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A Year in Review | Celebrating One Dojo Boulder in 2023

As we settle in to 2024 and approach the lunar new year of the wooden dragon — the most fortunate of the Japanese/Chinese zodiac signs — we wanted to slow down, look back and celebrate some of One Dojo's accomplishments of 2023.

We are deeply grateful to you, our community of practitioners, teachers, parents and supporters of One Dojo for the fantastic year 2023 was for us.

As you will see below, 2023 was a fun, full and fantastic year for One Dojo. Much dedication, positive energy and diligent love-filled labor came together to bring One Dojo to where it is today.

In 2024, our work and pouring energy will continue toward both a physically, spiritually and economically sustainable state. We don't need to be crowded. Just comfortably full enough to thrive.

To help us get there, we are looking to attract new people to join our One Dojo community. Our goal is to add about 80 new monthly recurring students across all of the disciplines and classes offered throughout the week.

We’ll need your help in spreading the word about the positive light One Dojo stands for, the myriad of traditional eastern arts classes it offers our Boulder community, and the respite from our fast-paced society our peaceful home provides.

Thanks again for keeping One Dojo in your minds and hearts.

Before we start looking back at 2023, we want to wish you a...


Happy New Year of the Wooden Dragon!

© The Japan Times | AI-generated Image

Get Ready for a Great Year!

In Japanese culture, the dragon holds a revered status as one of the most auspicious symbols, representing prosperity and good fortune. Being the only mythical and most powerful creature in the zodiac's twelve-animal lineup, the Year of the Dragon holds special significance.

Rooted in Japanese mythology, the dragon is revered as a guardian of humanity, bestowing wisdom upon those it protects.

This legendary and magical beast symbolizes honor, authority, and dignity. In Japan, it holds significance in the realms of Shintoism and Buddhism; in China, it has symbolized imperial power since ancient times.

As the most fortunate and favorable among the twelve animals, the dragon is believed to herald unparalleled opportunities. During a dragon year, individuals are said to tap into the creature’s intelligence, leadership, and capabilities, allowing them to pursue their dreams with creativity, passion, courage, and confidence.


Our One Dojo Family Grew in 2023

We Welcomed Three New Amazing Instructors!

Julia Misawa

After considering giving up teaching after the COVID pandemic, thirty-year taiko drumming veteran and accomplished Taiko drum instructor, Misawa Sensei, instead chose to restart teaching this full-body percussive art and discipline at One Dojo last year.

She studied Japanese traditional Taiko for about ten years with Taiko Master Seiichi Tanaka, who brought Taiko to the U.S. about 55 years ago when he started the San Francisco Taiko Dojo.

Misawa Sensei has been sharing Taiko in Boulder and around Colorado's Front Range with the aim to instill more compassion in our community. We're delighted to have her at One Dojo.


Arie del Valle

Looking to drench the martial arts community with her passion for yoga in 2023, certified Vinyasa Yoga instructor, aspiring life coach, and mother, Arie del Valle, sprouted her classes in Boulder at One Dojo.

Arie’s goal is to share yoga’s transformative power for personal growth, fulfillment, and inspiration through constant yoga practice.

She is dedicated to creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for yoga practitioners of all levels.

By making yoga less intimidating and more accessible, she hopes to enable others to incorporate yoga into their daily lives.

Start your day right! Join Arie's 7:30am Yoga classes here.


Mike Detweiler

After joining One Dojo and finding a rhythm practicing Aikido under Kei Izawa Sensei’s guidance last year, Mike Detweiler decided to formally begin teaching and sharing his love for Tai Chi at One Dojo Boulder.

Celebrated for its profound benefits in enhancing physical health and nurturing mental well-being, we’re thrilled to be able to offer the traditional eastern practice of Tai Chi to the community of mind-body practitioners at One Dojo.

With more than 10 years of study in Tai Chi, Mike currently also studies Aikido, Judo, and Cheng Hsin. Additionally, he teaches Judo weekly in Boulder and teaches Contact Improv dance around the country.

Sign up for Mike's next Tai Chi class here.


One Dojo Hosted Several Exciting Seminars & Events in 2023


We Kicked Off 2023 with a Return to Misogi!

Lance McClure Sensei (4th degree black belt in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido) led a joyful group of One Dojo members, spanning several disciplines, through Ki breathing, chanting, bell ringing, and cold water immersion training last January 2023.

On a frosty 25˚F Sunday morning, with a water temperature of 32˚F, surrounded and supported by many returning veterans of this intensive purification custom, many first-timers triumphed through the severely challenging conditions of the event.

