Successful Intro to Aikido Workshop, June 28, 2014

The lonely pathWe had a great, fun Intro to Aikido workshop on Saturday, June 28.

Six new people bowed on to the mat and all did really well. They all seemed to enjoy the practice as much as we enjoyed practicing with them.

We started with a brief history of Aikido, followed by warm-ups and kneeling roll practice. Then we practiced Tai No Henko, Katate Dori Sumi Otoshi, Ai Hanmi Katate Dori Kotegaeshi, and finished the class with a short weapons demonstration showing tanto, jo, and tachi dori.

My sincere thanks to the Kiryu Aikido students who participated and shared our wonderful dojo spirit with newcomers.

The journey of Aikido is traveled alone, but it cannot be accomplished without the accompaniment of others.

Arigatou gozaimashita, everyone.

Next Intro to Aikido Workshop: Saturday, June 28, 2014


Interested in learning more about Aikido? We welcome you to our second free Intro to Aikido workshop.

We’ll cover a little of Aikido’s history, go through a few of our Aikido-based warmups, and try some techniques, plus demonstrate a sample of the weapons work we do at Kiryu Aikido.

The workshop will be held Saturday, June 28, from 1:30-3:30 at our dojo at Lone Tree Rec Center, near I-25 and Lincoln.
Register online at South Suburban Lone Tree Rec center,

or just show up. Wear sweat pants and a t-shirt and have fun exploring this wonderful martial art.

Please join us!

Student Achievements: Testing and Practice Milestones

The three Kiryu Aikido students who tested in April recently received their certificates from Hombu Dojo in Japan. In a fortunate alignment of scheduling, Blevins Sensei was in town to teach that weekend and was able to personally give the certificates to Bob-san for his Ikkyu test and Greg-san for his Sankyu test.

Blevins Sensei presents Bob-san with Ikkyu certificate.

Blevins Sensei presents Bob-san with his Ikkyu certificate.

Greg-san receives his Sankyu certificate from Blevins Sensei.

Greg-san receives his Sankyu certificate from Blevins Sensei.










The following weekend, Dave-san received his Gokyu certificate from Senior Instructor Les Steveson. In addition, Charles-san was recognized for attaining 500 hours of practice.

Dave-san receives his Goyku certificate from Les Sensei.

Dave-san receives his Goyku certificate.


Charles-san reaches practice milestone of 500 hours.

Charles-san reaches practice milestone of 500 hours.











New student Justin-san recently tested for his 6th kyu rank a few weeks ago — that first big step in an Aikido journey — and we welcomed three great new students to the dojo this spring.

You’re all great examples of the results that happen with dedication and commitment to practice.

Omedetou gozaimashita, everyone. Keep up the hard work and focus!

Kiryu Aikido Participates in Demo for Japanese School of Denver


On Sunday, June 1st, we took part in the annual Japanese School of Denver Aikido demonstration, led by Izawa Sensei of Tanshinjuku Aikido dojo.

I think this was our third or fourth time attending, and as usual it was great to feel the energy of so many children, from very young to teenagers. Seeing their smiles, hearing their excitement, watching their joy as they tried something new — pricelesss.

Special thanks to Izawa Sensei for the invitation. It’s always wonderful to spread awareness of Aikido.

Thanks also to Charles-san for attending and being uke in our short demo.


Thoughts Following Testing, 19 April 2014


“Life is short,” Izawa Sensei shared as we took a break between the kyu tests and the four Nidan tests that were to follow. Yesterday was our biannual test day with our community of dojos including Izawa Sensei’s Tanshinjuku dojo and Albright Sensei’s Doushinjuku dojo. Combined, 15 students tested from the three dojos.

“This is your time to share with us how you have been practicing and to show the training you have done over the past many months. Don’t keep your energy inside. Let it extend out; let your Aikido be expressed in your test.”

We had three students from Kiryu Aikido testing: Bob-san for Ikkyu, Greg-san for Sankyu, and Dave-san for Gokyu. Les-san and I were proud of each student’s test, which were strong and solid, and great examples of the hard work they put in over the last several weeks preparing for their tests. I also want to thank Charles-san for being Bob-san’s Uke, and all the students at Kiryu Aikido for helping each other prepare and for supporting each other’s Aikido path. I believe that preparing a student for a test takes a village – the dojo – and the students and instructors are all involved in various ways.

For me, what Izawa Sensei shared resonated at this level: that we are what we practice, whether on the mat or in life (and in the end, it’s the same thing, in my humble opinion). The attention we bring to the details, the awareness we bring to the practice and the work, the presence and confidence we project as we move through the world…all are expressed in our way of being and result from how we practice. That energy then extends into every piece of our lives and becomes who we are.

Thank you to Andrew Blevins Sensei, for your continued teaching and sharing Kiryu spirit, and Izawa Sensei and the students of Tanshinjuku dojo for again hosting the test and for your welcoming spirit, and for the camaraderie our three dojos share.

