Mid-Peninsula Aikido

Calligraphy rendering of Aikido characters

These are my notes made while looking for an Aikido dojo in the San Francisco Bay’s mid-peninsula region. Specifically the communities in and around Palo Alto, CA. (image: wikimedia.org)

[Update 2011-12-20: I have chosen to train at Aikido Center and started attending Zazen and Aikido classes in October 2011.]

I won’t get into the ‘why’ I’m looking for an Aikido dojo in this posting. Most of what I would say can be gleaned from Stan Wrobel’s excellent book, Aikido for Self Discovery: Blueprint for an Enlightened Life. I’ve included a short book review.

I made this handy google map of the Aikido dojos listed below. There is a KML file for the Google Earth crowd. Longitude and latitude coordinates were converted from the street addresses using capelinks.com.

I have included the Sensei for each dojo. It’s partly out of respect and partly out of a sense that the Sensei defines the nature of a particular dojo.

I met Doran Sensei once, briefly, some ten years ago. In those few minutes, he made a lasting impression. You cannot honestly talk about Aikido on the mid-peninsula without including Doran Sensei and his contributions.

I never met Kushida Sensei (he lives in Michigan) but I attribute his influence at Enbukan dojo. I trained for two years under a former student of Kushida Sensei and have respect for the schools under his watch.

The Aikido Center (aka Aikido Center of Mountain View) has been in its current location for many years. The dojo has a strong zen element. That is zen as in ‘zen practice’ not to be confused with ‘zen decor’.

Aikido of Mountain View has roots to the beginnings of Aikido in the area through Nadeau Sensei. I may be mistaken but I believe the dojo was once located on Charleston near what is now REI.

The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP) has a dojo but I’m under the impression that it is open only to students, faculty and staff. Ironically, I’m a Masters Program student at ITP but since I’m in the Global Program, I don’t attend classes on campus. I live nearby so maybe I will be eligible. In any event, if/when I find out more information, I’ll update the listing. Frager Sensei is also Dr. Robert Frager, co-founder (along with Dr. James Fadiman) of ITP. Aikido is an integral part of the ITP Resident Program.

I don’t know anything more about the remaining dojo than what I’ve read on their websites. I recommend reading their material first hand.

On the matter of dues (or tuition), I included the figures I found on their websites. I feel the amount of the dues is not really important. Note that all the schools charge about the same amount (hundred bucks a month, give or take). This is a really expensive part of the country; it is very expensive to operate a dojo here. My guess is that the dues keep the doors open. Barely.

Only the adult class schedule is given. Most schools have a separate children’s schedule on their website.

The following list is in alphabetical order by dojo name. The information reflects what was listed on each dojo’s respective website cira mid-November, 2010. Things change with time. Check with the school for the latest information.

Aikido Center
Shiohira Sensei

2560 Wyandotte Avenue, #A
Mountain View, CA. 94043

Monday      18:30-20:00        basic
            20:00-20:30        open
Tuesday     17:45-18:30        zazen ?
            18:30-20:00        basic
            20:00-20:30        open
Wednesday   18:30-20:00        beginners
            20:00-20:30        open
Thursday    17:45-18:30        zazen ?
            18:30-20:00        basic
            20:00-20:30        open
Friday      18:30-20:00        beginners
            20:00-20:30        open
Saturday    10:00-11:00        basic
            12:20-13:00        basic

Aikido of Mountain View
Nadeau Sensei

1924 Plymouth Street
Mountain View, CA 94043

Monday      18:30-20:00        fundamental
Tuesday     18:30-20:00        basic
Wednesday   18:30-20:00        basic
Thursday    18:30-20:00        basic
Saturday    09:30-11:00        weapons
            11:00-12:30        basic
Sunday      11:00-12:30        basic

Aikido West
Doran Sensei

3164 Bay Road
Redwood City, CA 94063

Monday      06:30-07:00        basics
            18:00-19:00        basics
            19:00-20:15        general
Tuesday     18:00-19:00        basics
            19:00-20:15        general
Wednesday   06:30-07:00        basics
            18:00-19:00        basics
            19:00-20:15        general
Thursday    18:00-19:00        basics
            19:00-20:15        general
Friday      18:30-20:00        general
Saturday    08:45-09:45        basics
            10:00-11:00        general
Sunday      08:30-09:45        weapons
            10:00-11:00        general

Hale Sensei

501 Laurel Street,
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Monday      12:00-12:50
Wednesday   12:00-12:50

$333/3months resident
 449/3months non-resident
(Through City of Menlo Park)
Enbukan Dojo
Kushida Sensei

209 West Evelyn Avenue
Mountain View, CA 94041

Monday      19:00-19:50        2
            20:00-20:50        3
Tuesday     18:15-18:55        intro
            19:00-19:50        1
            20:00-20:50        2
Wednesday   19:00-19:50        3
            20:00-20:50        2
Thursday    18:15-18:55        intro
            19:00-19:50        2
            20:00-20:50        1
Friday      19:00-20:30        open
            20:00-20:50        3

Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Frager Sensei

1069 East Meadow Circle
Palo Alto, CA 94303

?           ?                  ?

Tuition unknown
Rocky Valley Aikido
Heery Sensei
Tuazon Sensei

1211 Arbor Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Tuesday     19:00-20:00        St. Raymond School
Wednesday   17:30-18:30        Mitchell Park
Thursday    19:00-20:00        St. Raymond School

Sierra Aikido
Levenbach Sensei
Bennett Sensei

2134 Old Middlefield Way, Suite A
Mountain View, CA 94043

Monday      19:00-20:00        weapons
Tuesday     12:00-13:00
Wednesday   19:00-20:00
Thursday    12:00-13:00
Friday      19:00-20:00
Saturday    11:00-12:00        weapons

Stanford Aikido
Doran Sensei

Arillaga Family Sports Center
Wrestling Room
641 Campus Drive
Stanford, CA 94305

Monday      12:00-13:00
Tuesday     12:00-13:00
Wednesday   12:00-13:00
Thursday    12:00-13:00
Friday      12:00-13:00

$ 50/quarter  Student
 105/quarter  Stanford Faculty/Staff
 225/quarter  Non-Stanford Affiliated
  15/quarter  Anyone paying dues at Aikido West

1 Comment

  1. looking for a dojo/instructor for my 11 year old grandson: confidence, self-defense. I had kendo lessons as a child and appreciate the art and tradition of Asian martial arts. your information is very good starting point. Would be interested in more commentary and would like to visit Akido West



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