Molly Hale: “Your Spirit is the True Shield.”

10 06 2011

We are honored to welcome Molly Hale to SDIC-ST 2011 as both an SDIC presenter and ST trainer.  Molly began her training in 1984 at Aikido West in Redwood City, California, as a student of Frank Doran Shihan. Her passion for movement and background in dance, yoga, t’ai chi, and Continuum supported her Aikido training. She became the senior instructor of the Aikido West Children’s program in 1988 and instructor of Oracle Aikido Club in 1991. In 1995 an automobile rollover damaged her cervical spine and spinal cord; the prognosis was severe: she was expected to have no voluntary movement below her shoulders. Never-the-less, she returned to the mat in March 1996 and in June 2001 she successfully tested for her Sandan in her wheelchair and on the mat.

Molly continues training and teaching and has exhibited and taught at a number of national martial arts events, including AikiExpo, PAWMA, and NWMAF Special Training Camps. In 2008, Lee and Jake Sinclair filmed Molly teaching self-defense for use by the I’m Worth Defending program in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. In 2009, Molly was a guest speaker and presenter at the American Hippotherapy Conference in Atlanta. On July 23, 2010, Molly was honored with the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award for extraordinary achievements, perseverance, and dedication to the special-needs community.

“Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale” won a Film-Makers Choice (Best Art) award (view at This year she is team-teaching in a warm-water pool environment, coaching movement, relaxation, balance, breathing, stretching, and practicing AikiAqua.  Visit Molly’s website, and read more about Molly’s ST and SDIC sessions, below.  Go to our NWMAF website to register for camp today!

“Take a Seat 1,” with Molly Hale.

“Take a Seat 2,” with Molly Hale.

Practice from a seated position and explore motion, intention, awareness and action. Most humans sit, but most martial artists train from standing, a few from seiza. What responses to an attack are available to a seated person? Molly has practiced Aikido for twenty years, nine of those years from a wheelchair, and is discovering effective movements for seated individuals. Suitable for anyone willing to come and sit awhile. An aid to any teacher who encounters potential students using wheelchair mobility or any student in a wheelchair. Session 1 and 2 complement each other, but you can attend either or both sessions.

“AikaAqua,” with Molly Hale.

We will practice holding base while in a water medium. The benefits to one’s Aikido or other martial practice are extraordinary in terms of feeling and finding one’s center in a seemingly weightless medium, and examining your motions and body positioning at a slowed down rate. The buoyancy and resistance of water support gaining new insights into connection and breathing.

“The Art of No Defense,” with Molly Hale.

Many years ago an incorrect address found me at a Model Mugging course. Acting from a place of ”no coincidences,” I signed up for the program, learning self-defense techniques and moving through the shadows of my own rape encounters. I felt empowered and a deep sense of responsibility when it became clear that I could take a human life. “Looking for openings” in any attack continued to resonate.

27 years training in Aikido, plus becoming quadriplegic, kept bringing it home to me that the “openings” I was looking for were within me. How do we care for ourselves from a place of Center? How do we move in the world physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in balance and receptivity? How do we be aware of conditions within and around us, assess a situation, and act with compassion?

The founder of Aikido, said “The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.”

In this workshop, we will explore, through talking and physical practices, how to honor our respective martial art and self-defense practices, while engaging an idea of No Defense. “Your spirit is the true shield.”




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