Seminar with Mary Heiny Sensei!

You are cordially invited to a Spring Seminar at Vermont Aikido with
Mary Heiny Sensei, 6th dan


Classes and activities:
Friday May 15: evening class 6-8pm
Saturday May 16: 10am-noon & 2:30-4:30pm
Pizza and potluck social from 6-8pm
Sunday May 17:  morning class 10:00am-Noon

Full weekend paid pre-registration $110 / $120 at the door
Friday $40 / Saturday two classes $70 / Sunday $50

This year’s seminar continues with the theme of Takemusu Aiki. All classes will be in Vermont Aikido dojo space this year, and we must limit class attendance to 25 persons. This is in consideration of the mat space available, as well as the desire to allow each student the opportunity of receiving Mary’s unique and insightful teaching. If you are interested in broadening and deepening your Aikido practice, and in sharing instruction with this wonderful teacher, please consider attending this seminar. All levels of practice and affiliations welcome!

Advance notice of intention to attend is encouraged so that we can manage the mat space fairly for each class; pre-registration at the advance rate may be by check or money order made out to Vermont Aikido and mailed to the dojo at 274 North Winooski Ave., Burlington VT 05401.

Private Lessons available by arrangement with sensei; please refer to the attached flyer for more information. Contact Mary Heiny directly at shinkokyu at

(Contact Vermont Aikido about this seminar on our website,

An Introduction to Vermont Aikido

[This post was written by the chief instructor of Vermont Aikido, Aaron Ward.)

I was asked to write the first post for the dojo’s new blog, and I thought that there is no place better to start then a brief history of Vermont Aikido. Like most dojos, in the early years Vermont Aikido was more of an idea than an actual dojo. Upon his return from Japan in 1971, Terry Dobson Sensei began teaching Aikido classes. The location and membership varied greatly in the early years. Dobson Sensei would often hold class in a field near UVM, with a picture of O-Sensei propped up against a muddy boot for a Shomen.

At this time Dobson Sensei was traveling between Vermont and New York City. In New York Dobson Sensei lived with Ken Nisson Sensei, and at first neither knew that the other practiced Aikido. When they discovered that each practiced Aikido, they started teaching together, founding both Vermont Aikido and the Bond St. Dojo in the space of about two years. Vermont Aikido found a home at the Burlington YMCA.

But by the beginning of the 80’s Terry Dobson Sensei had moved to California, and Nisson Sensei had moved back to New York City and the Bond St. Dojo. Hue Young became the chief instructor of Vermont Aikido, and it is important to mention a number of people who were instrumental to the continued success of the dojo at this time: Leslie Russek, who facilitated testing in the dojo through ASU; and Ed Pincus, who offered the use of his home for seminars, allowing the dojo to invite instructors from out of town.

When the dojo had to move from the YMCA Hue Young led the effort to find a new space. In time, Vermont Aikido moved to its present location on North Winooski Ave. During the mid 80’s Dobson Sensei returned from California, resuming his teaching at Vermont Aikido. By 1992 Hue Young decided to leave Vermont Aikido. As the dojo was preparing for his departure, Terry Dobson passed away while on a trip to California. This left the dojo without a clear direction, and was the beginning of my leadership history with the dojo. I began leading not because I desired to lead, but the reality was that there was no one left. If I was to continue my Aikido training I had to lead the dojo. In 1995 the dojo approached Ken Nisson to return as chief instructor, which he accepted. Nisson Sensei held this position until 2001, when he moved to Modesto, California, becoming the chief instructor of the Modesto dojo. Upon Ken Nisson’s departure I became the chief instructor of Vermont Aikido.

A dojo’s real history is not names or dates, but the people who train on the mat day-in-day-out. A dojo only exists becuse of the sacrifices made by its members. I find reassurance in the fact that, after more than 40 years, there is still a Vermont Aikido and, more importantly, people who still believe in it.