Emerald City Aikido May 2016 Newsletter- Why We Practice Aikido! Promotions, Classes and More!
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May 2016 Newsletter 

Why We Practice Aikido

By: Mary Heiny Sensei

There are so many demands on our time these days--so many activities, obligations, and distractions. Why then should we spend our time on Aikido? What could we hope to gain that would be worth the commitment that we make to our training? For some folks, especially those who are new to Aikido, the answer may be a simple one: to gain skill in self-defense, to get exercise, to socialize. But Aikido can be so much more if it is practiced as O’Sensei intended. When he developed Aikido, O’Sensei was not simply trying to create a new system of techniques that represented his own personal blend of sword, ju-jitsu and ascetic practices.

Rather he constructed a path for each of us to become strong yet compassionate, be motivated by mutual benefit not winning and to be a source of harmony in the world rather than discord. Although many people would like to reach this state of being, most of us don’t have any idea where to start. Aikido is a gateway to such personal transformation because it touches on all aspects of who we are and how we relate to others.

Hikitsuchi Sensei, with whom I studied in the early 70’s told me that O'Sensei taught that Aikido nurtures each person in five areas:

  1. Understanding KI (ki-iku)
  2. Increasing our knowledge and wisdom through study and experience (chi-iku)
  3. Strengthening and purifying our bodies (tai-iku)
  4. Increasing our understanding of ethical behavior (toku-iku)
  5. Creating social sensibilities (jo-shiki)


While it is obvious how Aikido could contribute to the understanding of ki and the strengthening our bodies, it may not be as clear how it helps with wisdom, ethics or social skills. The reason Aikido can provide access to these attributes is that all Aikido techniques are practiced in relationship to another person and the lessons are experienced holistically by both body and mind. In practicing Aikido, for example, you experience the difference between harmoniously moving with your partner and being forced to move against your will. And when you change who starts the technique you can learn to feel the difference between creating harmony with your partner and forcing your partner to conform to your plan.

The emotional response to these situations is real and immediate. In one case, your partner will be relaxed and cooperative and in the other he or she will become instantly frustrated and will fight against you instinctively. In Aikido, you can explore this scenario over and over again and you can learn how to cultivate physical techniques and mental states that make harmony possible. Moreover, you can take this understanding with you when you leave the dojo and use in your daily life.

It is, however, possible to practice Aikido without learning these more advanced lessons. You can show up, learn techniques, and even become quite skilled in throwing your partner and miss the whole point of Aikido. The key to moving beyond a surface understanding lies in how you approach your training and your partners. I feel lucky that I was taught early in my studies that the goal of each practice and each technique was to achieve these higher objectives. In the collection of videos that I am currently making, therefore, I will try to pass on this teaching and help you to find the Aikido in yourself.


A year ago the dojo was in the process of drying out from the burst water pipe that flooded the entire space at the end of April.  It was a long hard 5 weeks before we were up and running again.  As I look back on that process I am reminded of all the generosity that came to Emerald City Aikido.  I am grateful to all our students for hanging in with outdoor classes and at Seattle Aikido, not to mention the work of cleaning up the space and putting it back together after the construction was completed.  Thanks to the donations from our students and parents as well as from Aikidoka near and far, we were able to bridge the gap in insurance coverage and landlord compensation.  Special thanks to Paul, Nancy and Kelly who undertook getting the new mats in and Adam and Kelly for creating us a new sandwich board.  I continue to have a deep sense of gratitude every time I enter the dojo.

Thank You All

Special Training with
Mary Heiny Sensei 6th Dan

Schedule:  Saturday May 14th
Children 10 to 11:00 (This will combine the 10 and 11 am classes)
This class will be open to adults who would like more training with Mary
Break 11 to 11:30
Adults 11:30 am to 1:00pm
Adults:$50 mat fee for training,
Teen: $25 fee for training
Test 1:15 pm

A Note To Parents

Summer is coming and I am sure that you are already on top of camps, and vacation plans for your family.  Some students take the summer off because of travel and other commitments while others continue their training through the summer months.  

Our current schedule will run through the end of June.  In July and August the schedule is reduced slightly.  One of the benefits of training in the summer is that classes tend to be smaller and students get more individual attention and work on new things such as weapons training. It is also the time when new games are created.  

Below is the July and August schedule for this year.  Please let me know in advance of any changes in attendance for your children or if you have questions about attending in the summer. 

Upcoming Holiday Closures

Memorial Day Weekend 5/28 – 5/30

Fourth of July Weekend 7/2 – 7/4

Labor Day Weekend 9/3 – 9/5

Upcoming 25 Years 
Emerald City Aikido

In September of 1991 me , Paul Verba and Diane Sexton walked into a funky artist studio that was 604 19th Ave E. We had a vision to create an Aikido dojo. Within a short week the space was gutted and with the help of the Aikido community, by the end of October we were up and rolling. 25 years is a big accomplishment for all. Looking for a few folks to come forward to work with me and help plan a celebration.

Welcome New Students

Adults : Mathew Williams
Children: Simon Schmeichler

April Promotions


Luay Kawasme     6th Kyu



Kaya Percival  10th Kyu (Yellow Belt)

Joshua Dain   9th Kyu  (Orange Belt)

Mason Albert  9th Kyu (Orange Belt)

Georgia White  9th Kyu (Orange Belt)

Ethan Silverman 9th Kyu (Orange Belt)

Elias Reichek  9th Kyu (Orange Belt)

Ben Fleishman  9th Kyu (Orange Belt)

Shout Outs Help Keep
Emerald City Aikido Present

As you know, Emerald City Aikido is expanding our online presence. We need your help!  If you would leave a review for us on any of our online profiles below:
Google Reviews:

Thank You again for your support.  My passion is to share my love of aikido with adults and children in the Seattle area.  Thank you for making Emerald City Aikido such a positive and encouraging atmosphere!
~ Joanne

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