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.

Muketsu Invades D.C. (Part 3 of 5)

Day 3 – July 3


For the 8:30 AM class, I decided to try out the Aiki-ken #6-12 class taught by Robert Sensei of the D.C. dojo because I felt I could use some practice with this set. This time, we worked on Aiki-ken #8-9. To my disappointment, I was confused because the way Sensei showed us how to do these kata is different from what we were taught at our dojo and different from how they are shown in Saotome Sensei’s video and Ledyard Sensei’s video. After class, I went to one of the students who attended the two-sword class asked him to show me some of the techniques that were shown. Luckily, I didn’t miss too much.

Saotome Sensei taught the 10:00 AM class but we did not practice with any weapons, saying “the mind is the weapon.”

“First of all, keep martial arts on your mind, and work diligently in a straightforward manner; then you can win with your hands, and you can also defeat people by seeing with your eyes. Furthermore, when you refine your practice to the point where you attain freedom of the whole body, then you can overcome people by means of your body. And since your mind is trained in this science, you can also overcome people by means of mind. When you reach this point, how could you be defeated by others?” –from the “Earth Scroll”

Later on, Sensei became upset because of the lax attitude and sloppy technique displayed by several aikidoka in class, saying that we did not have the right spirit. After this scolding, it was humorous to listen how many of the aikidoka tried to show Sensei that they indeed had the right spirit in their practice by adding kiai to their technique. C’mon folks, seriously?

After Sensei cooled down, we worked on Atemi Waza and kicking defenses.

When I went to the same organic market during lunch, I noticed that they had organic sweet potato pie! It was very good. OK, moving on…


John Messores Sensei of the Jionjuku Aikido Academy of Warrior Spirit in Largo, Florida taught the first Rokudan class of the day. He discussed about taking the center. When uke attacks, instead of trying to figure out what technique to do, Sensei said that the first priority is controlling the center line. Once that is accomplished, then nage can determine what technique to use depending on how uke’s body is positioned.

Unfortunately, I had to step out of the mat for the majority of the class because I had a clumsy partner who kept stepping on my bad toe, which resulted in re-aggravating the injury. So I had to clean up the blood and re-bandage my toe. In fact, later on I had different partners that stepped on my bad toe. Why always my bad toe? Why can’t they step on my good toe?

Random thought: Is it me or does Messores Sensei bare some resemblance to Anderson Cooper?

George Ledyard Sensei of Aikido Eastside of Bellevue, Washington taught the second Rokudan class. I was looking forward to this class because I have been a fan of his work. His videos on “Entry” and the Aiki-ken #6-12 are very informative. In fact, I purchased his “Principles in Randori” video manual during camp. His style of teaching is that of an undergraduate college professor where he is able to discuss advanced concepts in terms that a beginner can understand. He discusses Aikido in practical and tactical terms. In other words, he discusses Aikido as a martial art.

In his class, Ledyard Sensei followed up on what Messores Sensei talked about in taking the center. Afterwards, Ledyard Sensei discussed about the association of two-sword technique with empty-hand technique. This makes Shomen Uchi Shiho Nage more sense.


During Ikeda Sensei’s 6:00 PM class, one of the concepts that he showed was moving uke with katate tori. Here, Sensei would establish a line of connection from his center to uke’s shoulder. From there Sensei would move uke’s shoulder. Another concept was transitioning big movement to small movement and movement from outside to inside. This means that as one advances in expertise, the aikidoka would create the same movement from inside one’s body. This leads to a segment I like to call “The Mystery of Ikeda Shihan.”

The Mystery of Ikeda Shihan

During my time in D.C., I have been trying to figure out why Ikeda Sensei is so hard to comprehend. First of all in terms of teaching, Sensei would tell us and show us what he is doing to uke, but he would not show us how exactly he is doing it. Or perhaps it’s not so obvious. Furthermore, he would tell us to go from Point A to Point B but he would not necessarily tell us how to do it. Second of all in terms of watching his performance, his movements are so small it looks like he is not doing anything to unbalance uke. Finally, when I take ukemi from him, all I feel is emptiness. When I take ukemi from Gleason Sensei, at least from the last time he came to our dojo for a Gasshuku, I could feel that he is applying light pressure in throwing me and I could sense that he is controlling the space such that if I move one way, I would end up in a painful joint lock, and if I move another way, I would be vulnerable for an atemi. With Ikeda Sensei however, I could not feel his center, I could not feel his power, and I was not sure if I could feel a connection. But for some reason, he makes an infinitesimally small movement that generates a certain feeling resonating throughout my body that causes me to go wherever Sensei wants me to go. It borders between whether his technique actually works or am I just simply taking ukemi for him.

On to Day 4…

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