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.

Persian Gulf

This is a picture Dale-san took from his balcony the other day looking out at the early morning on the Persian Gulf. Thought you would enjoy the serenity of it as much as I did.

New Stock of Weapons Available

A new batch of weapons are available for order. I have bokken, shoto, tanto, jo, and hanbo in top grade, tight grain hickory and bokusen in heavy, beautiful lignum vitae. Bokken available in various styles. Sakura Co. 419.494.8058.

Kids Summer Aikido Camp with Jay Sensei!

This summer, we will host our 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

The mornings will begin with meditation and warm ups. We will work with several key aikido techniques and also enjoy some fun games together. The kids participating in the half day program will be picked up at the dojo at 11:15am, and those participating in the full day will eat lunch together while watching a fun movie. After lunch, we will go outside and so some fun 'pool noodle' weapons practice together.

Participation in the week camp earns a bonus stripe for current students, and these programs are also open to kids with no aikido experience. For those staying the full day, bring a lunch! To register or get more details, see Jay Sensei at the dojo or email

The Spirit of Memorial Day

I try to refrain from wishing people  "Have a Happy Memorial Day" because it is a time to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in war. Memorial Day weekend is more to me than the beginning of summer or barbecues, or sales at JC Penneys. Since I have never been in the military I use it as a time for reflection. I am always grateful to our military for the men and women who have offered their lives to protect our great country.  Politics aside, it is a huge sacrifice for families and communities to send their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, etc. in harms way.  O'Sensei created this wonderful MARTIAL art to create peace and harmony in our lives and the world.  It is an interesting dichotomy that we learn to fight to create peace.  But it is through conflict that we find resolution.  I wish  all of my Shobu brothers and sisters a "Reflective Memorial Day" weekend.  The spirit of Aikido is one of peace and there have been many men and women who have given their lives in a quest for peace.  Let us reflect and be grateful and honor those that have sacrificed so much for freedoms that we are blessed with today.

I wish you well on this Memorial Day Weekend.

Peace to you and your family.


The "Ki" to Success

Greetings everyone.  It was a wonderful class tonight at the dojo.  Perfect temperature and some good Aikido took place at Shobu.  Now that the orchestra season is over I can come to the Tuesday night classes and Sensei examines ki and how it is used in Ai-KI-do. 

I must say, if you think that it is hard to articulate Aikido technics in words, this material is next to impossible to write about. The biggest challenge in writing about ki is my lack of knowledge of this aspect of Aikido and the fact that it really is a feeling and how do you express a feeling?  It is like trying to explain what Beethoven’s 5th symphony sounds like to someone who cannot hear sound.  So much is lost in translation.

Some elements that I took away from tonight’s class is the importance to connect to uke’s ki meridians and in doing so unbalances uke.  This is an element that is extremely useful in performing kokyu nage (breath throws) technics. 

To me, ki is not so much about physical applications of Aikido as much as the importance of the mind although mudras (hand positions that shapes the direction of ki) are very important.  Sensei talked about how ki is like a beam that is similar to pole of energy that goes through our spine. What came clear to me towards the end of class is the need to extend that ki deep into the ground and far beyond my head at the same time.  The ki curves around like a wave coming under and over uke to connect to uke’s ki and then we can unbalance uke. 

This aspect is similar to orchestral conducting in the sense that when I am on the podium I am trying to influence not only the people near me in the strings but also the woodwinds and brass who are maybe 20 feet away.  So my gestures, body, hands, eyes, and most importantly my mind must connect with them to influence them and assist them to play better. 

The technic that we primarily examined to explore ki elements were yokomen uchi (strike to the side of the head) kokyu nage, kata tori (single hand shoulder grab) kokyu nage and finished the class with katate tori (single hand grab) tenkan ho (turning).  Ki is an essential element for getting to the root of what Aikido is about.  There is the martial component to Aikido that I love to examine but Sensei is trying to get us below the surface, beyond the physicalization (Tipton-ese word) of Aikido.  The physical side is easy to see, (nikyo, sankyo, irimi nage, etc) and that is important but what about what we cannot see.  We can’t see oxygen but it is very important to us to survive even more important than food and water and yet it is invisible and all around us much like ki.  We need to tap into that unlimited source of energy that extends far beyond our physical body.  It truly can be the “Ki to our Success” if we can find it and harness it. 

It was great fun, explorative, imaginative, frustrating, rewarding all rolled up into one.   I always welcome your comments and thoughts.  Have a great week AND BOLDLY GO WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE (I finally got to see Star Trek  movie last weekend.  It was soooo good!)

The Maestro

Jo Seminar with Jay Sensei May 30-31!

Don't miss the Jo Seminar with Jay Sensei May 30-31! Class Saturday will be from 10-noon and 3-5pm, Sunday class will be from 10-noon. If you are not on the inclusive membership, the fees for the weekend are $75 or $50 for saturday, $35 for Sunday. These are the video highlights from last years Jo Seminar:

Living the Bodhisattva Life: Transforming Anger, Awakening Patience.

The Toledo Zen Center presents an afternoon workshop with Jay Sensei Sunday May 24th from 1:30-4:30pm. This is the second in a series of workshops in which we will work with the seemingly paradoxical way a Boshisattva lives in the world. This event is open to the public, no registration is required. The suggested free will donation is $25.

