Rocky Valley Aikido is a traditional martial arts school, where we take a comprehensive approach teaching open-handed, sword and staff techniques. We train to develop balance, strength, flexibility and power through the unifying of body and mind. Working with one another as partners, we explore the way of reconciling conflict by encouraging balance and harmony. This is why aikido is called the art of peace.
Rocky Valley Aikido Dojo is affiliated with Suginami Aikikai in Tokyo, Japan, which is an official branch of the Aikido Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Suginami Aikikai Dojo in Tokyo was founded by Hiroshi Kato Sensei (8th dan, Shihan). Kato Sensei was a direct student of the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei).
Jalal Brian Heery began his Aikido journey under Frager Sensei (7th dan) and McKean Sensei (6th dan) in 1994 at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
He began training with Hiroshi Kato Sensei (8th dan, Shihan) in 1995. He spent two years training intensively with Kato Sensei in Japan from 1998-2000 and spent the next twelve years hosting and facilitating Kato Sensei’s seminars at Rocky Valley Aikido Dojo and other locations in California.
He currently trains under one of Kato Sensei’s senior students from Suginami Aikikai Dojo in Tokyo, Japan which is directly affiliated with the Aikikai Hombu dojo in Tokyo.
He holds the rank of 5th-degree black belt in Aikido.
He wrote his dissertation on “Awakening Spirit in the Body” at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University) in 2003.
He is the founder and current head instructor of Rocky Valley Aikido Dojo in Palo Alto/Santa Cruz, CA.
Aikido Class on Zoom (Weekly)
Tuesdays 6:30 - 7:30
Meeting ID: 654 288 393
1. What is Aikido and how is Rocky Valley part of it?
2. How is Aikido different from other martial arts such as Tae Kuan Do and Karate?
3. Why learn Aikido?
4. Why train with Rocky Valley Aikido?
5. How can a new person start?
I came to Rocky Valley Aikido looking for physical fitness and training, but I found a lot more. Even though I'm just a beginner, Aikido has changed many aspects of my life, and I use the tools that I learn in Aikido class everywhere. I was very lucky to stumble into a dojo with a world-class teacher. It is amazing to watch Brian explain the rudiments of a technique to a beginner, and then turn to a black belt and describe subtleties that are beyond my comprehension, and then turn to me and tell me exactly what I need to continue my development. I appreciate Brian's ability to see where each student is and what they need to go to the next level, and then provide that input. This is a teacher's job and he is very good at it. The other students are great too; the black belts always help out the rest of us and make it easy to learn. The class seemed somewhat intimidating the first day; with me in my sweats in a room full of white-robed people performing mysterious movements, and the techniques seemed hard at first, but the cooperative teaching style at Rocky Valley made it easy to learn, and now sometimes I am amazed at the things I can do.
I am deeply thankful for the time I have spent training with Sensei Brian Heery and the Rocky Valley Community! This dojo comes highly recommended for children and adults alike!
-Erica Kshama Kellogg
One of the best things at Rocky Valley Aikido is the personal attention you get from more advanced practitioners. The nature of the training and the people in the dojo is such that you are often one with someone who has been doing this for years. This is a great advantage for the beginner! A great group of people!
Finding a good dojo is like finding a good, honest mechanic. Find one, and wherever that pied piper goes, you go as well. I've been training at Rocky Valley on and off for several years, and I've followed them from their first location in San Jose to their current, shiny new digs in Menlo Park. If they moved under the pier in Santa Cruz, I'd probably go there, too. The teaching is top notch and you get none of the posturing or chest pounding you see in other schools or systems. The atmosphere here is supportive from top to bottom and you quickly learn that your competition is less external than it is internal. If you're looking to duke it out with some cauliflower-eared galoot who's still upset about being cut from the Octagon, then look elsewhere. If you're looking for something more sublime, give this place a whirl. They'll still teach you martial arts, but you'll never hear anyone talking about how you need to destroy your opponent.