No Aikido Classes this Weekend

The California Aikido Association twice annual Friendship Training is this weekend, so we won’t be having classes Friday – Sunday (August 25 – 27). If you want to join in the fun, we’ll be at Aikido West in Redwood City on Saturday and Sunday. The instructors on Saturday are Frank Doran Shihan and Calvin Koshiyama Sensei. That will be great.

Rescheduling: Craig Fife Sensei’s Seminar and Gideon’s Shodan Test

Because of scheduling conflicts, we’re moving Craig Fife Sensei’s Seminar, along with Gideon Haimovitz’s shodan (first degree black belt) test. The event will happen in October or November, I’m not exactly sure when yet. I should know very soon.

In the meantime, here’s the link for info and to register.


Gideon Haimovitz’s Shodan Exam

Be sure to have this on your calendar: On Saturday, September 16, 2017, around 10 am, Gideon Haimovitz will be doing his shodan (first degree black belt) exam. The exam is during Craig Fife Sensei’s seminar, September 15 – 17, 2017.

Gideon is a long-time student of Aikido’Ka, going on 7 years. Everyone who knows Gideon thinks the world of him and he’s immense fun to train with. His exam will be amazing.

Gideon is the third home-grown black belt for me, after Gabriel Cuppet and Ian Isbell. Both Gabriel and Ian did amazing tests. I expect Gideon’s to be the best yet.

Everyone is welcome to watch, at no charge. If you want to train during the seminar (which you really ought to do!), click here to register.

Craig Fife Sensei Seminar

As you can see from the flyer, Craig Fife Sensei will be at Aikido’Ka September 15 – 17. Our good friend Gideon Haimovitz will do his shodan test on Saturday morning, September 16, at about 10 am.

Many folks will know Craig Sensei from being one of the Aiki Summer Retreat headliners. He’s an extraordinary aikido instructor and an absolutely first-rate person. You will enjoy yourself and learn a tremendous amount at this seminar. Please join us!

Craig Fife Sensei is the founder and chief instructor of Aikido Northwest. Since 2013, Fife Sensei has been one of the headliners of Aiki Summer Retreat, with Michael Friedl Shihan and Kimberly Richardson Sensei. He began his aikido training in 1973 in Boise, Idaho. Fife Sensei currently holds the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt), from the Aikikai Foundation, Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan. This rank was awarded to him by his teacher, Frank Doran Shihan.

In addition to Fife Sensei’s personal study of Aikido, he has been actively teaching Aikido since 1980. Fife Sensei has also been a student of Iaido since 1990 and currently holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt) from the All United States Kendo Federation. Fife Sensei is a member of the California Aikido Association Teaching Committee.

For more info and to register for the seminar, click here.

Video – Aikido’Ka is in a Beautiful Place

I put together a quick video showing just how beautiful where the dojo is. We’re so fortunate! We’re nestled right up to Empire Mine State Park. It’s really quite remarkable how nice it is.


Please Check Out Our New Home Page

I’ve updated the dojo website home page. Please check it out and let me know what you think.


Frank Sensei

No Aikido Classes on May 20

We won’t be able to get to the dojo on Saturday morning, May 20, because tree work will be in progress. They’ll be doing work in the upper parking lot on Sunday, but that won’t interfere with us.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Get Your Questions in for Facebook Live Interviews with Senseis

Aiki Summer Retreat logo

Hi All! I’m going to be doing a bunch of Facebook Live Q&As with Aiki Summer Retreat 2017 headliners (Michael Friedl Shihan, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, and Craig Fife Sensei) and other very experienced Retreat attendees.

I expect the interviews will be fairly brief — 10-15 minutes. But, as I said, a want to do a bunch of them. So . . . please let me know what questions you want the Senseis to answer and let’s have some fun!

I’ll let you know when the interviews will happen.

Aiki Summer Retreat 2017 – Registration is Open!

Aiki Summer Retreat logo

Join us for Aiki Summer Retreat 2017, June 4 – 10 at beautiful Granlibakken Tahoe. Our headline instructors are Michael Friedl Shihan, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, and Craig Fife Sensei.

