Aikido Center of Jacksonville
Dojo Newsletter November 2008

A big congratulations to John Miller, Buck Pittman, and Jerry Akel for passing their respective yudansha tests.  John passed a grueling nidan examination, and Buck and Jerry persevered through an equally grueling shodan test.

The examination was held at the 2008 Winter Camp in Fort Lauderdale, hosted by Florida Aikikai.  The testing panel consisted of Sugano Shihan of New York Aikikai, Peter Bernath Shihan of Florida Aikikai, and Andrew Demko Shihan of the Aikido Center of New Castle.

Candidates for both shodan and nidan examinations took ukemi for each other, with the tests lasting approximately fifty and forty minutes, respectively.  Our understanding is that future yudansha tests will be similar to the one recently conducted. 

(That sound you just heard was the sound of a hundred 1st kyu's gulping for air).

Top Ten Reasons To Open A New Dojo
1.  A chance to spend a lovely Saturday afternoon removing paint from your hair.

2.  No more putting the mats up.

3.  Free parking!  Huzzah!

4.  Cleaning a toilet that hadn't been touched since the Great Spice War.

5.  More classes, more mat space, better air conditioning.

6.  Jerry's comfy sofa.

7.  Did I mention no more putting the mats up?

8.  Pepe's Hacienda & Restaurant.

9.  Honest to goodness cleansing class on New Years Day.

10.  A chance to write my first top ten list!  Hurray for me!

Brevard Aikikai Christmas Seminar
On Saturday, December 13, Ryan, Maggie, Dee and yours truly attended a Christmas seminar at Brevard Aikikai.  The event was especially noteworthy since it marked Sensei's first time teaching a seminar outside of Jacksonville.  Her class focused on ukemi, in particular the style of ukemi known as "soft ukemi".  Many of the students in attendance had never seen this type of ukemi before, and were clearly intrigued.  A fun time was had by all.

Upcoming Events
On January 1, at 3 p.m. we will be holding our 2009 cleansing class.  Following the class we will be having a potluck dinner and New Years party.  For those who don't know what cleansing class is all about, all I can say is, the first rule of cleansing class is Don't Talk About Cleansing Class.  Please make plans to be there.  You will have fun, I promise.

On January 17, we will be hosting our grand opening seminar.  We will announce our guest instructor soon.  If you haven't yet had a chance to see the new dojo, this is the perfect opportunity.  See you on the mat!



A Message from Sensei
As most of you know by now, we have moved into our new location in Dupont Station.  Our inaugural class was held on December 6, after a long week of prep work.  With our new location, I am very happy to announce the following changes in our school.  First, we will be offering more classes throughout the week.  In addition, we have begun offering children's classes as well as private lessons.  Check out our newly revamped class information and frequently asked questions pages to learn the details.  (We will still hold classes at the University of North Florida, which will continue to be open to all our students.  However, classes at UNF will only be held when academic classes are in session). 

On a more personal note, I would like to acknowledge everyone's hard work these past few weeks.  In particular, I want to thank Chris, Christine, David, Karl, Leslie, Jose, Maggie, Ryan, and Jerry for the long, hard day of painting.  You volunteered your weekend, and made a difference fast.  I also want to thank Bruce and Jose for their financial contribution for the padding under the mats.  Whenever you take ukemi, you should silently express your gratitude to Bruce and Jose for your soft landing.  A special debt of gratitude goes to Ryan, who helped in many ways, large and small.  (Including moving Jerry's furniture into the dojo).  Lastly, I want to give a big thanks to Jose and Jerry, for the long, tiring, late nights we spent at the school.  Jose Gutierrez is one of our newest students, and if you see him, please extend a huge thank you for all his hard work.  Having said that, we still have much to do, and we will keep improving as we go.

But for now, thank you! 

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