo will be closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 8-10.
We’re still light on Friday volunteers. If cleaning under a decades old subfloor is your thing, we’ve got a gig for you. We’ll even personalize your own N95 dust mask!
Some of you have expressed a desire to donate to the project. Thank you! You can write a check to the dojo or use Paypal from the home page on our website. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization so your donations are tax deductible.
Things we need – a couple of shop vacs, some paint rollers, trays and extension poles.
Students and Instructors – please remove all your personal items like gis and weapons by Monday night. We’ll need the room to stage supplies and materials and move all the dojo furniture into the dressing rooms before we start the rip and tear. Things will get dirty.
The schedule? We have a detailed project plan. Some martial arts folks told me that a fight plan is brilliant until you get hit the first time. Please check the website for updates, particularly if you have volunteered for a late shift.