I look forward to getting back on the mat, bowing into practice, and taking the next steps on this journey with our wonderful students at Kiryu Aikido.


Kiryu Aikido Begins 10th Year of Practice

Kiryu Aikido celebrates 10th anniversary.

Kiryu Aikido celebrates 10th anniversary.

This year, 2014, marks Kiryu Aikido’s 10th year as a safe, strong, vibrant dojo.

To commemorate this milestone, we created special edition 10th anniversary hoodies and t-shirts. Here are just a few of our instructors and students wearing the new garments with pride for our Kiryu spirit and continued journey.

Doumo arigatou gozaimashita, Andrew Blevins Sensei, for your vision, generosity, and countless hours of sharing your amazing talent and passion for this martial art.




Intro to Aikido Workshop: February 22, 2014

Aikido Workshop posterLTRCIf you’re interested in learning more about Aikido, we welcome you to our free workshop. We will cover a bit about the history, ukemi (the art of protecting yourself), open hand and weapons techniques, and more. Saturday, Feb. 22, from 1:30-3:30 at the Kiryu Aikido dojo at Lone Tree Rec Center, near I-25 and Lincoln.

Another Training Milestone

Kiryu Aikido congratulates student Benjamin S. on his recent achievement of the training milestone of 250 hours.

Keep up the good work!

Thanksgiving Week Classes with Blevins Sensei Teaching, and Training Milestones

Kiryu Aikido, November 30, 2013Thanksgiving was last week, and we at Kiryu Aikido were immensely thankful: Andrew Blevins Sensei was in town for the holiday and taught Friday (a three-hour class!) and Saturday. There is never enough time with our great teacher, but we gleaned all we could in the short time we had on the mat with our Sensei.

At the end of classes both days, Blevins Sensei presented certificates of achievement for training milestone to students. “I want to recognize the long-term commitment to training,” he said. “We test twice a year, and that is important in its own way, but it’s the consistency and commitment to practice that are crucial to a student’s improvement.”

Here are the students recognized for attaining training milestones of 125, 250, 500, and 1,000 hours.

Cyrus B. – 125 hours
Greg J. – 125 hours
Bob L. – 250 hours
Charles G. – 250 hours
Les S. – 500 hours
Kara S. – 1,000 hours

“Each step is important as we work toward 10,000 hours,” said Blevins Sensei, “the hours of practice that some consider necessary to attain a level of mastery in any given endeavor.”

Blevins Sensei, thank you for teaching and spending time with all of us! It is such a joy to learn from you. We so appreciate your time and dedication, and for sharing your talent with us. We will continue to work hard and look forward to the next time we are able to practice together. Be well, Sensei!


Thoughts and Perspectives Following an Aikido Test

On Saturday, 16 November 2013, Kiryu Aikido participated in the biannual Aikido testing in our dojo community, which includes Tanshinjuku and Doushinjuku dojos.


Thanks to Kei and Mariquita Izawa Sensei and the students of Tanshinjuku for hosting the test and for your welcoming spirit, as always. Thanks also to the Kiryu students who came to offer their support for others testing in this important milestone.

We had one student testing: Cyrus Blevins for 5th kyu. He did a great job and represented the dojo well through his preparation and commitment, which resulted in confidence, strong techniques, and zanshin. These are things I believe are hallmarks of the special spirit of Kiryu Aikido.



Every test is an opportunity to see students’ progress and the results of the work they have put in leading up to the test. It’s heartening to witness the growth and increasing abilities that students can exhibit when they practice over a long period of time.

A few things came to mind during the test, and perhaps the biggest take-away is that the elements necessary to have a great test also apply off the mat.

These include:

  • focus
  • dedication
  • continued and open-minded learning
  • commitment for the long-term

Perhaps these can be summed up in one idea: how we practice is who we become.

During a test, we can only demonstrate what we have been practicing for weeks and months (and years). If we’ve been practicing diligently, and have accepted that true learning comes from a conscious decision to get of our comfort zone class after class, our test will exhibit the focus and spirit we’ve brought to every practice. If we’ve been just going through the motions, that will be reflected in our tests.

Neither is good or bad, either is a choice, but it’s undeniable that we are what we practice.

So as this test is wrapped up, and before we bow in to practice next week, it may be helpful to take an objective look at our own practice. What can we improve? What are our weaker spots and those that need more attention? What are our strengths that we can improve even more? How can we be better kohai? Better sempai? How can we get the most out of our precious time on the mat?

Kiryu Aikido is about strong technique, solid ukemi, and good martial spirit, and I appreciate the shared commitment we all have to these foundations of our practice. I believe also that the physical effort put forth on the mat can result in positive life traits that will take us far in whatever career we have. Focus, dedication, learning, commitment. After all, we are what we practice…and we get out of life what we put into it.

Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) to Cyrus-san and all the students who tested. Keep up the good work, and we’ll see you at the spring test.Izawasensei

Progress comes
To those who
Train and train;
Reliance on secret techniques
Will get you nowhere.
— O-Sensei, from “The Art of Peace”