Aikido Center of Jacksonville
Dojo Newsletter June 2008

O'Sensei Memorial Class
Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, passed away on April 26, 1969.  To honor his life and Art, on Saturday, April 26, Sensei held a memorial class, which was well attended by the school.

Website Zen
We've added a new navigational feature to our website – Google search.  Turns out, we've got quite a bit of information tucked away in our orbiting satellite, which we thought ought to be made more accessible to you, our readers.  So, whether you're looking to define an obscure Japanese term, or just want to download mad pics of yours truly, simply point your mouse to the bottom of any web page, and ready yourself for search engine bliss.  Namaste!

Brevard Aikikai Seminar
Brevard Aikikai will be celebrating its move to a new training space with a friendship seminar on Saturday, May 17.  The featured instructor will be Grady Lane Sensei, and the cost is a very reasonable $30.  Other scheduled instructors include Alan Drysdale Sensei of Enmei Dojo, Randy Beck Sensei of Sand Drift Aikido, and Bill Vintroux Sensei of Melbourne Aikikai.  Additional details can be found on their website.

UNF Aikido Demonstration
The Asian American Heritage Celebration for 2008 is scheduled for Thursday, May 15 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. in Building 14.  Our demonstration is set for 12:45 on the Green.  The celebration is sponsored by the Intercultural Center for PEACE, which I suppose makes sense, since this month's newsletter is beginning to remind me of one big hippie love-in. 


Editors Note:  This month Dee, our most merciful Sensei, was kind enough to unchain me from the dojo linotype and permit Sam McCrea, a fellow student, the honor of writing the June column.

Aikido at UNF:  A Healthy, Interesting Avocation
After studying Karate for three years and then moving to Jacksonville, I arrived at the University of North Florida as a post-baccalaureate student in the Fall of 2007.  At that time, I did not know much about Aikido, although I had a sensei back in Gainesville, where I am from, who informed me that Aikido study was amenable for somebody who knew Karate.  My name is Sam McCrea and I am a high school math Sam McCrea (Nage) | Peter Bernath Shihan (Uke)teacher here in Jacksonville.  When I first set foot in the dojo, I did not know much about Aikido, but I did know what not to look for in a school:  pretense, grandiosity, and promises of “a black-belt within X number of years.”  Instead I knew that one should look for a simple, dedicated school with inhabitants dedicated to their art.  I found that at UNF. 

My maturation as an Aikido student has been very gradual.  During the fall semester last year I generally went to a lesson once a week.  Now I usually go two or three times a week and I can sense a growth in my abilities.  For somebody like me, Aikido study is an excellent way to put my concentrative powers and self discipline to the test.  I am famous for not being able to pay attention, but Aikido forces me to do it.  I am also impressed by the martial ability of the instructors and students.  I attended a seminar hosted by Brevard Aikikai in January where Tonya was promoted to 2nd kyu, a rank she now shares with Oscar.  I have also recently been made aware of the rank status of our “Aikido Family,” including Karl, Leslie, and David, who are all 4th kyu.  In addition to being impressed by their artistry, the members make the dojo a place where I feel welcome.  I am comfortable here and feel I am among friends.  If I ask Sensei to demonstrate a technique for me, I can rest assured she’ll do it gladly, even if I’m literally asking her for the hundredth time.  I say hats off to the Aikido Center of Jacksonville; as long as I’m a student at UNF, I will continue to train here.

Non-Violence Workshop: A Tranquil Affair
On Thursday, April 24, Tonya and Jerry conducted a non-violence workshop for the students of Professor John Maraldo, a UNF Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Florida.  Professor Maraldo, an expert in Buddhist aesthetics and the Japanese Kyoto school of philosophy, and a lifelong Tai ChiNonviolence Workshop at UNF practitioner, has incorporated Aikido into his course on Asian philosophy.  Accordingly, Jerry discussed the metaphysical, as well as martial, components to irimi (entering), and drew a connection between the practice of kokyu-nage (breath throw) and Shinto belief, as taught by O'Sensei.  Tonya and Jerry also performed jiyu-waza (free-style) from a variety of attacks.

The demonstration attracted a large turnout, and was a great success.  Special thanks also to Carl, Ryan, and David, who answered questions from the students following the event.

Interested in Weapons Training?
Each week Sensei teaches a specialty class.  In addition to bokken, jo, and tanto, Sensei teaches advanced classes focusing on ukemi and randori.  If you want to explore aiki sword or staff, or learn the dynamics of responding to multiple attackers, these are the classes to attend.  Look for these on our class calendar.