Youth Program Classes suspended as of 3/12/20

Thu, Mar 12, 2020 - 12:00am to 12:00am

March 12, 2020: At its deepest roots Aikido is a profound practice of the study of space both around us and inside us. In kids class just the other day we talked about the Japanese term “ma-ai”. When asked what that means the children answered “spatial awareness!” That is how we define it on the purple belt demonstration sheet. But I went on to ask them what it meant literally. “Ma” means “space” and is widely understood in japanese aesthics to be the empty space between objects, a necessary space to be able to see the intrinsic beauty of the “whole”. What does “ai” mean? I asked. “Love, harmony” they answered. I also pointed out that it means “joining” or “blending”. So, in essence, ma-ai means “harmonious space” or “joining space”.

In the face of our current circumstances, our “ma-ai” is shifting. We need to create more space for the health of our selves and our community so that we may prosper together in the long run. To that end, we are suspending our Youth Program classes beginning Thursday, March 12 and running through Saturday, March 28th. This is not something we do lightly. Community is extremely important to our health as human beings. Together we show up to class and practice acceptance, community, egalitarianism and generosity. Both exercise and community support a healthy immune response.

Another thing we study deeply is being in the present moment. That means we need to be nimble. The situation is changing rapidly and we need to be present for every shift. We plan on resuming our youth program classes on Monday, March 30th. We will update you as the situation unfolds.

In the meantime, teens are welcome to join any adult class as long as they and their families are comfortable with their attendance. To maintain an appropriate “social distance” in adult classes, we will be the studying the practices that form the basis of Aikido: walking stick, staff and sword. This will create some appropriate ma-ai for the moment we are experiencing. Standard hand washing, the wiping of surfaces and cleaning the weapons after every class will be our standard misogi or “purification” practice.

Once we are through the worst of this we will be offering as many ways to make-up classes as possible. Weather permitting, I will be offering a stick class to students in a local park.

Stay tuned and thank you for your ongoing support.

Sara and Kimberly Senseis


March 6, 2020:  A note from Gina Lagalbo, MD
3rd degree Black Belt at Two Cranes

Information changes fast. We have all been inundated by news about the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, some of it very frightening. Seattle has become ground zero for community spread of COVID-19, so we are the first in the US to have to navigate a real concern for our vulnerable friends and family members, including telecommuting, potential school closures, and recommendations that people at high risk for infection avoid excessive public exposure. What does this all mean for us at Two Cranes? I would like to provide some practical information which may help us to be safe while continuing to live our lives.

The majority of healthy people who contract COVID-19 will be fine. Most will have symptoms similar to any other cold or flu, including fever, cough, and other respiratory symptoms. Most will recover uneventfully with supportive care and rest. Contact your doctor or care provider with any concerns, but most otherwise healthy people with symptoms should stay home, rest, hydrate, and avoid contact with other people. That means no training, no school, no work, no movies (Netflix is a-okay!), no public transportation. Most clinics, the WA Department of Health, and the CDC all have frequently updated websites with more information (please see links below).

Some people will need treatment. Those with a high fever or more serious respiratory symptoms should contact their care provider right away for guidance about where they should go for evaluation. Most clinics have established locations specifically for COVID-19 evaluation in order to maximize care and minimize transmission. Unless you are very ill, call before going to the emergency room. They are currently very busy and are not optimal places for infection containment. Call your doctor or provider for guidance.

Those that are most vulnerable are the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and those with other illnesses (chronic lung problems, diabetes, cancer, etc). While data is limited, pregnant women are also considered at increased risk. People in these groups need to be cautious and should consider avoiding large public gatherings (groups more than 10 people), work from home if possible, and in general stay home for their protection. Now may not be a good time to visit vulnerable people but do stay in contact! Call, facetime, write a letter, deliver a home cooked meal or cookies to their door.

Happily, healthy children and adolescents are not considered at increased risk for more serious infection. The vast majority of kids will have mild infections and recover quickly. That means that they will have lots of energy if schools close and they need to stay home. If your child is ill, they should not go to school, train at TCA, or participate in other group activities. Call your doctor or provider for healthcare guidance. If they are not ill, there have been no recommendations to stay home from school or avoid activities.

Two Cranes Aikido has always been a strong community. Even in uncertain times it is important to exercise our bodies and minds, and to maintain a connection with those around us. If you have to self-isolate, please take care. Call and facetime your friends, walk in the park at off hours, exercise at home, do a puzzle, collect plum blossoms and create a bouquet. The dojo will be here when you are well. Contact your doctor or care provider with any health concerns.

Wishing you all good health.
Pregnancy and COVID-19
Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities
Resources and recommendations from the WA State Dept of Health

General recommendations to avoid the spread of any respiratory infections, including COVID-19 include:

  1. Wash your hands! Use soap and warm water, and wash for 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  2. Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose and eyes. Wash your hands if you do.
  3. To avoid infection spread in the dojo, cough into your elbow or a tissue, then dispose of the tissue and wash your hands. Aikido is an intimate art. We train in community and touch is part of training.
  4. Do not train if your are sick.
  5. Wash your hands as described above before and after training, if you touch your face or if you use the bathroom.
  6. Avoid the use of cloths to wipe your face or blow your nose on the mat. Instead, step off of the mat, wipe or blow into a tissue, throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  7. Wipe down weapons with antiseptic wipes before and after use. As part of its cleaning regimen, TCA will also be regularly cleaning weapons and other common use objects in the dojo.
  8. Watch class! If you are nervous about physical contact, you can learn a lot by watching.

March 3, 2020:  In light of the rapidly changing issues regarding the recent spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Seattle area, we want to share with you what Two Cranes is currently doing and additional steps we will take should they be needed. The health and safety of our community is of paramount importance and what we practice everyday on the mat at the dojo.

We are closely monitoring reports released by the CDC and King County Department of Health regarding this virus and will make decisions based on these reports with our community in mind. We will notify our families of potential closure by email and social media and provide information about makeup class options.  If we are notified of a student who has been exposed to COVID-19, we will immediately email our community and make decisions regarding the next steps for school closure, disinfecting, and other recommended protocols. If you have any underlying health issues please use your discretion about attending class.

We appreciate all of your efforts to prevent the spread of illness, including keeping yourself or your children at home if they are experiencing cold and flu symptoms. If you believe you or your child has been exposed to, or has symptoms of Coronavirus, regardless of whether that person has attended class at the dojo, please notify Kimberly Richardson or Sara Gerhart Snell at their confidential emails: or

Because our practice involves close personal contact, we have always asked students to wash their hands particularly during the flu season. Now this is the policy before stepping on the mat and as we leave the dojo. Hand washing is more effective (at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water) than using hand sanitizer. That being said, we will maintain our stock of hand sanitizer at the dojo entrance, but please be aware that for hand sanitizer to be effective, the hands need to be thoroughly coated and the sanitizer needs to be allowed to evaporate off, rather than being wiped. Within the dojo we regularly clean surfaces that we touch, doors, sinks, computer keyboards to help slow potential spread of viruses. 

If you would like more information about Coronavirus, please click here for the Washington State Department of Health's fact sheet. As always, please reach out with any questions, thoughts or concerns. Our staff email addresses are posted on our website but you can also email Kimberly or Sara at any time.

Take care of yourself and your families -- be well!