There are currently openings for Adult and Children students. Interested candidates are invited to observe a class. The dojo is co-located with the Toledo Zen Center at 6537 Angola Road Holland, OH 43558 jayrinsenweik@gmail.com

Aikido is a non-competitive martial art that can be practiced by almost anyone. Aikido techniques do not rely on physical strength but rather develops relaxed power through the focus of intention and Ki. The result is a creative method of non-destructive conflict resolution.

Aikido is practiced on many levels. The first level is includes the development of stamina, flexibility, and learning how to focus one's intention. The second level is built on the first and stresses self-defense techniques that teach the natural order of movement. In this process the students also become adept at ukemi, the art of rolling, falling and protecting oneself. Aikido provides the opportunity for the development of the entire person. It is a workout of the entire body and mind and results in increased strength, overall physically fitness, flexibility and centeredness.

At the third level students are gradually introduced to the secrets of receiving and harnessing the power of ki, they also develop spatial awareness and learn to judge proper timing and distance. During this training the goal is to establish and maintain an energetic connection to your partner and to lead them off balance. This eliminates the need for more destructive means of resolving situations.

The highest level of aikido is mind over matter. This involves the use of visualization techniques, the power of intention and ki, breath control and meditation. Aikido is truly a spiritual martial art that explores themind - body - spirit connection. This advanced level of training at Shobu Aikido reaches a level not easily found elsewhere. The student learns how to manifest power and effectiveness by the focusing of intention alone. This level depends on and can only be reached through the refinement of technique and the students own deepest feeling. For this reason it alternates between the physical and the spiritual.

In the process of practicing aikido, students inevitably find themselves less stressed and more energetic, better equipped to manage life's many conflicts with calm control. Aikido is great for adults and kids alike because practice encourages respect for self and others, self control, cooperation and responsibility.

Gasshuku or weekend long intensive seminars with William Gleason Sensei are available seasonally.

Children's aikido classes provide a friendly, non-competitive environment for students to become more physically fit, agile, flexible, aware, focused, and relaxed. They learn how to safely fall, roll and perform a variety of self-defense techniques in a supportive, comfortable setting, and parents like Aikido because kids learn how to be powerful without becoming destructive.

Ne Waza Classes

After a period of relative dormancy, the ne waza (ground techniques) classes are up and running again. The classes are on Friday nights at 6:00 PM following the 5:00 "Gentle Aikido" class and would typically run about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the pace and number of participants. They are lead by our own Mike "Dokei" Mulvaney, 1st Dan in Aikido and 2nd Dan in Judo.

In Aikido there are three general areas or phases of training: tachi waza, hanmi handachi, and suwari waza. On the other hand, Judo has basically two phases of training: tachi waza and ne waza. Ne waza is seldom emphasized in Aikido training, so it is a real treat to have Dokei-san offer his services and expertise on this subject.

With its chokes and joint locks, ne waza may be viewed by some as brutal, animalistic, and competitive in nature. On the contrary, I personally find it very cerebral, sophisticated and fluid, not to mention fun; one may portray it as kinetic chess. In describing ne waza -- in particular osaekomi waza, an aspect of ne waza that focuses on methods of body control -- the late John Osako Sensei of the Detroit Judo Club offered an analogy. "Visualize a man and a snake," he stated. "The snake is coiled around the man's arm; the man has the snake's head firmly in his closed hand. Neither is in control; both are in danger. If the man releases the snake's head, he will be bitten. If the snake releases the man's arm he can be smashed against a sharp rock, or thrown to the ground and shot. However, if the man can shake the snake loose, still maintaining his grip on the head, he will be in control. The snake's body will be free to writhe and twist in the air, but he cannot escape." Furthermore, under Dokei-san's guidance, we explore the application and fusion of aiki principles to ground/grappling techniques. And so for me, these ne waza classes serve as a facet of and supplement to my budo training.

To give you an idea of what ne waza is like, below is a clip from an instructional video on Judo's ne waza techniques. It is in Japanese and offers no English subtitles, but at least you can appreciate what we go over in class, more or less. So please feel free to check these classes out!

Gassho.

-Andre ("Muketsu")

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