We write this in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Charleena Lyles, Che Taylor, Manuel Ellis, and too many others. Individual and systemic racism is real, is violent, is here in Seattle, and it must stop. Black. Lives. Matter. Until the actions of individuals and society demonstrate this to be true, we need to recommit ourselves to this pledge every day.
A central tenet of Aikido is caring, not just for others in the dojo, but also for the world. To quote our founder Morihei Ueshiba:
Aikido “is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.” — Morihei Ueshiba (O Sensei, Founder of Aikido)
Seattle Aikikai’s core mission is the study, practice, improvement, and promotion of Aikido. Through Aikido training we each find self-mastery, develop non-violent conflict resolution skills, and improve our physical, mental, and emotional strength. We believe Aikido training offers this and more to people at every level of ability, and that the practice has more impact when we bring together a diverse group. Indeed, we can only do this honestly and successfully as a more diverse group.
Despite our efforts, Seattle Aikikai has historically been almost all white. While we have at our core a mission of inclusion and inclusivity, we have not lived up to our desire to diversify our membership. Although we have done much to create an inclusive community, we could do more to become truly diverse. We owe it to our community to do better.
Being continually exposed to vivid violence while managing the fallout of a pandemic, we recognize this as a time to act, and by acting we will learn, grow, even blossom. Seattle Aikikai is re-committing to the core principles of Aikido in ways that will extend our values of inclusion and diversity.
What we have done
- Created a diversity and inclusion statement which has been in place for two years
- Implemented a zero-tolerance harassment policy
- Raised awareness among our instructors and membership around race and gender diversity issues
- in Aikido and in our dojo
- Reduced race, gender, and age inequities on our board of directors
What we plan to do:
- Add classes in locations that are easily accessible to communities of color
- Provide more subsidies and scholarships to students who need financial assistance
- Direct outreach and invitations to communities of color to learn about Aikido
- Diversity and Inclusion training for the board
- Create ongoing opportunities for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other persons of color to instruct in classes and seminars
- Review, update, improve and report on this list as we continue to enact it