Free demonstrations of martial arts, meditation, massage, fine arts and more will be featured at the grand opening of Redmond’s new facility of the Enso Center for International Arts, from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. The center is located at 8708 196th Ave. NE, across from Perrigo Park.
Enso Center’s mission is “to promote awareness, understanding and harmony, internally, interpersonally, culturally, ecologically and ideologically,” explained Master Susan Mix who founded the education center with her son Jason.
Susan’s husband Bill, another son named Lucas, Jason’s wife Sabrina and their two young children are also active practioners of the martial arts.
“We study many different cultures.” Susan pointed out. “It’s not just the physical but mental culture.”
Lucas agreed, “We’re proud of our students’ cultural, economic and philosophical diversity. We try to think outside of politics or a specific religion. We try to encourage people to explore their own beliefs, not a specific creed.”
Just as the practice of martial arts can be meditative, so can fine arts such as origami, Susan pointed out. The center hosts an annual fine arts show, too, displaying both professional and amateur art. This year, it’s Nov. 14-22.
Another emphasis at Enso Center is promoting activities that families can do together. In Redmond and many suburbs, “the kids are doing soccer, the moms are doing something else,” Susan lamented.
Here, classes are mixed and all ages and skill levels are welcome, from toddlers to senior citizens, beginners to advanced martial artists. It makes teaching a bit more difficult, but the end result is worth it, Lucas commented.
The Mix family brings a broad palette of talents to the Enso Center.
Susan began her exploration of martial arts to overcome a congenital condition which required reconstruction of both her knees. Within a few years, her doctors were amazed by her physical agility and her improved mental attitude.
She left a job running the Seattle City Government Cable Television Channel to inspire and train others with physical challenges — and in fact, one of Enso Center’s current students, a woman with Muscular Dystrophy, will soon test for a black belt.
Bill’s background is in social work and he specializes in breathing techniques and other strategies for special needs children.
Both Jason and Lucas are Episcopal priests with interests in the connections between physical and spiritual wellness.
Sabrina is a graphic artist and helps with outreach and administrative duties at the center.
Prospective students at the Enso Center can look forward to a low-key approach, said the Mix family. “Some students come twice a day, others twice a week,” Susan stated. “We’re not judgmental about how much time people want to devote to this.”
She compared it to the pace at which some people choose to complete a college degree. Taking 20 credits at a time, you’ll finish faster, but for others, taking five credits allows more time for work and family. And regardless of how frequently students practice martial arts, each individual’s progress is different, Lucas commented.
They are proud that the Enso Center has awarded more than 200 black belts to about 150 students — some study more than one discipline of martial arts.
Disciplines offered at Enso Center include Hapkido, Aikido, TaeKwonDo and Tai Chi.
For more information, come to the opening celebration on Sept. 20, call (425) 869-0276 or visit www.enso-center.org.