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Proof of COVID vaccination + booster and well-fitting masks
are required for participation in dojo classes and events.

For Members

October 2021

Dear Students of the Dojo,

It’s been just a little over a week ago that I received a message from Kenneth Baker’s wife Tonia saying that Kenneth had died in her arms that morning. She said it was the first message she sent:

“Aikido and the dojo was Kenneth’s priority.”

Hearing this felt stunning.

Kenneth was well known in the art world. He was the art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle for several decades, and he wrote a number of books about art. Kenneth was invited to review art shows and give talks all over the world: Tokyo, London, Beijing, Seoul, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Kyoto, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin.

And it was Aikido that he prioritized!

Kenneth trained for several decades with David O’Neill, chief instructor of Aikido In, located in the Sunset District. In March of 2005, when that dojo closed, Kenneth chose to continue his practice in our dojo. What an honor this was for Heart of San Francisco.

Especially now, with the light of his lifeforce redirected, Kenneth’s gifts to our dojo seem like gems left sparkling all around us. A student who attended Kenneth's classes regularly over the years expressed the overall contribution that Kenneth made to students in our dojo and to Aikido at large:

“...His emphasis on the minimal routinely led to the infinite. From the basics he somehow revealed the kaleidoscopic. He seamlessly blended a focus on corporeal mechanics, visceral sensitivity, and energetic channeling. From that he modeled for me an attitude, outlook, and spirit that extended far beyond the Aikido mat and into real life...”

Indeed, Kenneth’s first book was on Minimalist art, as Tonia told us at the memorial class we held a few days after Kenneth died. When I heard this, I instantly understood so much more about Kenneth, his teaching, and his practice.

Tonia and Kenneth shared a life characterized by minimalism. Their life reflected their values about what mattered, and what didn’t. They didn’t accumulate wealth. Their home was sparse. They were renters for most of their lives. They spent evenings together, reading and discussing philosophy. They lived together simply and happily.

Kenneth’s gifts to us over the years endure in the dojo – in how we settle ourselves before starting class, in how we seek to remain both calm and alert in our practice. How we tune in to the felt experience of Aikido. And in the atmosphere of kindness, non-judgment, and acceptance that he created around him.

Now is a time to renew our appreciation of all the many people we’ve touched and who have touched us during our time of training. They have made it possible for us to pursue the partnered practice of Aikido.

We can also extend our gratitude to non-Aikidoists in our lives. It is these others – friends and family members - who have also made it possible for us to practice Aikido. Re-arranging family schedules, encouraging us to continue during periods of self-doubt, coming to the dojo to watch us taking an exam...

I thank Tonia for supporting and encouraging Kenneth’s practice of Aikido. Together, they have given much to the world.

Aikido is literally passed hand to hand. Kenneth stands in that eternal line with us now, as ever. Lineage flows in both directions - I learn from my students as well as my teachers, from those who came before me, and from those who have come after, even recently.

The giving and receiving is ongoing.


"The secret of Aikido is to cultivate a spirit of love and protection for all living things." ~ Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei, Founder of Aikido

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Donate to help maintain the dojo during the COVID-19 crisis

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Other monthly rates for those experiencing financial challenges

As we continue to train during this coronavirus pandemic, please continue to pay your dojo dues as best you can. If you are unable to pay the reduced or full monthly dues and need to pay less, please choose an amount you can afford.

Please pay what you are able:

Pay by Check

You may also use checks to pay dojo dues. Most people sending checks do so via their online banking service, arranging for the checks to arrive about 5 days before the first day of the month. Checks should be sent to our mailing address:

Heart of San Francisco Aikido
3041 Mission Street #125
San Francisco, CA 94110

Dojo Classes & Events

Proof of vaccination and well-fitting masks are required for participation in dojo classes and events.

Aikido Terms Glossary

The practice of Aikido uses many Japanese words and phrases. This glossary is a brief introduction to some of the terms you will learn in your practice at our dojo.

Guidelines for Kyu and Shodan Exams

Remember there are guidelines - use them to aid your practice.

Review the exam guidelines >

On a test, you may be asked to demonstrate techniques which are not on this list. For that, the only preparation is to train regularly.

Dan Essays

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