AiShinKai - Harmonious Heart Association - Achieving Peak Performance in Daily Life
Self-Mastery - Character Development - Leadership - Team Management - Conflict Resolution - Global Citizenship

What's in a Name?

On October 17, 2010 our black belt members voted unanimous approval of a new name for our community: "AiShinKai - Harmonious Heart Association:"


It's always challenging to name a new organization.  This is especially true when a community is changing rapidly, expanding its vision, and striving to identify a broad new course of growth.  After prolonged consideration and consultation with Budo masters in Japan, Canada, and the United States, we narrowed the possibilities to 20 fine names.  What to do?

It was a recent tournament that provided the answer.  Our teams did so well that we were forced to re-evaluate whatmade our martial arts so special.  We hit upon the root of our practice: an emphasis on mind-body coordination dovetailed with sensitive ethics: we wanted a name that reflected our peaceful philosophy and our desire to realize each members' full potential and humanity.

Our friend, Koyama Kunihisa, an Aikido instructor in Tokyo, suggested "AiShinKai."  Combining "Ai (harmony)" of Aikido with "Shin (heart, mind, God, truth, good, or new)" and "Kai (association)" yields a beautiful name that indicates our desire to foster compassion, sincerity, and dignity in our practice and in our community.  We chose "Kai" to reflect the cooperative, more democratic structure of our organization.  In contrast to most martial arts organizations, where management is very much a top-down affair, our instructors and black belts are frequently consulted for advice and recommendations.  This is very American, and is a system that serves us very well.

My Iaido sensei, Eura Kazunori (ZNKR Iaido hachidan hanshi) of the Hajime Kai in Tokyo, often tells me that the single most important attribute of a fine Budo performance is to "show your heart."  It takes real confidence and conviction to expose oneself in the pristine and spare forms of Japanese Budo.  Every person struggles with the evils of doubt, confusion, fear, and anger.  Budo training is as much a process of purifying the heart as a means to become strong in technique and strategy.  As I often point out in AiShinKai classes, the pursuit of technique alone, and for its own sake, is itself a technical dead end.  Only when a pure heart unifies with the most efficient, elegant, and effective technique is the full potential of the practitioner revealed.  Those moments sparkle in clarity.  Eura sensei calls these performances "movement of the gods."

As a 30-year Aikido student, my whole being is committed to the profound non-violence encoded in that art.  Every aspect of my life - from Board room to martial art - is shaped and colored by a sensibility that strives for personal excellence, yet admires empowerment that never needs to come at another's expense.  The highest form of Budo is surely to win without fighting.  Finding Ai-Ki - spiritual harmony - within ourselves, and in all our dealings with the world, is a compelling theme of training in our organization.  For this reason, the name "AiShinKai" describes the highest ambitions and ideals of our community.  It is perfect.

- Dr. Jonathan Bannister, AiShinKai  Founder & President

Ai-Shin (Harmonious Heart), Toku wa ko narazu (virtue never lacks companions) by Dr. Jonathan Bannister, AiShinKai Founder & President

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Socially-Engaged Martial and Cultural Artists Make a
Difference By Serving the Community
The non-profit Pacific Northwest Budo Association
(PNBA) supports and fosters appreciation for Japanese
martial arts and traditional culture
through cooperative programming, fund
raising, and community service.

Aishinkai maintains a drug- and alcohol-free environment.  We do not discriminate
in the administration of our programs based on race, creed, color, religious
affiliation, gender, or in any other way prohibited by law or common sense.

Offering local and nation-wide education in Self-Mastery, Mind-Body Coodination, Leadership Development, Conflict Resolution, and Team Management, as well as the Japanese martial and cultural arts of AiShin-Ryu Aikido, Iaido, Aiki-ken, Aiki-jo, Kyudo, Kiatsu Ryoho, Bonsai, Shodo, and Ikebana.  Locally serving the communities of Seattle, Everett, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, and Edmonds, WA.

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