Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mountain View Aiki Kai (MVAK)?

Mountain View Aiki Kai is a small school that teaches its students a unique art. The art is a complex system of empty hand, weapons and strategy skills. The school pursues the Warrior-Scholar path, which equally develops the wisdom to err on the side of peace whenever possible as well as the fighting ability to stand by what is right.

Each of the school’s three senior instructors has decades of training, and much like the dojos and gurukuls of the past, we maintain a small student-teacher ratio.

Our key values are discipline, contribution and constant growth. We also operate with a non-profit policy, and all collected donations are given away to charity.

Why does MVAK exist? 

Our teachers have been generous and kind with their time, knowledge and mentorship. We want to pay their generosity forward and pass on rich and varied tradition to those interested in the old school way.  It is also very fulfilling to see students grow through the years.

Where is the school located? What is the class schedule?

We have two dojos, one in Mountain View, CA and another in Mexico City. You can find the details here.

What is a dojo?

The dojo is deemed a sacred place where the martial arts and warrior ways are practiced. MVAK's dojo is run very much in the old school traditions of Japan and gurukuls of India. 

What will I learn?

It’s difficult to encapsulate a way of life into a few words. 

Formally, you will learn: 

   Striking Arts (punching, kicking, pressure points, etc.)

   Locking Arts  (the art of locking and breaking joints)

   Throwing Arts (the art of unbalancing and throwing a body)

   Weapons (sticks, knives, swords, rope, etc.)

   Strategy (1 : 1, 1 to many, many to one)

Informally, you will learn to:

   Find your best and most generative states.

   Find a clarity of your personal purpose.

   Build a community.

   Give back.

What is a shugyo?

Shugyos are sacred pilgrimages intended as a purification of the self. Four times a year, MVAK students are taken into deep wilderness to train in the traditions of our school. For more information you may check this.

What is the dojo management style?

Management is best described as Old School, as MVAK is modeled after the ancient gurukuls and dojos of the east. We believe respect, pushing personal limits, contribution, discipline and integrity matter the most. 

We expect students to:

   Be Punctual: Be on time to train and turn in your assignments. If you cannot, let your senior know. 

   Be Respectful: At all times, be respectful to the school, the teachers and your fellow brothers/sisters in the dojo

   Be Disciplined: Be dedicated to your pursuit of personal excellence. Sun, moon or rain - we train.

   Live with Integrity: Take your commitments to the dojo and the brothers/sisters at the dojo seriously.

   Maintain hygiene: Show up in a clean uniform and maintain good basic hygiene.

What you can expect from the school:

   Experienced teachers: Instructors have decades of training and continue training to this day.

   To be pushed towards your personal best: The goal is to be a better you tomorrow than you are today.

   A non-competitive environment.

   Strict, focused and yet nurturing instruction.

For more information you may check this.

How much prior experience is required? 

The school has two programs. For novices, no previous experience is necessary.

If you are already an experienced martial artist, we will build on what you already have.

How much does it cost?

The dojo donates all the tuition to charity. Please visit and speak with the Sensei about it.

Work-study scholarships are always available to those in need. We never turn away someone for lack of funds–just come in with the right attitude.

Do you have to be in good shape to join Mountain View Aiki Kai? 

Please check with your physician on this. 

Most of the students who come in are of average fitness/shape. They almost always grow stronger and fitter (a side benefit) as they progress. 

Is it fun? 

It can be. But make no mistake–this is a disciplined endeavor of martial study and personal growth.

Do you teach adults / kids?

Yes, we teach all age groups. Our youngest student is 5 and oldest practitioner in the system  is in his 80s'.

Will it make me / my child violent? 

Quite the opposite. As you/your child's confidence grows, s/he will mellow down and become more comfortable in his/her own skin and skills. 

The goal of Warrior-Scholar path is to build skills to defend oneself, one’s honor, and one’s passion as well as to develop the wisdom to bring others along.

At what age can my child start? 

How long does it take to earn a rank?

Rank advancement is left to the discretion of the teacher, who takes the physical, mental, and spiritual development of the student into account. When the teacher feels the student is ready, s/he invites them to a test. 

We take rankings very seriously and there is no fixed time slots between tests. It is not uncommon for students to earnestly work 5-7 years to earn their black belt. 

Do you teach parent / children classes?

We do not teach special classes just for parents/children. However, we have had parents bring their children in to train with them.

Depending on the case, parents and children can train either together or separately.