Aikido of Missoula

Aikido of Missoula

Aikido of Missoula is centered in downtown, close to the Missoula public library.  On the second floor of its building, the dojo is accessed through a glass door on street level that can be easy to miss at first.  Once upstairs, however, it is impossible to not know that you’ve found an Aikido dojo.

I had seen flyers for seminars while living in Seattle and knew that Montana has a thriving Aikido scene, so I was quite excited to train.   While my scheduled unfortunately prevented me from attending the more populated weekend classes, I was able to join two midday classes, both of which were excellent.

One of the great joys of visiting so many dojos is feeling immediately welcomed as soon as I step on the mat.  The Aikido family is large and welcoming and while I have heard of dojos dismissing the experience of visitors from another style, I have yet to experience it myself.  Every aikidoka at Aikido of Missoula was a joy to train with and presented fluid, lovely Aikido of their own style.

Neither sensei spent a lot of time talking about fundamentals of points to look for during instruction, but gave advice on a personal level.  Both classes were small (5 or fewer people), so perhaps that style of teaching would come out in a more populated environment.  Instead, each sensei gave tips on a personal and as-needed basis, preferring to focus on learning through movement.

I can’t say that I walked out of either class with any “Aha!” ideas or moments, or any real key piece to mull over, but I did walk out feeling that good, true Aikido had just happened both times.  I would be interested in attending a larger class to get a better feel for the dojo, teaching style, and student base and if I ever find myself in Missoula again I look forward to training.

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