Mary Heiny's Biography
For more than forty five years, Mary Heiny Sensei has followed a path of physical and spiritual inspiration as a student and teacher of Aikido. She started this journey in 1965 after watching O'Sensei teach a class at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. The effect of this first encounter has inspired her through long hours of training and study.
"As I watched, a part of me could not believe what I was seeing and sought a rational explanation while another part of me understood immediately that this man had attained a profound understanding of nature and possessed amazing power."
After studying at Hombu Dojo from 1968 to 1973 with O'Sensei's direct students and with Hikitsuchi Sensei, 10th dan, in Shingu, Heiny Sensei returned to the United States and began teaching at the University of California in Santa Cruz. In 1976, she went to Seattle and opened Seattle School of Aikido. After nine years, she turned that dojo over to her students and left to begin another journey.
"I worked to develop an atmosphere in which students would, with me, approach Aikido as a living process to be engaged in rather than merely a series of rigidly unvarying forms to memorize. I emphasized that the techniques of Aikido are intended as tools for us to use in examining the nature of power, to engage in uncompromising self-scrutiny, and to realize our potential as powerful, compassionate, creative, self-aware human beings. I also emphasized that good technique is necessary to accomplish this. Diligent physical training must be combined with a thoughtful examination so that lessons of one's life inform one's training."
Sensei was invited to the Ottawa Aikikai in Canada in 1987 where she worked for three years developing the club into a full time dojo. When the school had grown to her satisfaction, she handed it over and embarked on another period of personal training and increased activity in teaching seminars and workshops in Canada, the US, and Europe. In 2001, Heiny Sensei returned to Seattle.
Heiny brings to every class, workshop, and seminar she teaches not only her years of aikido training and teaching, but also her extensive experience and study of Japanese culture, language, Shinto and Buddhist philosophies, and Non-Violent Communication. She strives always to communicate the beauty and challenge of O'sensei's desire that we use Aikido to become empowered as creative, compassionate beings and learn to appreciate each other as members of one human family.