The college of town of Moscow, Idaho houses a small yet wonderful dojo, Aikido of Moscow. This dojo only exists because of the University of Idaho, for without it this area would only be farmland. Thankfully the university exists, because after an hour drive I had a very nice lesson. Classes are held Monday and Thursday at 7 on the second floor of the 1912 Center.
There is no established dojo or workout room, so instead the akidokas set mats out before every class. I love the variety of dojos that this trip provides. I’ve been in massive dojos with hundreds of students to small dojos with four people. The breadth of Aikido and the various places that people can practice it reinforces the things that I love most about Aikido: it is a frame of mind that is practiced in your heart and head, not on a mat.
Five people showed up this night, two black belts, two newer students, and myself. Class started with pair work but quickly went to lining up and practicing techniques in line, which honestly made practice more fluid and interesting. Sensei wanted to practice jiyu-waza, focusing on not freezing or falling back onto one technique over and over. Lining up allowed nage to practice several techniques in quick succession and provided uke with the chance to watch and discuss the techniques nage performed.
Two hours of focused, attentive study later, we lined up, bowed, and expressed our gratitude. I’m writing this post a couple weeks after the fact, so other details are a little hazy. My big take away was that Aikido lives in even the remotest corners and that, like so many things, if you look for it, it is there.