Instructor hopes Parks and Recs aikido finds enthusiasts in NK

POULSBO — The hardest part of aikido may be the part where the linoleum meets the carpet.

POULSBO — The hardest part of aikido may be the part where the linoleum meets the carpet.

So says Charlie Rose, one of the students at Poulsbo Parks and Recreation’s aikido class.

Rose, who is a second-degree black belt, recently took a break from the beginning of class with instructor Tom Sheehy to point to the class’s entrance, where the hallway’s floor met the carpet of the room.

“Like sensei says,” Rose said, “the hardest part is crossing that threshold.”

Rose and Sheehy would like to see more people cross that threshold at the Parks and Recreation class, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30-9 p.m. in the North Kitsap Recreation Center.

Sheehy believes the practice of aikido can help someone who is not necessarily athletic become proficient in self-defense; the founder of the practice honed his craft while he was still in his early 80s.

While it can be helpful, aikido can also be elusive, he said.

“A lot of people look at it, and it looks like dancing; it looks fake,” he said. “People don’t believe it. What you see is not necessarily what you get.”

Instead of a martial art that depends on “force on force” — punches or kicks — aikido depends on fluid movement, evasiveness and the ability to turn an attacker’s momentum against him or her.

Sheehy has been a presence at Poulsbo Parks and Recreation since he began his aikido instruction in the mid-1980s. (He began in the building where the Department of Licensing is now located.) He has had several students reach first-degree black belt — he estimates a dozen or more — and four or five have reached second degree.

He is an Aikido Yondan fourth-degree black belt and originally began interested in martial arts while serving in the military.

While the self-defense portion of the martial art is self-explanatory, both Sheehy — the sensei and Rose — one of his highest-ranking students — hope people appreciate the application the martial art has to life.

“When I walked through the door, I didn’t know it had this dimension to it,” said Rose.

He said, “It’s, to me, a beautiful art