Sopris Sun pays Roaring Fork Aikikai a Visit


Sopris Sun reporter Megan Tackett, thanks for paying Roaring Fork Aikikai a visit last week.  Nice article - captures what it's like to first take an aikido class.  We like a reporter who experiences her subject matter first hand.

Some favorite parts of the article:

  • "In spite of all of my self consciousness and self deprecation, I was having a blast. And, as my body would inform me the next day, I was also getting way more of a workout than I realized in the moment. I’m definitely doing this again, I thought at the end of the class."
  • “Aikido is not about hurting somebody,” [Chief Instructor Mike Jones] emphasized. “It’s about learning how to control a situation, which ultimately I think is a much more difficult process. I’ve never needed it to [hurt somebody].”  
  • “But I also felt inspired.  Watching Jones demonstrate different movement sequences with Yerovinkina was nothing short of mesmerizing.  The fluidity of the transitions was contagious, and I felt like a puppy, tail wagging, waiting for my turn to try.”

See you next time.

Congratulations to Lucas, Haven and David on their Aikido Belt Tests!

Congratulations to Lucas for achieving 11th Kyu Yellow Belt and to David and Haven for meeting 10th Kyu Orange Belt requirements.  Excellent tests!

These guys have been coming consistently, working cooperatively with all the students, and making real progress.  Keep it up.

New students are welcome to join Kids' Classes, ages 5 to 14 - see for sign-up information.

David Haven Lucas after test cropped.jpg

Sensei Mike Jones Attains Rank of Yondan (4th Degree Black Belt)

Congratulations to Roaring Fork Aikikai Chief Instructor Mike Jones for achieving the rank of Yondan (4th Degree Black Belt), granted by the United States Aikido Federation (USAF).  Mike was invited to test during the USAF Winter Camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in November 2017. 

This was the first time in over a decade that the USAF has chosen to administer testing for the rank of Yondan.  During testing at lower ranks, students are asked to execute specific techniques which they have prepared for in advance.  At the Yondan level, test requirements are determined by the examiner at the time of examination, and the tester must be prepared to execute any technique.  The testing committee, comprised of Shihans Peter Bernath, Harvey Konigsberg and Donovan Waite, requested continuous attacks with any strike or grab from three or four ukes at a time.  The tester had to demonstrate proficiency from suwariwaza, hanmi handachi, and tachiwaza positions in response to attacks from the front and the rear.  Other requirements included koshinage, henkawaza, weapon takeaways, jo nage, and randori.

Test Excerpts:

Congratulations to Nathan on 9th Kyu!


Congratulations to Nathan for achieving 9th Kyu Green Belt.  In addition to demonstrating proficiency in the curriculum for 9th Kyu as well as 10th kyu (, Nathan's been helping out in the little kids' classes and has been active in adult classes as well.  Nice work Nathan!

Roaring Fork Aikikai joins United States Aikido Federation




Roaring Fork Aikikai (RFA) is excited to announce our acceptance as a member dojo of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF)!

Inspired by the early leadership of Shihans Yoshimitsu Yamada, Akira Tohei, Mitsunari Kanai and Seiichi Sugano, USAF now boasts a remarkable 49 Shihan who are actively teaching.  USAF is recognized by Hombu Dojo, the international aikido headquarters in Japan.  As a USAF member dojo, RFA can test its kyu-rank students according to the USAF test curriculum, and these belt ranks will be recognized throughout the USAF aikido community.  RFA black belt candidates will be invited to test for dan ranks at annual USAF events in the US in front of the USAF Technical Committee.

RFA's senior instructors Mike Jones Sensei and Chris Bergerud Sensei have studied within the USAF family throughout the US, and aspire to bring USAF's integrity and quality of teaching to the Roaring Fork Valley.  We also hope to bring some of these exceptional teachers out to Colorado so our students can experience for themselves the power and beauty of the instruction we've received.

Dojo Link:

First Live Streaming Aikido Class

Thanks for all who participated in our first Facebook Live streaming video of Roaring Fork Aikikai's Saturday Aikido class.  Over 1700 views and counting, with comments from friends watching live from Ireland, Morocco, Cyprus and Japan!

A couple highlights from class:

At approx 1:12:00 Mike Jones Sensei performs a powerful demonstration of Katatetori Nikkyo with a Tenshin opening.  This is followed at approx 1:23:00 with a very fast Henka Waza from Nikkyo, shifting the technique into a knee-drop breakfall.

Click on the Facebook icon on the video to open to allow viewing in full screen.

Welcoming C-pher to Lead the Kids' Class Program for Ages 8-14


We're very happy to announce that C-pher Bair is now leading our ages 8-14 Kids' Aikido program.  A couple years ago C-pher decided that to help build a strong aikido program in the valley, he'd just develop them from childhood!  Some of his students are now training with us and looking awesome.

Buildout nearly complete!

It's starting to feel real.  Buildout is days from completion now.  A thousand loose ends, but Mike and I took our first rolls and breakfalls on the new foam-padded plywood underfloor we built, and it felt pretty good!  Put some mats on top, we've got a dojo...  Highlights in the space are the bigassfan, which is MORE than enough to cool down the space, the backlit 'lantern' wall above the kamiza, wood paneling on the kamiza wall developed in the manner of the traditional Japanese charred cedar technique of shou sugi ban, and a sweet (!) reception desk / bar, which will get much use after class.

Thanks to the entire crew of contractors and volunteers, especially Steve DeClute, an exceptional general contractor and owner of Independent Construction Group, who has guided us each step of the way.  And thanks to Studio B Architects, who took on this little job in much part due to Design Principal Scott Lindenau's appreciation for aikido as an art form.

- Chris