About Thomas Jones - sensei
My involvement with structured martial arts began in Colorado as a boy studying Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, a powerful Korean art emphasizing peace in practice. Tang Soo Do laid my foundation in organized martial arts. I was brought up in an atmosphere filled with philosophical study, including the teachings of J. Krishnamurti, and William Samuel. I appreciate related concepts throughout varying religions and practices; universal truth lives everywhere.
Next to life study, winter and summer sports have always been routine. I started skiing at age 2 and snowboarding at 5. Born into a snowboarding culture and spurred by a love of the outdoors and freedom of expression, much of my time has been spent honing a relationship with nature through snowboarding and other extreme sports. I advocate freedom of movement in both body and spirit, for the sake of hardcore fun and holistic health. As an outdoorsman and survivalist, I’m at ease dealing with the unexpected. Since childhood I’ve trained with throwing knives, hatchets and boomerangs. I also picked up the family tradition of target archery, and a fascination; it has always been a meaningful part of my life. I love the challenge, romance and realization of freedom that hand bows embody. I’m familiar with multiple styles, though attached to the western long bow and fletching by hand.
I began Aikido training in 2004 in Ojai, California and since have participated at a wide variety of dojos and seminars in America and Europe. I started teaching introductory and youth classes in 2008 and found a passion for sharing and exploring the art with all ages and types of people. I obtained Nidan in 2013, and continue to train diligently. My emphasis is on the conceptual aspects in martial arts, primarily the connection between spirit and body, and the interaction between spiritual intention and action. Martial arts can be a medium relating these functions vividly; Akido conveys the veracity of causality in everyday class with intense tangibility. For me this is the crux of training along with technically accurate and effective physicality. My practice of other martial arts includes Baguazhang, Hsing-I, Qigong, Iaido, boxing, and freestyle wooden weapons sparring. Aikido has beautiful teachings and I have a lineage that I’m proud to uphold; with guidance I continue to add my understanding and spirit. I study ambitiously and remain an ever-enchanted student of life and Aikido, maintaining the way of the scholar warrior.
I currently teach with Victory Pacific Aikido in Ojai, California. I teach weekly adult, teen and youth classes, including private lessons with customized curriculums. I do demonstrations for organizations and events, and work with schools based in the Ojai valley, (K-12) with specific intent towards encouraging youth on a path of positivity and peace.
My focus is in revealing the way as path to further understand the self, and how we impact our world. Everyone can practice, including those who have special needs. I work with students to find particular adaptations, allowing them to discover how they learn best and how to apply themselves to a maximum potential, martially and in daily life.
I also specialize in work with professional thespians, performers and entertainers, using Aikido and martial arts as a medium to maintain a strong and positive connection with the self. It’s a common and sad phenomenon for those in entertainment to become lost in their roll characters, or lost in the industry, leading to negativity and often tragedy. Through specific Aikido practices we train to maintain an inner sense of self that does not succumb to negative influences. Using mental and physical principles of Aikido, we explore how to play the most important roll of all, one’s own self, with a sense of dignity, pride and integrity.