River Misogi cold plunge Boulder Colorado

Sixteen courageous students from Iaido Tanshinjuku, Aikido ASU, Aikikai Tanshinjuku, and Ki Aikido — all students at One Dojo — came together to experience the powerful, age-old Japanese Shinto tradition of River Misogi, known secularly now as Sen Shin no Gyo.

This cold water practice forms part of traditional lunar new year celebrations in Japan, particularly in some Aikido lineages. It serves to cleanse the mind and body of obstacles and to wash away limitations for the coming year.

Through the decades, Rocky Mountain Ki Society members, starting in 1977, have gathered in Boulder to bring in the Chinese new year with vision, courage and determination.


Aikido University Workshop Spring 2023

On April 22nd, One Dojo had the good fortune of hosting the 2023 Aikido University Workshop.

Presenting at this workshop were Nathaniel Gilbert who leads Aikido classes at Naropa; Eric Dobbs of Boulder Aikikai, who teaches the CU Aikido Classes; and David Ruttinger of Denver Aikikai, who trains students at the Colorado School of Mines.

Aikido Boulder Seminar University Workshop

One Dojo was at capacity for this wonderful event, with about 40 participants. An great time was had by all aikidoka from different lineages and dojos. We look forward to doing it again in April of this year!


Hawaiian Martial Arts Workshop

On June 3rd, 2023 One Dojo welcomed Kumu Ramsay, Head Instructor of the Kaihewalu Lua Family System in Hawaii, for an afternoon workshop.

A group of 10 privileged students were introduced to this secretive Hawaiian martial system once thought lost to antiquity. Students had the chance to practice self-defense skills while being exposed to new ways of thinking and being present in times of uncertainty.

We look forward to inviting again Kumu Ramsey again this Spring. Save May 5th weekend to train in this unique martial art.


Kashiwaya Sensei Summer Intensive Seminar

On June 17th and 18th, One Dojo had the distinguished honor of hosting Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei, 8th degree black belt in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, Okuden in Ki Development, and Chief Instructor of Midland Ki Federation.

This marked one of Kashiwaya Sensei's last in-person seminars before his retirement at the end of 2023. The seminar was one part Instructors’ Intensive—serving to develop current and future teachers of Ki Aikido—and one part regular Aikido seminar, open to all levels and aikido affiliations.

Kashiwaya Sensei seminar Denver Colorado

He began by conducting a focused one-day workshop at Denver Ki-Aikido, designed specifically for about a dozen black belts, who had been diligently training through the long corona disruption.

All students performed well and passed their long-awaited black belt tests on the second day of Kashiwaya Sensei’s visit.

The weekend of training culminated with a packed Sunday seminar at One Dojo Boulder, open to all levels and aikido affiliations.


Peace Samurai Camps at North Boulder Park

The summer brought out more than 70 children to take part in seven lively summer camps from the end of May to August 2023.

Throughout the summer, children ages 6-14 learned to coordinate their minds and bodies to the rhythm of wooden staff and sword forms, as well as important principles of the samurai such as courage, respect and benevolence.

This year, only 4 weeks of camp will be offered! Sign up now to make sure you get the week that best suits your summer schedule.


Fall Seminar with Edgar Johansson Sensei

On November 17th One Dojo hosted our long-time friend, Edgar Johansson Sensei, 5th degree black belt in Aikikai, pioneer and organizer of the Aikido Summit in Colorado since 2001, and founder and Dojo Cho of Denver Aikikai.

Johansson Sensei invited students to explore different ways of doing tenchinage and kokyunage among several other arts throughout the day. Many advanced and beginner students, young and older, gathered to enjoy his teaching and perspective of more than 30 years.

Edgar Johansson Sensei


Bōnenkai (忘年会, "forget the year gathering")

Thanks to the energy and initiative of One Dojo’s new Taiko drumming instructor, Julia Misawa, gathered for our first ever Bonenkai on December 3rd, 2023.

More than 70 One Dojo members, families and friends came together for a festive day of food, drink, merriment and Taiko demonstrations and workshops.


One Dojo Yogis Deepened Their Practice

Victoria Guidi, hatha yoga instructor at One Dojo, has been teaching every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 to 10:30 for two and a half year now!

Victoria reflects on her students’ journeys from 2023:

I really want to acknowledge my core group of students, and my feeling experience of what you’re shining outward: More energetic grounding in body, heart, and mind. A deepening into your heart center. A strong commitment to practice. The quieting nature widening inside of the deepening. Trusting more of not only the practice, but one’s self inside of it. The energy of here-ness in asanas that is awakening and rippling out through the space. A deeper letting go. Really love practicing with you all! 


