Dojo Cho (chief instructor) Sensei Reitan
Sensei Reitan began marital arts training in 1980, in Okinawa, Japan while serving in the USAF. At that time, he chose to immerse himself in a multitude of martial arts styles. However, he was drawn to the Japanese arts because of their complexity, structure and discipline. From 1980 to 2004, he trained extensively in nine different styles of martial arts, but eventually found himself drawn to Aikido, the Way of Harmony. Between 1982 and 1998 he also participated in endurance athletics such as cycling, speed skating, X-C skiing and Biathlon (skiing and marksmanship).
Sensei Reitan understood that discipline, diligence and hard work was required in everything he did. By the mid-1990s, he had competed in and won several national titles and tried out for two Olympic teams. During that time he also earned Yodansha (black belt ranks) in Aikido, two styles of Aiki JuJutsu, and classic Japanese Jujutsu. Every challenge and success he experienced has made him who he is. In 1999, he opened his first Aikido dojo. Through Aikido, he found a way to impart the wisdom and experience he’d gained from all other martial art styles, as well as his athletic adventures in a non-competitive way. The practice of Aikido requires great discipline and dedication; it assists us in understanding the value in everything. Through Aikido, we learn to understand the value of obstacles in our path, even an aggressor who may mean us harm. Aikido teaches us compassion and the ability to seek beauty and good in everything and everyone.
As a Licensed Massage Therapist, a Sound Healing practitioner and a practitioner of Aikido, Gaia has always honored the importance of flow and harmony within all systems of the body.
Gaia had an introduction at the age of 4 to Karate through training with her father. As a young adult, she missed martial arts in her life and went on the search for the art that would assist her in being a better and more complete person. Gaia trained in Karate, Jujutsu and then landed the precious art of Aikido. She fell in love with Aikido and the teacher, (haha) and now dedicates herself to the art and study of Aikido.
It’s her practice and has been her practice for the past 4 years. Aikido touches every aspect of her life and through this study, she feels so much gratitude for all that it brings to her in her relationship with all things. Gaia feels she has grown as a human being through this study with Sensei Reitan and she wishes to share this growth with all that are willing. Aikido has forever changed Gaia’s life, she feels so fortunate to have such a masterful instructor. Gaia finds that just being in Sensei Reitan’s presence and under his leadership has motivated her to be the best possible example of compassion, kindness, and truth. It has also increased her ability to work with all that cross her path through harmony.
Gaia looks forward to seeing you on the mat, for it is the great inner journey!
Senpai (Senior Student) Pierson Prutzman
Pierson began studying Aikido at the age of 15 under Sensei Reitan. He’s been practicing for 11 years and has found that Sensei Reitan has the best understanding of Aiki, (the harmonizing of energy) that he’s been able to find throughout his work and experience. He’s found that learning Aikido has allowed him to understand how to harmonize in all areas of his life.
Pierson likes to teach because he believes it is not separate from learning. In fact, he finds that when one is teaching a new person, it causes you to look at things differently and causes one to learn in a different way.
Pierson currently teaches the morning basics class, and he teaches the 5th Kyu test preparation class. He works on teaching the pre-arranged movements, or forms that constitute some of the early levels of Aikido knowledge.
Albert started studying Aikido at 16 years old in Bend Oregon, where he grew up. He trained with Sensei Reitan for approximately 6 years in Oregon before the Sensei left on his journey to find the best place to settle in the USA.
A few years after the beginning of his practice, Albert participated in a special program called, Uchi Deshi. The Uchi Deshi program is a demanding apprenticeship program traditional to martial arts dojos. Uchi Deshi literally translates to “inside student” and it usually involves a group of 3 students who live and train intensively at the dojo.
Albert had an absolute blast as an Uchi Deshi. Although he was exhausted by the end of the program, he made memories he’ll never forget and greatly furthered his skills in Aikido. Once the program was over, he immediatly decided to move up to Sandpoint in order to continue practicing with Sensei Reitan.
Since he was young, one of Albert’s passions has been the study of metaphysics, he combines this with his deep dedication to the path of Aikido. Albert’s currently working on strengthening his Aiki (harmony) through allowing himself to be more serious, even though he has a bubbly and welcoming energy.
Albert has helped to construct three dojos over the course of his practice. Two dojos in Bend, Oregon and one in Sandpoint, Idaho. Albert currently teaches the Tuesday 6 Kyu course for those who want to take the first test in Aikido Kyu system. Albert also teaches ASL and hikes in his free time.