Play and Practice

by Dash (age 12, 5th kyu) and John (Dash’s dad) Dash has been studying Aikido since he was six years old. He has happily set aside the practice time to devote to the classes at the dojo twice or sometimes three times a week. He has really enjoyed his training and has developed in many ways beyond his ever increasing Aikido skills. The children’s classes that he began with were full of fun and easily accessible movements that kept him interested and enjoying each lesson.  Dash says of his early sessions, “The teachers in the kids classes were really great with the play and practice ratio. It was exciting and fun to join the Aikido classes. At the beginning I didn’t always want to come to class but by the end of each class, I was always glad that I had. I had learned new things and it was great practicing new techniques.” This spirit of learning and playfulness in classes kept him coming...
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Family Time / Aikido = Awesome!

by Falon Webb, parent Our experience with Aikido Shugyo Dojo has been nothing short of wonderful. With such a limited amount of time available to families nowadays, how we choose to spend that time is becoming increasingly important.  When our children embark on new classes we consider: are they enjoying themselves;  does the activity provide the opportunity to learn new and valuable skills; by spending our time engaging in this activity are we helping our children learn the value of today's most fleeting resource—time? We can, without a doubt, say that Shugyo has shone far above our hopes and expectations. Upon leaving after his first class, our son Jack, a cautious fellow, announced for the first time in his history of first classes, “That was awesome! Can we come back tomorrow?” It took only the first class to convince us we had found what we were looking for.  It was beautiful to see the true nature of the children come flooding out. The older ones...
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Practice Theme – February 2012 – Connection

Connection is a theme that Clyde Takeguchi Sensei had proposed for the seminar that he led on the first weekend in February. Clyde Sensei emphasized the importance of “connecting to oneself.” Breathing exercises done at the start of the class are a way to do this. Also, putting concentration into the centre and bringing the feet into a solid hanmi position help with this. Body and mind unite with one another – the  body works in unison with a focussed mind. “Taking out the slack” is another element of connection that Clyde Sensei addressed in his classes. In katatate tori (ai hanmi and gyaku hanmi) attacks he demonstrated how this was possible by small movements of the hand and wrist that not only bring uke and nage into connection but that also create imbalance in uke immediately. Nage creates connection by what Clyde Sensei referred to as “controlling the space.” By inviting uke into nage’s space or sphere of control, nage creates an...
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Remembrance

by Jennifer Cheney, 5th kyu An article about my father's wartime experiences appeared in the Remembrance Day issue of the Globe & Mail.  It was written by a distant cousin, Peter Cheney, who writes the ‘Globe Drive’ section. I'm very proud of my Dad, as are all of us in our family, but war is a terrible thing.  While he was so young and enjoyed the excitement and adventure of flying, accompanied by a crew of other young men with whom he had an incredible friendship, when the horror of fighting a real war set in with the bombing and eventual loss of three of his crew, he was devastated.  Although he survived, was praised for what he did, and has lived overall a good life since, he has also suffered greatly from the effects of that war. I find myself often thinking about his experiences while we practice Aikido, an art of peace,  a positive way of dealing with violence.  O-Sensei knew...
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Self Defense Story

by Sean Braune, 3rd kyu I left a party down by Guildwood Parkway in Scarborough at 3:00 am and was waiting for the bus. A van was driving up and down the street. It pulled down the side street just next to the bus stop. Two men, both wearing black bandanas pulled over their mouths, got out of the van. One was tall, thickly built and held a tire iron. The smaller one was unarmed as far as I could tell. They began walking towards me at the bus stop. O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido, is credited as saying: Face a single foe as if you are facing ten thousand enemies; face ten thousand enemies as a single foe. With this in the back of my mind, I decided to walk over towards the two of them and say "hello." Essentially, this method of engagement in Aikido is called irimi, leading an attack a split second before the attacker is even aware of wanting...
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