Congratulations to all Aikidoka who Advanced in Rank in 2023!

We had dozens of aikidoka who received rank promotions in 2023 across all our Aikido lineages and classes at One Dojo.

A big shout out to all the students listed below, who exemplified true perseverance and dedication to their practice this past year!

Ki Aikido dan testing

A special congratulations to Eric Neeb and Nathan Prucha of Boulder Ki Aikido for working diligently together to achieve the rank of Nidan in 2023.

Aikikai Tanshinjuku with Izawa Sensei

Michael Detweiler - 2nd Kyu

Junichi Okano - 5th Kyu

Swanee Astrid - 3rd Kyu

Zachary Epps - 6th Kyu

Sandeep Mathew - 6th Kyu

It is with deep sadness and shock that we write to you that Zachary Epps passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, January 24th. Our sincere condolences go out to everyone who knew Zach, He was a great father, friend and real estate broker. He will be greatly missed.

Ki Aikido testing


Alison Finnesy - 3rd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Alta Amberger - 3rd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

David Lotz - 4th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Devin Hughes - 2nd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Doug Donnellan - 5th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Hannah Noell - 5th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Jasmine Dancy - 3rd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Keith Connaghan - 3rd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Octave Orgeron - 3rd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Renna Weas - 3rd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Riox Frosher - 5th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Richard Schooley - 5th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Rob Bell - 4th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Steve Hughes - 1st Kyu Ki Aikido

Sarah Quenon - 2nd Kyu Ki Aikido, Chukyu Ki Development

Tara Brockman Hicks - 5th Kyu Ki Aikido, Shokyu Ki Development

Zach Vanderkooy - 4th Kyu Ki Aikido


Addison Hamilton 6C - Blue Belt

Aiden Tu 9C - Yellow Belt

Alexander Forsythe 8C - Orange Belt

Almina Dacic 8C - Orange Belt

Augustus Emberton 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Aurora Illumanardi 4A Kyu - Purple Belt w/2 Brown Stripes

Avery Bell 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Bankston Edwards 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Beau Mazal-Rider 7B - Orange Belt w/4 Blue Stripes

Charlie Kieselhorst 9A - Yellow Belt w/2 Orange Stripes

Chiara Busch 3A Kyu - Purple Belt w/5 Brown Stripes, Chukyu Ki Development

Emersen Doyen 7B - Orange Belt w/4 Blue Stripes

Emory Dayley 8C - Orange Belt

Ezra Hicks 5C Kyu - Blue Belt w/3 Purple Stripes

Greer Hunt 6C - Blue Belt

Gus Vanderkooy 9A - Yellow Belt w/2 Orange Stripes

Hamza Rucic 8A - Orange Belt w/2 Blue Stripes

Henry Verne 5C Kyu - Blue Belt w/3 Purple Stripes

Huxley Truhn 8A - Orange Belt w/2 Blue Stripes

Hyvailla Snow-Valin 8C - Orange Belt

Jack Spiegel 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Jason Ryerson 7B - Orange Belt w/4 Blue Stripes

Jayden Hughes 4A Kyu - Purple Belt w/2 Brown Stripes

Jonah Schooley 9C - Yellow Belt

Julia Stephenson 8A - Orange Belt w/2 Blue Stripes

Kaden Connaghan 9C - Yellow Belt

Kai Blew 10B - White w/1 Yellow Stripe

Kayla Hughes 6A - Blue Belt w/2 Purple Stripes, Shokyu Ki Development

Keira Bond 8C - Orange Belt

Kensho Kato 8B - Orange Belt w/1 Blue Stripe

Lars Olsen 8C - Orange Belt

Leila Mehidic 7B - Orange Belt w/4 Blue Stripes

Lennox Parham 10B - White w/1 Yellow Stripe

Levi Gratz 10B - White w/1 Yellow Stripe

Luca Lee 10B - White w/1 Yellow Stripe

Lucas Botting 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Marin Baring-Gould 8C - Orange Belt

Mikhail Skurla 5A Kyu - Blue Belt w/5 Purple Stripes, Shokyu Ki Development

Miles Lee 9C - Yellow Belt

Monroe Moritz - 3A Kyu - Purple Belt w/5 Brown Stripes, Chukyu Ki Development

Moses McDougall - 7B - Orange Belt w/4 Blue Stripes

Nate Kostishack - 5A Kyu - Blue Belt w/5 Purple Stripes

Nathan Crowther - 8A - Orange Belt w/2 Blue Stripes

Oliver Liu - 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Ösel Nyinda 1st Kyu - Brown Belt

