How to create and advance Aikido centers in your community

Morihei Ueshiba ,O’Sensei said: “Aikido wa kazoku desu”, Aikido is family.  Saito Sensei told us on many occasions that this meant that the Aikido family was like a real family. Training in Aikido involves a mutuality and agreement to work together. The uchi deshi (house-students), are well atuned to this, working in the garden or Dojo grounds, cooking, and sharing meals, cleaning or just spending the time between training sessions is all done with a sense of belonging to the Aiki family. Aikido demands collegiality and heightened awarness towards one another from its participants.

By creating and running Dojos in Reno NV, Berlin Germany and Santa Fe NM, I have gained some insights as to what can be of benefit to create Aikido centers in your community.

Some simple ideas are the basis of starting an Aikido Dojo. Compassionate leadership, a sense of vitality and growth in the teaching of Aikido technics and some commited students are the foundation.

O’Sensei said:

At the Beginning of the world
Mirror, Jewel and  Sword descended
Thereby establishing  the nations
As an expression of the Divine Mind”

Translation by John Stevens:

Mirror signifies knowledge and honesty, the Jewel stands for benvolence and compassion, the Sword stands for courage and decisivness.”

Clearly knowing and presenting Aikido in its many facets is a prerequisite to leading an Aikido school. This has to be done in a benevolent and compassionate manner, that involves all participants.

With this in mind the Dojo community presents itself to the community at large with intent and resolution to the purpose of the Art of Peace. We started out with a small place close to the center of Santa Fe and a hand full of students. Regular classes soon brought new members and Aikidokas from various affiliations. Lots of patience and acceptence is needed to bring everybody together here. Diversity in students' knowledge of Aikido is not a hinderence as long as they are being taught with compassion. Soon with the creation of our website other outlying Dojos and students became aware of our new school. With regular seminar events, participants were contacted by email and a relationship and friendship with Dojos in the nearby area ensued. With demonstration and Energy Awarness Seminars we were able to draw attention from other Martial Arts as well as from the Healing community, where Aikido offers a real source for rejuvenation. Holding contact and communication between interested people and Dojos establishes a central role for your Dojo.

During this summer of 2006 Judith Robinson Sensei from Tuscon requested to bring together TAA member Dojos in the SouthWest region to teach  a seminar once a year on a rotational basis in Tuscon AZ, Santa Fe NM, Farmington NM and Pagosa Springs Colo.

The purpose of a TAA SW Seminar would be to teach and share with the SW Aikido community our tradition and legacy, consisting of the principles of weopons and open handed Aikido, as taught to us by Saito Sensei. Creating a center for exchange to support and introduce new teachers will bring us closer together and at the same time will allow us to connect outward.

We agreed to hold the first TAA South West Region annual Seminar on October 6&7, 2007 in Pagosa Springs Colorado.

The TAA board members have agreed to advance the concept of creating TAA centers, and by 2008 will have a TAA fall seminar in a non-California area.

Through the creation of the TAA South West annual seminar, we invite the entire Takemusu Aikido Assocation to a Fall Seminar in Tuscon, Arizona in 2008.

September 4, 2006 Santa Fe NM

Wolfgang Baumgartner
Aikido Arts Center Santa Fe