MWA returned to our regular schedule of Gasshuku (special training session) for 2021.  The continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations throughout our respective counties and State of Montana along with our own precautions has allowed this to occur.  We successfully conducted 3 “live” in-person events during the year beginning in February and ending in October.    We are pleased to report that all activities received great participation, excellent feed back in terms of educational information presented and importantly without a single incident of COVID transmission.  Just a few sore muscles and loss of cobwebs from inactivity among our participants!

Mountain West Aikido has locations in Billings and Livingston Montana. We are an accredited Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU) dojo affiliated with the International Aikikai – Hombu Japan. All are welcome to participate at our Gasshuku (special training session), regardless of experience.  MWA events have become known for their intimate size and personalized interaction with quality instructors.  Plan to join us next year, 2022 for an even more robust schedule of events!  

Note that all our sessions have a participant limit due to safety and space considerations – 




This first event of 2021 brought together a weekend (February 27 & 28, 2021) of exceptional training.  Head instructors of Two Rivers Aikido and Zen Center (California Aikido Association) and Mountain West Aikido (Aikido Schools of Ueshiba) combined their talents for a small but wonderful group of students.  Participants were treated to a “round robin” of instruction from Tony Blomert, Scott Brady, Mark Leitzel and Leigh Schickendantz.  A variety of insights on Irmi Tenkan (entry & turning) were explored.  

This was a highly successful event with a unique instruction format, mix of participants from age 8 up to senior practitioners, a tremendous Shodan (black belt) ranking demonstration, live blade knife “take aways”, and all while following (COVID-19) safe protocols.  Thank you to everyone for coming out and taking the initial plunge into live hands on training!  Also our most sincere appreciation for Two Rivers Aikido Kalispell for hosting the event at their wonderfully appointed facility and Dr. Dana Ducote for opening her home for Saturday evening’s community gathering








July 30 – August 1, 2021

Billings, MT

John Messores – 7th dan

John Messores Shihan made a return visit to Montana to instruct another packed weekend seminar.  The sessions were filled with energetic aikido and for many participants was the first opportunity in over 18 months to train in-person again. We were treated to an intense weekend of martial concepts and movements lead by Mitsugi Saotome’s (Founder of ASU) longest and most gifted student.  Messores sensei is among the most experienced and highest ranked martial artists in the U.S.

The event was held at the MWA Billings dojo, housed in the historic Woolworth’s building in downtown Billings. The large open space facility provided a unique environment for this “SOLD OUT” seminar had participants from all the Montana dojo and as people from as far away as Denver!  We thank you all for your participation and to Messores Shihan for taking the time and interest to continue his instruction.

John Messores Seminar 2021







FALL Friendship Workshop

October 2021

Helena, MT

Helena Aikido (Kumano Jyuku Dojo, Shingu, Wakayama ken, Japan) hosted the Fall MWA one day workshop on October 16, 2021.  The event took a unique approach by bringing 7 different senior instructors together for a “mini-format” session each.  The day was marked with some strenuous and deeply thoughtful training for the 20 participants.  The event was an occasion for wonderful reunions of those from across Montana’s  various aikido dojo including Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, Livingston and Missoula.  The day long training was followed by an enjoyable meal and group conversation in Helena’s spectacular outdoor setting.

MWA is thankful to all the participating instructors (Tony Blomert, Scott Brady, Lisa Ernst, James Gardner, Mark Leitzel, Miho Lloyd and Leigh Schickendantz) for offering their expertise to the group.

Despite the continued challenges that our community faces with regards to the health and safety of our members, these in-person events were giant steps forward in the Montana Aiki Community staying active and together.  We are all looking forward to an even more robust training schedule and participation in the coming year!