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.

Shobu Gasshuku in Boston July 10-12

The annual Shobu Gasshuku in Boston will be held July 10-12 this year. I hope that as many of our students as possible will attend. Perhaps we could rent a van like we did a few years back and road trip together? All the students of Bill Gleason Shihan who have gone on to start dojo will be there teaching a class, and it is a great opportunity to meet and train with more of our shobu family.

Feelings, nothing more than feelings!

Yes, that is me with Tiger Woods! Ok, it is only wax but close enough!!
It was a nice evening at the dojo with Keiko and then followed by meditation at the Toledo Zen Center in the zendo. The evening started with physicalizing (not sure that is a word) the art followed with introspection in the zendo at the Zen Center. I find it interesting that between the Zen Center and the Aikido classes it is a completely different community of people. I love floating between both groups and experiencing the energies that both groups bring to my life. Anywho, at Keiko practice Wednesday night we had an interesting exploration of ki extension and how it works inside Aikido techniques. Sensei talked about the need to balance one’s ki feeling with technique. We learn a variety techniques in Aikido which is an important aspect to our training however that needs to be tempered with the feeling of extending one’s ki and intension out to the universe.

The image that Sensei was trying to get us to focus on was to have a pole coming from our back. The result of this image is that it causes one to move from the waist. This is a new approach for many of us to move from the waist and not to focus on the hips. The pole image allows us to focus on extending one’s ki beyond our physical bodies. The way that I look at it is that my arm is maybe 2 feet long so when I punch there is a very finite distance that I can extend my arm. And if uke is just one inch beyond my reach then I cannot influence uke from a physical perspective. However if (and that is a big if) I can extend my ki, feeling, intension through my arm then I can have influence far beyond my physical arm and body. Another example is when I drive my car I am not focused on the road five feet in front of the car but I look far out into the horizon so I can be aware of what is coming. This to me is another form of extending my ki.

This is a very interesting especially in sensing when one may be attacked so that tori (person receiving the attack) can receive the attack in a relaxed fluid harmonized way. So extending your feeling or ki, to the front, back, sides, and even above you is the ultimate objective. It is said that it was impossible to sneak up on O’Sensei because he was always aware of his surroundings and stayed in a sense of Zanshin (staying attentive). The technique that we used for this was a variation of irimi nage (entering throw) and katate tori kokyu nage (one hand breath throw). It was a fun class but you really had to be there! My words don’t do it justice but the journey continues! Peace all. The Maestro

Spring Time Renewal

It was a beautiful morning at the dojo Saturday. It was blue skies and we had the garage door open to get some fresh air and fresh ki circulating throughout the dojo. With spring comes renewal. We had Gleason Sensei to lead the last Gashuku here several weeks ago. Gleason Sensei is someone who is constantly examining and deconstructing the art of Aikido to find new perspectives. Finding the real Aiki is very difficult in Aiki-do. We often focus on the “do” part of Aikido. The “do” part referring to the physical side of the art which is very important as this is a martial art. But discovering the Aiki is very elusive. For me there are several aspects that are important in Aikido:

Kokyu, breathing
Ma-ai or distance between uke and tori
Kuzushi, unbalancing uke
Zanshin, staying attentive until the end of the technic
Aiki, which seems to be a unification of energy

These five elements must work in harmony to have an understanding of the martial side of Aikido. I am sure there are more elements but these are the five that I keep coming back to in my training. There is also the spiritual, Zen aspects of the art that remain elusive to me and the use of ki energy. At Shobu, since Gleason Sensei’s visit we have been looking at a different approach to hara, stances, hips, and waist movement. It is both fascinating and challenging. It is nice to take a fresh look at the old as it becomes new again. Much like the renewal that comes with Spring. More ramblings from the Maestro and ALWAYS open for discussion. Have a great week all.

Experts Say Nation Could Use A Stimulus of Happiness

The Toledo Blade columnist Roberta de Boer did an interview with me for this article in todays paper. The full article is here. Below is an excerpt.

"After years on the fringe, the practice of meditation is now a mainstream and frequently recommended approach to recalibrating racing minds.

"Toledo native Jay Rinsen Weik returned here from Boston in 2001 and founded the Toledo Zen Center.

"One of the main [Buddhist] practices is generosity, because that strikes right at the heart of this cocoon we wind around ourselves, this 'I have to protect me.' That feeling [nationally] is like a thick fog right now: 'We're going down the tubes, baby, and I'm hunkering in.'•"

In fact, Mr. Weik argued, the economic downturn offers an upside.

"We have a great opportunity, actually. When these material things are taken away, what are you going to do? On the other side of it, it's a way of seeing, 'You know what? That wasn't who I was anyway.' I mean, I'd rather have a full retirement account, but there's much more to me than that."

Mr. Weik describes with a Buddhist mindset the weekly meditation practice and periodic gratitude workshops he leads, but he echoes findings in positive psychology..."

"Jay Rinsen Weik, founder of the Toledo Zen Center, finds a silver lining in the economic downturn."

Toledo Zen Center Weekend Intensive Retreat

The Toledo Zen Center will hold a weekend intensive retreat April 17-19. Details are posted HERE. Join Jay Sensei for this important opportunity for deepening your zen meditation practice, all Aikidoka are welcome to join.

"If you have not
Linked yourself
To true emptiness,
You will never understand

- O'Sensei


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