We believe that a foundation of diversity — a wide range of experiences and perspectives — greatly enriches, and is necessary to the practice of Aikido. We recognize that dojos can reflect the inherent inequity in our society and all members come with implicit bias. Cultural understanding and humility in the delivery of accessible, inclusive programming is a core value of our dojo. 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.
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 systemic racism and 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 three 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
- Provided scholarships to students who need financial assistance
What we plan to do:
- Implement a thorough Inclusivity Audit of our organization
- Continue providing scholarships to students who need financial assistance
- Strategize ways to make our programming accessible to communities of color. Direct outreach and invitations to communities of color to learn about Aikido
- Provide Diversity and Inclusion training for our board and instructors
- 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