2020: What's Your Ikigai?*

What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning? 

Ikigai: Your Reason for Being

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. To find it often requires deep inquiry and lengthy ‘search of self’ – a search which is highly regarded. The term ikigai is composed of two Japanese words: iki referring to life, and kai, which roughly means “the realisation of what one expects and hopes for”. Unpacking the word and its associated symbol a bit further, ikigai is seen as the convergence of four primary elements:

What you Love (your passion)
What the World Needs (your mission)
What you are Good at (your vocation)
What you can get Paid for (your profession)

The word ikigai, that space in the middle of these four elements, is seen as the source of value or what make one’s life truly worthwhile. In Okinawa, Japan, ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning”. Even if we are moving through a dark or challenging time, if we are moving with purpose, if we are feeling called toward something or have a clear goal in mind, we may still experience ikigai. Often the behaviors that make us feel ikigai are not the ones we are forced to take based on the expectations of the world around us, but rather they are the natural actions and spontaneous responses that emerge from a deep and direct connection to life.

(Excerpt by Chip Richards, Uplift )

Hatsu Keiko Theme

For our first aikido class of the new year, Wednesday, Jan 1st, 6pm we will explore this theme of Ikigai and how it relates to your practice of aikido. I personally find incredible value in taking the time to reflect on how all of the components of what I do with my time support the life I want. By not siloing the separate things we do but instead seeing how they all interrelate, we build rich meaning into how we choose to show up in the world. Please come to this first class of the new year prepared to reflect, imagine and sweat!
See you on the Mat!
- Malory Sensei

Winter 2019 News from the Mat

"Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it's a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life." — Joshua Osenga

Winter Schedule

Nov. 11

9am-3pm: Veteran's Day Kids Samurai Challenge Camp
There will not be a 5pm Kids class

Nov. 28

Closed for Thanksgiving

Dec. 7

9:30am: Kids Belt Tests
5pm: Annual Party & Auction
5:30pm: Kids Demo

Dec. 23-30

Dojo Closed for Holiday Break

Dec. 31

6pm Special New Year's Eve Practice (friends and family welcome to participate.)


Jan. 20, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Kids Aikido Camp, 9am-3pm

Annual Winter Party

Dec. 7, 5pm

This year's annual party and fundraiser on Dec. 7th will include a silent auction, kids aikido demos, and presentation on "the power to tenkan in your daily life." Please invite family and friends to join us for this lively and fun evening!

Seattle Aikikai is a 501(c)3 non-profit dojo, and we rely on donations that we raise at this fundraiser  to subsidize our programs and scholarship fund.

Silent Auction

Please let us know if you are able to donate an item or service to include in our silent auction. Gift certificate to your favorite restaurant? Extra tickets to a concert? A secret talent that you have? Let us know!

Our commitment to Inclusivity

‘Try again next time.’  What? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Try again next time? I had just failed my fifth-kyu test. Who fails their fifth-kyu grading? Apparently me. It’s probably the reason I’m still training in aikido 28 years later.

I started aikido in 1988 while still in college. For my first six years of practice, I was a fanatic – training every day of the week, eager to learn as quickly as possible. I was fortunate in having two excellent US instructors, Paul Sylvain and Bruce Bookman, who had both trained at Aikikai Foundation’s Hombu Dojo in Japan. They were relentless in their expectations and created challenging environments under which I thrived. I wanted to push myself to be the best that I could be. I loved working out hard and being competitive with myself as well as my peers. I didn’t internalize the spiritual aspects of aikido as an art harmonizing conflict and transcending self and ego at that time.

During these early years of training, I never paid any attention to gender politics on the mat. Being a woman in the dojo was a non-issue for me. Of course, I got blocked and corrected by my male peers, but that just motivated me to try harder. My mantra was often ‘Go ahead, resist my technique with strength; you’re 100 pounds bigger than me but I’m faster, more flexible and smarter, jerk!’ This competitive resilience served me well on the surface during my early years. That is until the day gender politics changed the course of my entire career and profoundly deepened my relationship with aikido.

Continue reading...

All Things Aikido with special guest Malory Graham from Seattle Aikikai, Nov. 6, 2019

November 2019 News from the Mat

“Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it’s a sense of harmony.
It is essential to maintaining quality in life.”
– Joshua Osenga

November Schedule

Nov. 2
10am Monthly Theme Class
11am Instructor Lab

Nov. 9
1-3pm Ukemi Workshop

Nov. 11
9am-3pm Veteran’s Day
Kids Samurai Challenge Camp
(5pm Kids class is cancelled)

Nov 28
Closed for Thanksgiving

Save the Date

Dec. 7th
10am Guest Instructor Class
12pm Kyu testing
5pm Annual Party & Silent Auction

September 2019 News from the Mat

“You can never know what you are fully made of until you start to do the things that fear you the most.”
― Edmond Mbiaka

September Schedule

Aug 31-Sept 2
Dojo closed for Holiday Weekend

Sept. 5
Kids Classes start

Sept 7
10 am First Saturday Theme Class
11 am Dojo Cleaning Party

Sept 14
10am Open House
Friends and family of all ages are invted to a free aikido class and demonstration. We will combine adults and kids aikido and offer easy introductory exercises for everyone to participate in as well as more advanced demos of aikido and weapons training. Come share what you love about aikido and have fun helping others try something new!
11:30 am to 1 pm Instructor’s Lab: Designing a Great Aikido Class
An exploration of the pedagogy of teaching aikido. What makes a good teacher? What makes for a great class? From warm-ups to your last technique, we will explore how to design a class with impact. For yudansha or by invitation.

Sept. 26
5:30pm Kids test
7pm Adults test
8pm Kyu Tests followed by Social Waza

Oct. 4-6
Yoshimitsu Yamada at Aikido of Santa Barbara