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About Our Dojo

Dedicated To Excellence

Mumonkan-Do Aikido of California was formally established in June 1990, though its development began in the mid-1980s. Our intention was to embrace and maintain the original meaning and purpose of the Japanese martial ways in general, and Aikido in particular (as understood and set forth by the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba). We, at Mumonkan-Do Aikido, feel, after 35+ years, that we have succeeded in our desired undertaking.

Feeling satisfied that we had done what we set out to do, as of June, 2021, all Mumonkan-Do Instructors have retired from teaching. Sensei McBratney retired from teaching in 1996 in order to spend more time with his developing family. (He now has a wife and 6 children.) Sensei Brooks retired from teaching in 2005 due to his wife’s job transfer, which entailed them moving out of state. Senpai Okuma, after 13 straight years of teaching, retired in June 2018 to care for his aging mother. And, after 37 years of dedicated teaching, Parker Sensei (Senior instructor at Mumonkan-Do Aikido) retired in June 2021.

Most of her time is now spent seeing private clients in her healing practices, developing Mindfulness Courses, and continuing to pass on Zen and Aikido in other forums.

For an overview of the Instructor Lineage of our dojo, click here.

If you would like to get a feel for Mumonkan-Do Aikido, we invite you to watch our short video tributes. Click here to do so.

Students Kneeling

  • We were independent. We were not affiliated with a particular Aikido association or federation. Although these organizations may have their merits, they tend to introduce politics into the dojo. We strongly felt that politics do not belong in the dojo and, for this reason, we opted to remain independent.
  • We firmly believe in the oneness of all religions, and we welcomed individuals from all religious backgrounds and spiritual traditions.
  • We focused on the cultivation of the mind and spirit through physical training. We viewed the physical techniques as means to an end, rather than as ends in themselves. The end is the cultivation of the mind and spirit, as well as the ultimate realization of the universal principle of harmony.
  • We taught in a manner that helped students to attain a high degree of effectiveness in terms of their ability to defend themselves. But we also taught in a manner that incorporated the philosophical and spiritual aspects of the art. This, in turn, gave the student a more profound understanding of Aikido.
  • We cultivated the martial virtues as part of our training. The Samurai warriors of Feudal Japan lived their lives according to the code of Budo, which encourages the development of rectitude, courage, benevolence, courtesy, sincerity, honor, and loyalty. These virtues are as important now as they were centuries ago.

A Basic Movement: Elbow Power #2

  • Our training methods helped lead the students to oneness of body and mind. By diligently practicing the techniques, the body gradually comes to move in accordance with the wishes of the mind. Ultimately, the student comes to move his or her body freely and unself-consciously. There is no gap between the movement of the mind and that of the body.
  • We strived to achieve our mission not only through our training methods, but also by providing information and inspiration through handouts and books. We offered a syllabus which was comprised of various articles and anecdotes. This syllabus was designed to give students an enhanced understanding of martial art training in general and Aikido training in particular. Also available is a book written by the head instructor, Parker Sensei, titled In Search of Harmony.
  • Because we are dedicated to preserving the original purpose and meaning of the Japanese martial arts, we have always kept our standards high. All of our instructors had a minimum of 20 years training in the Art of Aikido. The head instructor has over 30 years of experience. Additionally, rank was not easily earned; nor was rank the guaranteed result of testing. The testing process developed physical skill; this, however, was only one aspect of rank achievement. Strong emphasis was also placed on the student's attitude, depth of character, compassion, inner strength, and courage. Students were not required to obtain rank. Indeed, students were highly discouraged from pursuing rank as a mean of ego aggrandizement.

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