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The instructors at Aikido Shugyo Dojo are committed to aikido and to sharing their love of this art with members of Shugyo Dojo. As observed by one of our instructors, “Aikido Shugyo Dojo is special because it creates a safe learning environment for everyone. No matter one’s age or ability level everyone is welcome to learn as quickly or slowly as they are able. We’re not afraid to laugh, and we approach the practice with a sincere heart.”

The instruction offered at Aikido Shugyo Dojo reflects our mission…READ MORE

All of the instructors are ranked through Aikido World Headquarters at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and through the Canadian Aikido Federation. They have certification in basic CPR-First Aid and all have gone through a screening process to ensure the safety of all students.

Gabriel (Gabe) DiMarco, Chief Instructor

ShugyoInstructors-004Gabriel DiMarco is the chief instructor/dojo-cho of Aikido Shugyo Dojo and currently holds the rank of fourth dan. He has been practicing aikido with Fran Turner Sensei since 1992. He had the opportunity to meet and learn from Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei (a war-time uchideshi/live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba) and regularly trains with Sunadomari Sensei’s long time student Terumasa Hamada Sensei (Shinseikai dojo, Kumamoto City) on his visits to Japan. Gabriel’s strong weapons background is a result of intensive training with Stefan Barton Sensei (Golden Triangle Aikido, Kitchener) and as uchideshi under Pat Hendricks Sensei and Morihiro Saito Sensei (Iwama, Japan). His aikido is also influenced by Clyde Takeguchi Sensei, Donovan Waite Sensei and Bill Collins Sensei.

See the interview with Gabe Sensei.

Instructors Team

Senior students at Aikido Shugyo Dojo share the teaching responsibilities.

Chris Velakis SenseiChris Velakis

Forth Degree Black Belt
Chris started his Aikido training in 1992 of the Yoshinkan style with Mits Karasawa Sensei. In 2000, Chris studied the Fred Villari system of Kenpo Karate and Kung fu. Chris began study of the Aikikai style of Aikido with George Hewson Shihan from 2002 and became a member of Shugyo dojo in 2012. Chris enjoys training in the weapons classes.

George ChanGeorge Chan

Second Degree Black Belt.
George started training in aikido under Cris Rusu Sensei in 1995. In 2000, George began training under Fran Turner Sensei at Aikido Shugyo dojo. Influenced by Clyde Takeguchi Sensei and Mary Heiny Sensei as well as many others, he finds aikido to be quite delightful.

Rick ShieldsRick Shields

Second Degree Black Belt.
Rick started his aikido practice in 2002 at Aikido Seishinkai with George Hewson Sensei. He received his shodan in 2009 and joined Aikido Shugyo Dojo in 2010. Rick currently teaches regularly in the morning classes and an evening class.

ShugyoInstructors-006Donald Young

Second Degree Black Belt.
Donald started at Aikido Shugyo dojo in the fall of 2000 after trying one of the introductory classes. Two days later he signed up and has been training ever since. Donald teaches regularly and strives to foster a welcoming spirit. He also teaches weapons classes.

AyumiAyumi Mito Takahashi

First Degree Black Belt. Ayumi started practicing aikido with Fran Turner sensei in the fall of 2005. Ayumi was involved with team sports and track & field events but found aikido relates to her daily life in a positive and effective way. She enjoys her aikido training with Terumasa Hamada sensei in Kumamoto when she travels to Japan as well as learning about ken/jo no riai (the correspondence between empty handed practice and weapons practice) from Gabriel DiMarco sensei.

Kids Classes Instructors

Jamie GrootJamie Groot

Second Degree Black Belt. Jamie began his aikido career in the spring of 2003 at Aikido Shugyo Dojo. He appreciates the non-violent nature of the art. Even after ten years, aikido continues to challenge him, and he sees that as a very positive thing. Jamie teaches both adults and children and he emphasizes good posture and relaxed movement.

Anita AbbasiAnita Abbasi

First Degree Black Belt.
Anita began her aikido training in Montreal in 2007 in a dojo with hardwood floors, but truly began her aikido journey once she moved to Toronto and settled at Aikido Shugyo Dojo. Her primary instructors have been Senseis Fran Turner (retired) and Gabe DiMarco, and her aikido is also influenced by Osawa Shihan. Anita strives to marry an organic, flowing movement with a keen martial sense. Her teachings focus on building an awareness of one’s body, its connection to others and the spaces we navigate.

Lorraine SchubertLorraine Schubert

First Degree Black Belt. Lorraine started to practice aikido in the mid-eighties at the Central YMCA. Her first and primary teacher has been Fran Turner Sensei. Teaching the Kids classes keeps her focus on the basic techniques of aikido and she loves to watch her students practice.