"With the thorn of anger still lodged in the heart, there can be neither peace, nor joy, nor true action."
-Jay Rinsen

Space......The Final Frontier

It was a nice to be on the mat moving after hanging in the extreme humidity of Texas for a spell.  I always feel that the dojo centers me when life starts going in numerous directions.

Speaking of numerous directions, Sensei began the class with a series of exercises with the staff jo.  It examined how to remain centered in the midst of chaos moving around us.  We were “twirling” the jo like a baton but our hand ideally would always remain in the contact with the jo as it turns.  So we were never throwing the jo in the air like a baton there was always a connection to the weapon with the hand. 

The title of today’s post is “Space …. The Final Frontier”(and the new Star Trek Film opened last weekend, YEAH) because while were doing this and everyone’s jo is spinning, we had to move and walk.  Oh yeah, and not hit each other and drop the jo while doing all of this.  It was important that we remain centered in our own space otherwise we might whack ourselves or one of our friends on the mat.  We had to maintain and take care of our own space.  The other element that I noticed in doing this was that this movement needed to germinate from the hara.  When this happened it would seem as the though the jo would have an engine and generate its movement on its own.  Sensei said that we mustn’t try to “make” the jo move but allow the movement to come from our center and waist.  When this was done properly, it would appear that there was very little movement being made on the outside of our bodies but it would create a dynamic movement from the jo.  It is kind of like driving a car at 60 miles per hour, the slightest movement from the steering wheel can have a DRAMATIC influence on the car.  

Much of Aikido is about managing space in a relaxed fashion and when my “Wow, I haven’t dropped my jo” mind entered the picture I would immediately um, well, let me see,  drop my jo.  With this jo exercise, it is imperative that one stays as relaxed as possible even though there are so many things happening around you.  In the craziness of Randori (tori is attacked by multiple ukes) with all of the energy and attacks coming tori must remain centered, calm, and in control of their breathing.  The other issue is to create constant movement with the jo similar to cursive writing, a constant flow. No corners or edges to the movement of the jo. This principle is found in the empty hand technic in Aikido.  We then put the jo away and examined how this principle is expressed in Ikkyo (first technic).    It is funny that sometimes we begin the class and I just don’t “get it” but like any martial art, if you stay present in the class and the long arc of martial training AND have a good teacher then the understanding of what and why we do certain things in class will eventually arrive. 

Well, that is all for now.  Have a great rest of the week.  I will bid you goodbye in the words of the great philosopher Dr. Spock, Live Long and Prosper!

The Maestro

Michigan Aikido

The Michigan Aikido Club has found a great new training space and will resume regular keiko every Wednesday 5-7pm. Look us up if you're up north! More info at

Yudansha (and 1st kyu) seminar with Gleason Sensei

Yudansha (and 1st kyu!) Seminar - Shobu Aikido of the Berkshires - William Gleason Sensei' on Shobu Aikido of Boston | MA | VT | OH | ME | CA | CT!

Time: May 16, 2009 at 10am to May 17, 2009 at 5pm
Location: Shobu Aikido of the Berkshires
Organized By: Sato Sensei

Event Description:
Hi my Aikido friends.

We are going to have a Yudansha Seminar on May 16-17th at Shobu Aikido of the Berkshires with Bill Gleason Sensei.

16th: Saturday
10-12 noon, 3-5pm

17th: Sunday

$70 for two days, $40 for one day only

This seminar for 1st kyu and above. We have limited space, so please pre-register via e-mail to or call Sato 413-528-1044

Accommodations are available at the dojo. Please bring a sleeping bag.

We are looking foward to seeing you.


See more details and RSVP on Shobu Aikido of Boston | MA | VT | OH | ME | CA | CT:

A Beginner's Mind

A Beginner’s mind is something that we should all strive to maintain in our lives.  That does not mean that we come to class and forget everything we have learned in the past but rather to be in a state of openness to learn and grow.  At keiko practice this Saturday morning we had three students just beginning their way with our Aikido school.  Christian, Donovan and Heather did a wonderful job working to understand Aikido at the start of their journey.  When I look at them make their way down the path it reminds me of when I began 5 years ago and that we should all strive to approach our time on the mat with the mind of a beginner.  Open and without ego to absorb new concepts, ways of thinking, people, and movements. 


We are currently in a cycle of testing preparation for the dojo.  It is a wonderful time when we especially work to help each other grow in a more concentrated effort.  The newer folks learn from the upper ranks and as an upper rank, I ALWAYS realize how difficult it is to verbalize and to help someone learn a particular technic.  But we make our way and I ALWAYS come away from sharing, with a better understanding of what we were working on.  The learning definitely goes both ways!

In music we say if you really want to learn to conduct try teaching someone to conduct.  That is when you really realize you don’t know what you are doing!  The gift in teaching is similar to meditation to me in the sense teaching really acts as a mirror to what you know (or think you know).  It is like the beginner’s mind all over again.

In class this morning we focused on making a connection with uke (one who receives the technic) through katate tori (single hand grab) and morote tori (two hand grab to tori’s one arm).  Once that connection is made then tori (the one executing the technic) can shape the direction on how things can go.  So much of Aikido is about relaxation and being able to sense uke’s intention.  It was great to see our new friends connect, relax, sweat, and smile through the course of the morning.  The mat is a great learning space for us to learn about ourselves as well as others. The relationship between uke and tori is one that allows growth for both as long both are present and mindful in the moment.    But first we must bring the “Beginner’s Mind” and to have our hearts open to receive the gifts offered. 


The Maestro


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