Aikido Center of Jacksonville
Dojo Newsletter March 2009

New Students
Please extend an enthusiastic welcome to our newest students, Katie, Matt and Margarita.  We're glad you're here--train hard and have fun!

Kyu Tests
Sensei has scheduled our kyu tests for Saturday, April 25 at 1:15pm.  To my fellow yudansha, we have quite a few students testing, from 5th kyu to 3rd kyu, so if you are able to attend the Saturday class, I'm sure Sensei would appreciate it.  And if you are testing, allow me to offer some advice: If you haven't attended the Friday open mat class, please do so!  Sensei and I are there and will help you with your test preparation.  It is, essentially, a private lesson.

As always, Sensei will have the final word if and when you are ready to test.  

24 Hours of Aikido / Movie Night
The concept for our 24 hours of Aikido is evolving.  Sensei has expressed an interest in a dojo movie night / sleepover, for students and their families.  We would project Samurai movies on the far wall and possibly rent a movie style popcorn machine.  Perhaps we could incorporate some training also?  If you have any ideas, please let us know.

Upcoming Seminars
On April 25, Grady Lane Sensei is organizing a spring seminar at his dojo, Brevard Aikikai.

Also, on June 27 and 28, Lane Sensei will host Robert Zimmerman Shihan of Toronto Aikikai, again at Brevard Aikikai.

Odds and Ends
It was a thrill to see Tonya again, during her well earned vacation from her apprenticeship at New York Aikikai.  But even when she's gone, she's never far away, since she posts about her training in her online blog.  If you haven't checked it out, you may want to do so.  In addition to her informative posts, the comments section is very active, which makes for some interesting reading.

In case you didn't know, we keep a stocked refrigerator behind Sensei's desk.  In addition to bottled water, we also have soft drinks and snacks.  Please note, however, that the goodies are not free--we ask that you contribute a small donation to help defray our costs.



Third Annual Camping Trip
I'm already calling this years camping excursion the sandy beach trip, since I'm still finding sand in the folds of my hakama.  Never let it be said that taking ukemi on the beach is easy--despite the lovely views and wonderful weather, those darned pebbles really kept me alert.

Of course, the trip was a great success and we all had a wonderful time.  This year, twenty of our students and families joined the festivities.  We arrived at Gold Head Branch State Park early Saturday afternoon.  The temperature was a mild 60 degrees in the afternoon, dropping to the 40s Saturday night.  Keeping to tradition, we held a sunset and sunrise class.  Our sunset class was conducted on the sandy shores of Little Lake Johnson, where a few observers gathered to watch.  Our sunrise weapons class was held near the campsite, and was the perfect start to the day.

Cooking duties this year were handled a bit more democratically, and we all feasted on campfire hamburgers, hot dogs, and of course, roasted marshmallows.  Sitting around the campfire is always great fun, made all the more so by the enthusiastic turnout from our students.  The next morning Sensei organized a game of dodgeball, while Heather amazed us all by climbing to the top of a very tall tree.  In the meantime, Buck cooked a mean breakfast of sausages and pancakes.  Before leaving, several of our students explored the nature trails around the park.

On a personal note, I want to say how gratified I am by the large turnout.  I think we have the makings a very special tradition, and I personally can't wait to begin organizing next years excursion.

(Want to see even more pictures?  Check out our slideshow, set to that blues classic "One Monkey Don't Stop My Show").

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