Founder of Our Dojo

Aikido Shugyo Dojo was founded over 30 years ago by Fran Turner Sensei.

Fran Turner is a rokudan, or sixth degree black belt – one of few women in Canada who holds this rank or higher. She was ranked through Aikido World Headquarters at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and through the Canadian Aikido Federation. Fran started her study of Aikido in Copenhagen in 1973. Her main teachers were Clyde Takeguchi Sensei of Capital Aikikai (Washington, DC) and Bruce Stiles Sensei, the founder of Toronto Aikikai (retired). Her training was also influenced by Kawahara Sensei and a number of other direct students of O-Sensei, Aikido’s founder, including Senseis Yamada, Kanai and Chiba. She started teaching morning classes at the YMCA, which evolved into Aikido Shugyo Dojo, in 1984.

Fran’s interest in body movement began with her study of modern dance, but after her very first Aikido class, she was hooked. The beauty of Aikido’s movements and its philosophy of non-violence drew her. She believes Aikido is an art that, with effort and diligent practice, helps a student to grow both on and off the mat.

Fran Turner Sensei was a Shidoin within the Canadian Aikido Federation as well as a member of the CAF Examination Committee. After over 40 years of practice, she retired from Aikido in late 2015. Fran is involved in the goings-on of Aikido Shugyo Dojo, on a consultation basis. She has passed on the reigns of the dojo’s affairs to long time student and friend, Gabe DiMarco Sensei. Nevertheless, she endlessly stays active, writing, volunteering and devoting herself to her Zen Buddhist practice.