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

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.

My Martial Journey

It was good to be on the mat Saturday after a bit of a hiatus. Spring is finally here and sprung. I like the transition from winter which feels so inward to the renewal of life that spring offers. And the training takes on a different shape during this transition as well.

The keiko practice offered many gifts today. Following our warm up we proceeded into examine kokyu (breath) throws. There is a Japanese method of teaching string instruments to really young kids like age 4 and 5 year olds that is quite popular in the United States called the Suzuki method. And the principle behind this method is that the student is taught how to play the instrument first and then the learning to read music comes down the line. The children learn by imitating the teacher. I have Suzuki experiences in Aikido keiko practice all the time where I am trying to learn the movement but the understanding of what I am doing just about always comes at a later time.

We were practicing a particular throw from katate tori (single hand grab). The spiraled aspect of the shape of the hand as the hand pivots around the thumb or the pinky was such an Oprah “A Ha” moment for me. And how it works with the center was very revealing. These mudras (hand shapes that control the flow of ki) have a very specific movement which in turns affects the ki and hara (source of ki) of uke.

We then applied these mudras to Tenchi Nage (Heaven and Earth Throw) to see how it manifests from a two handed grab. For me the hands help to draw uke into the open space when connected to the center and the movement is generated from the center. Recently a friend mentioned how working with really good ukemi is like you are moving through water. Water offering no resistance and yet there is definitely a connection being made and just the right amount of connection for the moment. The mudras help to create that connection which in turn allows tori to shape the connection.

I always find “writing” about Aikido somewhat frustrating because it really is such an experiential art. One needs to get on the mat and feel it to really begin to understand it. And this goes back to the Suzuki String teaching method that there needs to be a level of faith required of the practitioner. We are guided by Sensei and Sempai that if we keep moving down the correct path in our lives whether it is Aikido, or buying a house or starting a relationship etc eventually an understanding of what we are doing will reveal itself to us in time. But it is up to us to continue to cultivate and work on staying on the “right” path.
Regards sent from Amy and Josh Brown. We had some brunch while I was in Baltimore and they attended my concert afterwards. They miss Shobu (especially the mat space) and wish everyone well.
This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Peace all,

The Maestro

Ann Arbor Martial Journey

A group of us traveled up north to Ann Arbor Michigan to support our brother in Shobu, Danny Kline’s opening of the Ann Arbor Aikido dojo and to participate in a seminar led by Dan Messisco Sensei (6th Dan). It was a very interesting approach to Aikido. Messisco Sensei has been studying and practicing Aikido for 45 years. The concept of “Aikido techniques” certainly changes into something deeper and more spontaneous after so many years of study. I personally like the idea of "Aikido techniques" but it is great to explore outside of the box which is what we did.

I tried to understand his approach as best I could during our brief encounter. It seemed to center for me around owning one's space, remaining centered and the power that we have when we are grounded in our own center and hara (source of ki). Moving naturally and relaxed in the same way that we do when we make common gestures and expressions with our bodies such as bending down and tying our shoe or rubbing our head. Uke would apply katate tori (wrist grab) and we would do these very spontaneous movements. The object of the expression was for tori (person receiving the attack) to find movement in a centered fashion. It was important for tori not to “stick” their hand out to be grabbed because that creates a sense of attachment. Rather simply present the wrist in a very natural balanced way. Another way of looking at it is that if you have your hand outstretched against a wall and your weight is against the wall and the wall is removed then you will fall. If you outstretch your hand in a balanced way AND you happen to be touching a wall, then it does not matter if the wall is there and you will remain balanced.

For me, Messisco Sensei caused me to think about what I am attached to in my own life. I know sometimes when we practice with the bokken (wooden sword) and I get so fixated on making contact with my partners bokken and we miss I actually lose my balance. The same can certainly be said for matters that we go through in life. We need to have a healthy balanced sense of what is necessary in our lives and to remain grounded in what is important. I love experiencing something and leaving with plenty of questions to marinate on. I’m still workin’ it out! Thanks Danny for sharing Messisco Sensei with the Shobu community and good luck in Ann Arbor. I’ll be on the road for some concerts for a spell but I will be back on the mats in a couple of weeks. See you when I get back.

Peace to you,

The Maestro

Kids Aikido Summer Camp: June 22- 26

This summer, we will host our first annual kids summer camp at the dojo from Monday through Friday June 22- 26.

There are two program options:

Kids Half Day Program
Ages: 4 - 10
Fee $125.00

Youth Full Day Program
Ages: 11-18
Fee: $225

Participation in the week camp earns a bonus stripe for current students, and these programs are also open to kids with no experience. For those staying the full day, bring a lunch! Registration Required. There will also be Aikido Camp options this summer at Maumee Valley Country Day School, dates are not set yet.

Friday Classes Canceled.

Due to demands on Dokei's schedule, the Friday night ne-waza classes need to be cancelled for awhile. I got the chance to talk with him today, and we are both optimistic that his work schedule will shift as the spring unfolds, and we will be able to start these classes up again.

- Jay

Taking Center Stage Part Two

Shobu Aikido had a wonderful weapons seminar this past weekend at the dojo. The first class was free that was open to the public to come and check out the digs, move around on the mat and get a taste of what we examine in the school. There were probably 15 or so new people on the mat with us and they brought a good fresh energy and were very open the experience that Sensei shared. For the members of the school on the on the mat, it was an excellent review of the basics with the sword. After practicing for so many years it is nice to revisit where you start to get back to neutral.

Then the rest of the classes focused on taking center from various attacks. Shomen uchi (top of the head), yokomen uchi (side of the head), and mune tsuki (chest strike) were the primary attacks from uke. It always amazes me how the sword or in our case the use of the bokken, relates to the empty hand technics of Aikido. In some of my earlier posts I have discussed taking the center and unbalancing uke and this is what we explored with the bokken. Breath, timing, foot work, hara, ki, correct posture, AND spiraling must all work in concert in order for this to happen. One of the analogies that Sensei used was a screw driver screwing in a nail. There is the force from the arm pushing forward (irimi) and the spiraling action from the hand (tenkan) that must work together against the screw in order for the screw penetrate the wood. This same analogy is used in working with the bokken in taking the center. There needs to be a turning spiraling motion from the bokken as you move toward uke. The lesson that I gathered is not to get fixated on the weapon itself but the person holding the weapon is what we need to deal with.

Then in Monday nights class Taisho reviewed the weapons aspect of taking center and then examined how that aspect relates to the empty hand applications of the Aikido. After trying to take center with using the weapons it was much easier to understand the principles when I tried to apply this concept without the weapon. Weapons and the empty hand applications really do work hand in hand (a dash of pun intended!). It has been a great couple of days of Aikido. Have a great week and see ya next time on the mat as the journey continues!


The Maestro

Training will begin for Ann Arbor Aikido with a seminar with special guest instructor Dan Messisco Sensei (6th Dan). This is a one day seminar on Saturday, March 7 from 10:30-noon and 2:30-4pm. Cost $50. Please join us for this special occasion celebrating our new club and Dan Sensei's recent promotion!
More info at

Regular classes will follow every Saturday from 10:30-noon. Fee $10/class.

You can find a collection of video clips of Dan Sensei at

Nia Events at the Dojo

Everyone is invited to a Nia Party at the Dojo. Bring your spouse and your children. This is going to be FUN! Let's Dance! March 15 from 4:00 to 6:00.

The Crystal Bowl Moving Meditation will be the next weekend following the Ancestors Retreat at the Zen Center. March 22 from 5:00-6:00.

Nia Intensive May 1-7 with Winalee Zeeb.


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