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.

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

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