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

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