Affsprung Sensei began training in 1991 in
southern California while he was a member of the
U.S. Coast Guard at Small Boat Station San Diego.
A few months later he watched his first shodan
(first degree black belt) test and he knew he
wanted to learn to move as gracefully as he saw
the black belts moving and he wanted to learn the
mysteries of the seemingly effortless throws and
techniques that he saw demonstrated that night.
For the next two and a half years, Bruce was
deployed on a Coast Guard Cutter on the
California coast. From San Francisco to San
Diego, wherever his cutter pulled into port he
sought out an aikido dojo to train in. In 1994 he
was transferred to the San Francisco Marine
Safety Office where he immediately began training
with Pat Hendricks Sensei at Aikido of San
Leandro (ASL) in Iwama-style aikido. At ASL, he
feels he received some of the best training to be
found anywhere in the world. He trained at ASL
until he retired from the Coast Guard in 2004
after twenty years of service. In 2005 he moved
to Salem, Oregon and began Aikido of Salem. He
still returns to San Leandro regularly for
Hendricks Sensei’s instruction and has been
student at the dojo) many times.
While Saito Sensei was still alive Bruce went to
Japan and trained for three weeks [Not very
long!] at the Iwama dojo where O’Sensei had
lived, trained, and built the Aiki Shrine in the
last decades of his life.
Bruce owes very much over the years to countless
students), and mentors, but of special influence
are Bruce’s sempai at Aikido of San Leandro and
now Chief Instructor at Hikari Dojo in
California, Louis Jumonville-5thDan.
From the very first years of Bruce’s training,
Frank Doran Shihan-7thDan
has been an important influence and role model
and continues to be to this day.
Affsprung Sensei was promoted to
by Hendricks Sensei in 2009.
let the term throw you (no pun intended). Iwama
style has the same repertoire of techniques that
any other “style” of aikido does:ikyo,
nikyo, sankyo, iriminage, shihonageand
so on…All aikido is passed from O-Sensei to his
students to the present generation; in our case
from O-Sensei to Saito Sensei to Pat Hendricks
Sensei and to her students. The reason it is
called Iwama style is because that is the small
town where Saito Sensei trained with O-Sensei and
continued to live and teach after O-Sensei’s
death. Saito Sensei’s son Hitohiro Sensei
continues to teach in Iwama now that his father
has passed away.
Saito Sensei often liked to say that he taught
O-Sensei’s basics and he did. Iwama style,
however, is also a very well developed system of
training that includes the most advanced of
techniques and an extensivejoandboken(short
staff and wooden sword) system that is drawn
directly from Saito Sensei’s training with
can begin at any time in any class. All classes
are multi-level training so you will be given
instruction that matches your level of
Wear sweats or agi(martial
arts uniform), and be prepared to pay dues and
sign a waiver.
We also regularly offer a Beginner’s class
through the Chemeketa Education Program during
the school’s fall, winter, and spring terms---you
can find out about it in the their catalog. The
classes are five weeks long and are offered twice
a term. The Beginner’s class focuses on basic
footwork, techniques, andukemi(falling
safely). The class is held on Wednesday’s at 6:30
to 8:00 pm.
children are physically and emotionally mature
enough to train in the adult classes. They have
to be able to stay focused for an hour and a half
and follow detailed instructions. We welcome
children or teens who are capable of meeting the
requirements. The parents have to sign a
but remember aikido is a martialart.
Aikido is a commitment to a“do”or a
path not just a system of techniques. Martial
arts strive to express self defense at the
highest possible level and are journeys of self
discovery. Some of the techniques in aikido take
years to learn to do
You do not have to practice an “art” to defend
yourself. A good self defense class [you will
have to shop around] can teach you some
effective, easy to learn, techniques that will
help you feel safer as you go about your day.
However, nothing can take the place of intensive
and regular practice that requires you to
actually experience physical interaction with
other students on a weekly basis. Training makes
a difference and as a bonus it is fun and will
make you feel better!
types of people: large and small, fit and less
fit, and sometimes people who have disabilities
can and do train in aikido. Although aikido can
by physically demanding at times (running,
falling, and tumbling) you do not have to be an
athlete and you have the ability to regulate the
amount you exert yourself: you may go slower, you
may decide not to take a fall, or you may sit out
You should check with your doctor or a physician
before you begin a new physical activity.
Bottom line: Aikido can help you get into shape
and develop the athlete within.
is often said to be the case. It is probably true
that aikido, as martial arts go, is attractive to
woman and smaller people (we are all smaller than
somebody) because strength and force are not
required. Aikido uses the opponents force to
unbalance and redirect their attack. The yin and
yang qualities of aikido help us to balance our
energies appropriately for the situation. We do
not have “matches” or competition in
takes three to five years of consistent training
to get the rank ofshodan(first
degree black belt) with the average being about
four years. That means training three or more
times a week. It is a pretty big commitment but
it is worth it in the long run!
Sensei of Aikido of Salem has trained in some
beautiful dojos that have large clean mat areas,
a Shomen with scrolls and a picture of O-Sensei,
weapons racks, dressing rooms, even a kitchen and
rooms for live in students! All of that is nice
but does not make a dojo.
What does make a dojo is the spirit the sensei
and students bring to their training.
Aikido of Salem is dedicated to offering high
quality instruction at affordable rates. A studio
has many expenses: overhead, utilities,
advertising, to name a few. The business side of
running a dojo and paying bills can be a
distraction from what is really
We consider ourselves fortunate to have a clean,
safe, and friendly environment in which to
practice our art.
Provided that you want to learn what is taught at
Aikido of Salem. We are dedicated to practicing
in the tradition of our teachers. Our dojo is
much too small to entertain personal styles or
preferences and still be true to our roots.
Besides it is simply proper etiquette and good
manners to do the techniques (to the best of your
ability) as they are shown by the sensei in any
we! If you come and train we may yet realize our
dream of having our own space and lots of
classes. Until then we have a time, a place, and
a good group of students to share our practice,
and after all----that is all you really need.