Establishing a Dojo: A Space for Immersive Learning

Adam Mitchell founded a dojo in Hudson Valley, New York, named 'The Yasuragi Center.' The name 'Yasuragi,' meaning peace of mind or tranquility, was given by one of his former senseis, reflecting the primary objective of his dojo - to provide a peaceful environment for its practitioners.

A place of peace for martial arts practitioners

Nick: So let's touch on your dojo, which is called ‘The Yasuragi Center.’ I think our listeners will be familiar with the word dojo. But as you run one, I think you can give us more insight to what a dojo is and a purpose it serves. So what is a dojo?

Adam: Well, dojo is, the word itself, dojo is a place for immersive learning. Oftentimes, it's translated as the hall or the place of the way of the doubt. More accurately it has origins in Zen, so Zendo is oftentimes something that you hear.

Yasuragi was a word that was, or a name that was given to my dojo from an old Sensei. At the time, my dojo was in a part of New York in the Hudson Valley, where, back in the turn of the century, there had been a lot of iron ore mining. So there was a lot of deposits on these hills, and there was a lot of like rust, and there was this redness.

And the name was, he had said that yasuragi, even though it's like a place of peace, he said it should be a peaceful place along a hillside is what his vision of the dojo was. Now, I know that literally, it doesn't translate to that. But the feeling, the intention, that one has when I speak of yasuragi should convey that. So yeah, that's the origin of the word, and that's what it means.

Nick: Yeah, I had to look that up. So I did come across terms such as tranquility, sincerity, the gentle feeling of inner peace, where your heart is calm at ease, harmony within yourself. Which might even seemed like a paradox to the idea of learning a martial art.

But this is what's fascinating about martial arts, in particular, maybe Japanese martial arts. There's a balance or there's this idea of the internal and external. We talked about it on your podcast, I guess, kokorozashi.

So it's fascinating how Japanese martial arts encapsulates not just that the practice of training, but a philosophy behind it, of gentleness, of peace. So I probably wished I explored that when I was younger.

Adam: It's not too late.