Get all of the information about the Retreat and registration at the Aiki Summer Retreat home page.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the Retreat flyer.

Don’t delay! The Early Bird Special ends on April 30 and registration closes on May 21.

Aiki Summer Retreat 2017 flyer

How to Choose a Martial Arts School Part 1: The People


How to Choose a Martial Arts School
Part 1: The People


I am putting together a series of posts and brief videos about how to how to decide what is the best martial arts school is for you and your family.

Here’s Part 1: The People.

1.    The People

In martial arts training, particularly aikido, you’re going to be spending a tremendous amount of time with the students and instructors at your dojo. So, to me, people are the most important part of training.  If you don’t want to spend time with the instructors and the other students, then it makes no sense to join that martial arts school. It doesn’t make any difference what their martial arts style is. If you don’t like the people, move on.

So, start and end your research with the people who you’ll be training with.

2.    The Instructors

Aikido, along with every other martial arts practice, is done with a teacher. If you think that you can learn aikido online, or from a book, you are fooling yourself. You can’t. Find the right teacher and you’ll learn. In fact, find the right teacher and you’ll love your martial arts training!

It doesn’t matter what level black belt the instructor is or how many competitions that person may have won. None of that guarantees that the instructor is any good or is the right instructor for you.

Start your research by learning how much the instructor cares about your practice. As Chief Instructor at Aikido’Ka, I care about why you want to practice martial arts. I will work to help you understand and achieve your goals.

I meet with every single prospective aikido student. I personally do every orientation. We will discuss why you want to train and how our community may help you reach those goals. I will then formally meet with you, quarterly, to make sure you are getting what you need from your training. All of the instructors at Aikido’Ka are happy to speak with you, any time, about your training.

Make sure that the instructors, and any staff, are courteous and professional. Make sure you feel safe and that your child will feel safe. I can’t imagine a worse situation than joining a martial arts school to build your confidence and character and being frightened the entire time you are training. Please don’t do that to yourself!

Ask the instructor about his or her larger training community. Is the dojo an active part of an organization or the school isolated and on its own?

Aikido’Ka is a member of the California Aikido Association, which, despite its name, has member dojos around the world. We are members of the 2nd division, which is headed by Michael Friedl Shihan. Friedl Sensei is an absolutely great guy and has been my personal aikido teacher for years. Aikido’Ka is very active in the CAA. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that I have friends many places around the world thanks to being an active member of our extended aikido family.

3.    The Students

Don’t just look at the instructors. Talk to the students. Does the dojo have any people who have been training for more than just a short time? Are there people at the dojo who have been training for 10, 20, or 30+ years? If so, you can figure that people like training there. Do people have fun when training? Do they feel safe? Don’t only ask the students. Watch them train and see if they look like they’re having fun and feeling safe.

Here’s what I’d like you to do: Come to Aikido’Ka. Sit and watch. Join in. See how people interact with each other. Look at their faces. See if they’re smiling and laughing and making friends. You’ll see that Aikido’Ka is a fun, friendly, safe atmosphere. It’s a good, safe place to be.

Feel free to talk with any of the students at Aikido’Ka. We don’t have secrets. Ask them anything them about their training. They’ll answer you truthfully.

4.    Take Your Time

Many martial arts schools will give you one free class to figure out whether their place is right for you. They will then want you to sign up and start paying dues.

I am quite sure that one or two classes is not at long enough for you to learn all you want about the teachers, the students, and everything else.

At Aikido’Ka, you receive 30 days free to try out aikido training. That’s right, you have a full 30 days to see if the instructors, the students and everything else works for you. If not, then it costs you nothing. You don’t have to buy a uniform or anything else. Your first 30 days are free. Now I’m not saying that you can’t join us in that first 30 days, but you don’t have to. And those first 30 days – they’ll be free.

So if you’re looking to improve your health, your life, your confidence, build some self-defense skills, and all sorts of other positive things, then please start your free 30 days at Aikido’Ka right away. Just call me at (530) 273-2727, or send me an email and we’ll get you started.

I look forward to training with you!

Start your 30 days free training now by filling out the form below.