About the Teacher
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 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.
This is how Sensei Reitan views aikido today.
Sensei Reitan has trained, and taught Aiki since 1980, both as a Martial practice as well as practice for self reflection, self awareness and personal self-defense. In Sensei’s words, he has recently stated that at this point in his life the idea of training Aikido as a martial practice is counter intuitive. Aikido is literally designed to create a better and more complete person who in turn can exist in harmony with himself or herself as well as with the greater community and the world.
Sensei Reitan views a violent heart as a character flaw. This flaw is inherent in the human condition or collective program. It is best for all if we practice non-violence and do no harm, this is the only way we can neutralize this condition. Sensei Reitian’s teachings and practice of Aikido has moved completely into the realm.
Study of the Internal Arts
The practice of Tenchi Ki (bridging energy between heaven and earth). It is designed to assist the student to develop and access more ki (life-force) energy. This will also enhances the student’s awareness of the body/mind connection. Class Benefits: This class will assist you in improving your focus, circulation, strength and flexibly. Instructors: Sensei Reitan
Aikido – “Way of Harmony”
Aikido means a way of harmony … harmonizing with your environment … a way of life,” said Sensei. “The ‘ai’ means harmony, ‘ki’ means ‘chi or prana,’ ‘do,’ means ‘the path.’ It is literally three words put into one that can be translated in multiple ways, but ultimately meaning a path to harmony. It can be harmony with all things, or yourself… it depends on the level of consciousness… first we have to be aware of who we are. Aikido is non-competitive. It’s all about letting the ego fall away. What draws one to aikido is the humility, compassion and learning the essence of self.
Aikido/Aiki is described as the way of harmony, the practice of Aikido naturally brings awareness too oneself on a physical, mental and emotional level.
It brings more awareness to ones physical surroundings and assists us in becoming more in harmony with our surroundings as well as those who share our surroundings. It can be practiced as an effective martial art or it can be experienced as self awareness/spiritual exercise. It is easy to see and express Aikido in relation to many of the great spiritual traditions, it can also present itself as an effective means for self defense when required.
In my 2 years of practicing Aikido with Sensei Reitan here in Sandpoint, I have always felt individually appreciated and encouraged to excel. I personally needed that. I enjoy each and every workout – which are always different – you never know what to expect. Its always a new and exciting learning experience.
Sensei Reitan is such an excellent teacher. You can here a pin drop in the dojo when he is demonstrating, because everyones attention is wrapped up, due to the most obvious mastery that is unfolding in front of us. We are unbelievably blessed to have this world class Sensei here in our little Sandpoint, ID!
This softer Martial Art is soooo much easier on my 62 year old body than Karate used to be – and it evokes deeper more spiritual feelings/awarenesses out of me.
I love “finding the holes” that come with learning how the body of my partner (Uke) “wants” to move (rather than me using my force against him/her). I’ve discovered that I’m actually growing spiritually – while getting great exercise – and experiencing a wonderful sense of community here in the Sandpoint dojo – all at the same time! What a blessing!
When I first entered the dojo, I immediately felt welcomed. Sensei Reitan, Gaia, and Pierson hold the space at the dojo to create a safe, loving, and fun environment for all ages to come roll around on the mat. I am very grateful to the dojo and its community. Since I’ve been practicing aikido, I have noticed a higher sense of confidence, stability, balance, calmness, and maturity. My awareness has grown and I’m in general more present in my everyday affairs.
My name’s Zac, I’m 18 years old and have been taking classes at the dojo for over a year now. I’m extremely content with my decision to start learning Aikido. It not only opened other doors (like chi classes and self-defense classes), but it has improved my mood and the way I interact with the world. I was searching for a more spiritual practice, and I landed in the right place. The atmosphere is friendly and encouraging, and allows you to learn more about yourself.
Aikido with Sensei Reitan, has had a powerful impact on my life. It has challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually in ways that I could never have comprehended before I began training. As a result, Aikido has facilitated my growth as a person, and has allowed me to connect with others in a way I would otherwise never have been able to achieve.
“We discovered the dojo by happy accident in the fall of 2015, and it has become one of the reasons we have stayed in Sandpoint. The positive energy and love that emanate from Sensei Reitan and Gaia his wife, is infectious.
The dojo community that they have built has become like family, and we cherish the opportunities to thrive together. When I saw the growth in my children (ages 7, 10, 16) after only a few months in the dojo, I wanted to become an aikidoka (student of aikido). My husband also joined the dojo, and our family is growing together as we play and practice on the mat.
All the dojo students, young and old, have varying levels of ability and awareness, and we are all being challenged together…we learn from each other in a welcoming, safe, respectful environment. And we are blessed by the wisdom and expertise of Sensei Reitan, who exhibits a gentleness, grace and a calm that belies his incredible strength, speed and martial mastery. His teachings are both simple and complex on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
The art and practice of aikido is a multi-layered experience that speaks to every aspect of our lives…it is exquisitely graceful and exceptionally practical, it touches heart, body and mind. Learning the ancient art, craft and heart of the samurai is incredibly meaningful, and practicing on the mat at the dojo is also great fun!”
“Never having taken a martial art class until age 64, I was intimidated at first. However, increased agility, flexibility and improved balance are some the rewards of this discipline. One could not find a more supportive or encouraging atmosphere. Sensei Reitan, Gaia and Pierson are true professionals in addition to being kind and loving beings!”