4th Dan Aikikai, Ms. Molly Hale has joined our Board of Consulting Instructors to represent the art of Aikido. Having studied as both a traditional and adaptive martial artist, Ms. Hale brings a unique perspective to our community.
In July 1984, Molly attended a 10-day, body oriented psychotherapy study called Lomi Work and was introduced to Aikido for one afternoon. She loved everything about what was taught, especially the ukemi. At the end of class, the instructor had all 18 students stand before him, one-by-one, and he executed a shomen strike with the bokken. The idea was “get off the line”. When Molly took her turn, as the bokken came down, she didn’t move, didn’t duck, didn’t cover her head. She stood frozen, surprised and curious. This incident drove her to her local Aikido dojo with the intent of learning to understand and move.
A student of Frank Doran Shihan, Molly Hale began her training in September 1984 at Aikido West in Redwood City, California. Her passion for movement and background in dance, yoga, Feldenkrais, Taichi 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.
An invitation to test for her sandan in the fall of 1995 was postponed when an automobile rollover damaged her cervical spine and spinal cord. With a medical prognosis of no voluntary movement below her shoulders for the duration of her life, Molly, her family and the Aikido community supported her intention to overcome this prediction. She returned to the mat in March 1996, working with the physicality she had.
Using her past and present training as life-giving therapy, Molly continued to regain her body-to-mind/mind-to-body connections. Six years later in June 2001, Molly successfully demonstrated for her Sandan both from her wheelchair and from sitting on the mat. A few months later she stood up in her legs for the first time on land.
Molly continues her seated training at her home dojo, Aikido West, with chief instructor Shihan Frank Doran and it’s other exceptional teaching staff and guests. She is a regular Guest Instructor at Aikido at Noon, her husband, Jeramy’s dojo in Menlo Park. She also participates in seminars and camps throughout the United States and Europe and has opportunities to train and teach in venues that expose others to the adaptations and possibilities of training from a seated or static position. She trains from standing in pools.
In September 2013, Molly demonstrated for Yondan and was awarded her 4th Dan certificate from Hombu Dojo.
Her practice and learning continues expanding.