View Full Version : Great N. Ca. Dojos?

Please visit our sponsor:

06-19-2000, 10:03 PM
Hi There,
I may be moving to N Ca. later this year. I was wondering if I could get some recommendations on great dojos in various areas? I've checked out the dojo search, but obviously there are quite a few dojos in N Ca. (anywhere from Monterrey to Marin County including the East Bay)

While I enjoy many styles of Aikido, I'm really looking for a fairly traditional Aikikai dojo which teaches suwari-waza, hanmi handachi, as well as standing techniques, kumi jo/tachi, and jo/tachi dori. I'm looking for a place that offers classes at least 5 days a week, and one with an outstanding sensei (probably godan or higher, although there are some great sandans out there . . .).

I'm fairly flexible as to location since quality of dojos would be one of my first criteria in choosing a location (how lucky can you get :->), although accss to the ocean and to San Jose or San Francisco (not daily) will be important.

Any input/ideas would be appreciated. And I'm not suggesting the above spec is a "good" dojo. I've trained in a range of dojo's including Tomiki - its just what I'm personally looking for at my "home" dojo.

Thanks in advance,

06-21-2000, 09:30 AM
There's a whole host of great dojo in the San Francisco area. The Bay Area has probably the highest concentration of aikido dojo in the United States with at least a few dozen dojo within an hour's drive.

The best thing for you to do, I would say, would be to go and visit as many of the dojo as you can at the beginning. It sounds like you have enough experience to ask the right questions and look for the right "stuff" at the dojo. I could give you personal recommendations, but they would be based on my own experience in the art which is undoubtedly different from yours.

Heck -- you could be like me and just dojo hop for a while in the area. I can say that I didn't encounter any dojo there who didn't welcome me in during the time I wandered around...

Good luck! Let us know what you find.

-- Jun

Mike Collins
06-22-2000, 04:37 PM
I train in the Bay Area now, and I would strongly recommend you do just that: Dojo-hop. There is a lot of GREAT Aikido here, but the divergence of teachers is equal to the quality. (and sadly, they seldom see eye-to-eye)

Train around a lot, cause many of these teachers have people under them who teach, and they may or may not reflect the main teacher.

06-23-2000, 12:18 AM
I'm a NorCal guy as well and currently train in one main dojo and a common site in 2 others. I agree with the rest. Train them all.

By the way, the breadth of distance you've mentioned is huge, well over a hundred miles and at 5:00 oclock or so, you won't be getting anywhere fast. I currently commute 55 minutes to where I train and I don't fight traffic. I want to move but don't want a $500/mo rent increase either.

Where you live and work will probably greatly affect where you train.

07-06-2000, 02:35 AM
Yep.. I'm a NorCal guy (though we're sometimes called the central coast) I currently train near home and work an hour away and I'm planning to begin training in the (very good) dojo near my workplace in addition to my current choice.

There's no such thing as too much of a good thing... in moderation, of course. :-)


07-06-2000, 07:45 AM
I have read George Leonard's books "Mastery" and "The Way of Aikido--Life Lessons from an American Sensei."

In my opinion, there is no way in hell Aikido of Tamalpais is anything less than a wonderful and true sanctuary (dojo).

If I'm ever in the mood to hike 3000+ miles from Miami to California, wearing my gi and wielding a misogi-no-jo, I will most certainly check it out. Or maybe I'll find a faster means of transportation 8).

Here's a small haiku I wrote, modified slightly, it is not directed towards Leonard Sensei, but if he reads it too that's cool with me.

When pissed at the world 8(
Consider the ladybug 8D
Flawless, yet humble 8)

07-06-2000, 08:23 AM
dbgard wrote:
In my opinion, there is no way in hell Aikido of Tamalpais is anything less than a wonderful and true sanctuary (dojo).

It's a great dojo. I still consider it my "home" dojo in the Bay Area.

However, there are at least a few dozen dojo in the area within an hour's drive, many of them really good as well. As I've said before, I would try to check out as many of them as I can.

-- Jun

07-09-2000, 04:49 PM
Hi, there. We are incredibly fortunate within the Bay Area having lots of excellent dojo with high ranking sensei of various affiliations plus some unaffiliated places...I'll put in a plug for my home dojo :-) San Francisco Aikikai which is USAF Eastern Region affiliated with a head instructor who stresses technical proficiency and has a real love of the art.
I would agree with those who recommend checking out several places before you make a final decision as the "culture" varies dojo to dojo--chacun a son gout.