Introductory Cohort Offering

Nashville Aikikai will be having a get to know more about Aikido session with Mark Sensei on Saturday, February 2.  We encourage you to stop by the dojo at 11:00 AM to see the end of our advanced class and then Mark’s intro session will start at 11:30 AM.  Wear loose fitting athletic clothing, as there will be both question and answer and participation on the mat.  Then on Monday, February 4, we will be starting an 8 week Introductory Cohort on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.  Come out, bring a friend, and learn the traditional martial art of Aikido in a safe, friendly, and non-competitive environment.  Don’t worry if you cannot commit to every Monday and Wednesday for the next 8 weeks.  We all have work and life conflicts, so just come out as much as you can.  Aikido training promotes physical fitness as well as personal growth.  Quoting the founder, O’Sensei, “True victory is victory over oneself.”  We hope to see you in the dojo.


Congratulations to Tom and Mary McIntire Sensei on promotion to 6th Dan!

ASU has just posted the Kagami Biraki promotions for 2019.  Tom and Mary McIntire Sensei, both Juku Instructors, have been promoted to Rokyudan!  This is in recognition of both their skills as Aikidoka and their service to ASU and the greater Aikido community.  It is a tremendous privilege to have them as our instructors.  Please join me in congratulating them and all the other ASU members promoted to Yondan and above this year, including Nashville’s own Steve Matthews, who was promoted to Godan.  Please join us for our dojo celebration of Kagami Biraki at class on Friday, January 18th at 6:30 PM.

Upcoming Seminars at Nashville Aikikai

Nashville Aikikai announces 3 upcoming seminars:

Our very own Mary McIntire Sensei (5th dan and Ueshiba Juku instructor) will be teaching a seminar on the two sword techniques of Mitsugi Saotome Sensei on April 13 and 14, 2019.  Participants should have a basic understanding of aiki sword as taught by Saotome Sensei.  Keiko will be Saturday at 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM and Sunday at 10:00 AM.  Cost is $100 or $35 per class.

Nashville Aikikai is pleased to welcome Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, 7th dan, of Boulder Aikikai for his annual spring seminar on May 17-19, 2019.  We always look forward to his explorations of internal power in Aikido.  Keiko will be Friday at 6:30 PM, Saturday at 10:00 am and 3:00 PM and Sunday at 10:00 AM.  Cost is $150 or $45 per class.

Finally, Nashville Aikikai is honored to host our annual fall seminar with Tres Hofmeister Sensei, 7th dan, of Boulder Aikikai on October 4-6, 2018.  Hofmeister Sensei has a unique understanding of movement which he applies to his Aikido technique and teaching.  Keiko will be Friday at 6:30 PM, Saturday at 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM, and Sunday at 10:00 AM.  Cost is $130 or $40 per class.

Seminar flyers can be found on the Upcoming Seminars Page.

Why Study Aikido

We live in difficult times.  There is a general lack of respect for and civility towards one another.  Almost daily there is another mass shooting.  Intolerance and hate are on the rise, whether it is directed toward women, African Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, or anyone else who is perceived as “the other.”  How do we move from a culture of violence to one of peace?  I would propose that we do this as we do everything else – one step at a time, one person at a time.  One means to pursue this goal of personal change and growth is the practice of Aikido.


To study a martial art to achieve peace seems an oxymoron.  We might choose martial arts classes for our children to promote self-discipline, self-confidence, and physical fitness.  However, the popular culture view of martial arts practice as two individuals engaged in combat to the death, or at least to the tap out, likely does not appeal to those individuals who are seeking a more peaceful and harmonious approach to life.


Make no mistake, Aikido is a martial art.  It is also “The Art of Peace.”  Morihei Ueshiba (known as 0’Sensei, or Great Teacher) developed the art from a deep understanding of both martial and spiritual principles.  There is a clear moral underpinning to the practice of Aikido.  If a person does harm to another, that person stains his own spirit.  If I, as a practitioner of Aikido, understand this, then I have a responsibility to protect that person from staining his spirit.  Thus, if you attack me, I have a duty to neutralize your attack in a way that prevents you from harming me and in a way that does not harm you.  To do this, I have to have a clear understanding of martial principle, and then choose to use only that force necessary to keep us both safe.  Or, as I like to say, if you attack me and I don’t kill you because I don’t know how to do so, that is incompetence.  If I know how to kill and choose not to, that is a moral decision.


Is Aikido technique effective to neutralize an attacker with an assault rifle?  Absolutely not.  Unfortunately, that typically requires another person with an assault rifle.  And then, where does it end?  One act of violence begetting another and another.  Instead, Aikido offers us a different way to think about conflict and its resolution.  In Aikido, we do not spar.  There are not winners or losers.  We engage in paired, cooperative practice so that each person can learn and grow.  We do not conflict with our partner’s movements, we blend with them, reaching a harmonious conclusion to the “attack.”  When we train, we respect our partner for who they are in that moment, whatever that person brings to the mat.  Our growth as individuals carries the whole group forward.


Aikido is a physical manifestation of the business philosophy of win-win.  In our daily life, the practice of aikido can help us to deal with interpersonal conflict in a more productive way.  Instead of meeting anger with anger, or shying away from conflict, we learn to accept each individual for who and where they are and to harmonize with them to craft a mutually agreeable outcome.  This is the practice of Aikido in our daily life.  If each of us carries forward that spirit of mutual respect and of a shared decision making process whose goal is for each party emerges better off, then one person at a time, one encounter at time, the world becomes a better place.


Perhaps Aikido interests you?  If so, drop by for one of our Saturday morning introductory sessions to see how it is we train our minds and bodies in The Art of Peace.  We hope to see you on the mat.





Kagami Biraki – January 18th


Kagami Biraki are celebrations that mark significant events, the most common being the celebration of the New Year.  Its origins can be traced to the 4th Tokogawa Shogun, who opened a sake barrel as an offering on the eve of war.  Since the war was won, opening a sake barrel prior to an auspicious event has become common practice.  For us, Kagami Biraki is a time when we rededicate ourselves to our Aikido practice.  Instead of a second Friday class in January, we will be having a Kagami Biraki Celebration on the 3rd Friday, January 18th.  We would like as many dojo members as possible to join us for this very special day in the life of the dojo.  There will be class at 6:30, followed by dinner.  I look forward to seeing everyone at the dojo.


Holiday Charity

Again this year, Nashville Aikikai will be raising money to support the Shade Tree Clinic.  The Shade Tree Clinic is a free clinic run by Vanderbilt Medical Students to provide high quality primary care to the underinsured in Davidson County.  The Shade Tree Clinic forms interdisciplinary teams of medical, nursing, pharmacy, and law students who are supervised by professionals in these fields to provide healthcare and social services free-of-charge to this community. The clinic welcomes all patients, regardless of their race, residency, gender, socioeconomic status, or religious affiliation.  Since opening, the clinic has provided services to over 4,000 patients.  For more information, please see the Shade Tree clinic 2016-2017 Annual Report:

Last year, Nashville Aikikai donated $750 to the clinic.  Any donation which dojo member can make is appreciated.  We will collect until the first of the year.  Many thanks to all the support that Nashville Aikikai has given to this important organization over the years.  We know that lack of access to quality primary care is a significant contributor to disparities in health outcomes and to overall healthcare costs.