Prima Brenn - 9C - Yellow Belt

Quintus Brenn - 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Rhodes Leuenberger - 9A - Yellow Belt w/2 Orange Stripes

Rigsang Nyinda - 9A - Yellow Belt w/2 Orange Stripes

Rio Villacorta - 8B - Orange Belt w/1 Blue Stripe

Rita Dayley - 8B - Orange Belt w/1 Blue Stripe

Rowan Toan - 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Saira Rucic - 9A - Yellow Belt w/2 Orange Stripes

Satya Villacorta - 3A Kyu - Purple Belt w/5 Brown Stripes, Chukyu Ki Development

Scott Crowther - 7A - Orange Belt w/5 Blue Stripes

Tav Betterton - 8C - Orange Belt

Wyatt Kaar - 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Yannai Falk - 10A - White w/2 Yellow Stripes

Zephyr Brody Goldstein - 10B - White w/1 Yellow Stripe

Zohar Falk 9B - Yellow Belt w/1 Orange Stripe


Highest Attendance Winners for 2023

In addition to the milestone for advancement that passing a test may serve, showing up consistently is another great way of measuring the progress one makes on the path of learning. Below are the winners for most attendances at One Dojo.

According to our attendance records, we'd like to extend special kudos to Sarah Quenon, Devin Hughes, and Riox Frosher, who motivated themselves and showed us all how to stay on track and keep up the dedication to one’'s personal practice.


Winners for Most Attendances in 2023 | Overall

GoldSarah Quenon – 385 classes attended SilverRiox Frosher – 200 classes attended BronzeDevin Hughes – 197 classes attended

Honorable mention – Alison Finnesy – 158 classes attended

Honorable mention – Renna Weas – 157 classes attended


Winners for Most Attendances | Adult Aikido

GoldSarah Quenon – 360 classes attended SilverDevin Hughes – 192 classes attended BronzeRenna Weas – 157 classes attended

Honorable mention – Eric Neeb – 124 classes attended Honorable mention – Zach Vanderkooy – 121 classes attended

Honorable mention – Rob Bell – 118 classes attended


Winners for Most Attendances | Yoga

GoldElizabeth Swartwood – 107 classes attended SilverAlison Finnesy – 96 classes attended BronzeBryce Widom – 88 classes attended

Honorable mention – Isaac Holze – 74 classes attended

Honorable mention – Riox Frosher – 61 classes attended


Winners for Most Attendances | Child Aikido

GoldMikhail Skurla – 124 classes attended

SilverGus Vanderkooy – 74 classes attended BronzeChiara Busch – 72 classes attended

BronzeAddison Hamilton – 72 classes attended

Honorable mention – Henry Verne – 67 classes attended

Honorable mention – Charlie Kieselhorst – 67 classes attended

One Dojo Passport Winner for 2023

Congratulations to Riox Frosher for being the student to reach 100 attendances in the shortest period of time in One Dojo history, as well as exploring the greatest variety of classes One Dojo has to offer – 198 classes total and 12 different disciplines attended in 2023


Reina Watanabe Sensei represented Aikikai Tanshinjuku at the 2023 World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

On October 22nd Reina Watanabe Sensei and Kei Izawa Sensei of Aikikai Tanshinjuku at One Dojo headed to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to represent Aikido in the World Combat Games.

Reina Watanabe was among many aikidoka to demonstrate at the games, while Kei Izawa Sensei had the distinct honor of serving as a narrator for this global-reaching event. This marks the first year that Aikido has been included in the World Combat Games.

Colorado Aikido Summit 2023

Colorado's annual Aikido Summit took place at the Denver Buddhist Temple once again and One Dojo was represented by two of our aikido instructors (out of 6 total teachers).

Aikido Summit 2023 Colorado

Accompanied by many One Dojo students and teachers, Kei Izawa Sensei (7th dan) and Abel Villacorta Sensei (5th dan) led an enthusiastic group of approximately 70 students at the largest Colorado aikido event to happen so far this decade!

Aikido Summit 2023 Colorado

It was a day full of wonderful energy, joyful community and passionate aikidoka. The 2023 Aikido Summit truly embodied a sense of unity and interconnectedness that One Dojo seeks to foster and promote, this year and for many years to come.

Arigato gozai mashita!

Happy New Year of the Wooden Dragon!

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