I feel that our dojo is very unique and traditional in many ways. We recently had a seminar on Iwama weapons with Steve Kanney Sensei, Dojo Cho of Scarsdale Aikido (Aikido White Plains). While there are many martial arts styles and dojos throughout the world, I feel that our is very unique. As some of you may know, I have practiced many other martial arts, yet while I was a member of those particular arts and attended those places of practice, none offered such an open mind towards others like our dojo.
For one, we share our dojo with a very traditional Chinese martial art (Kung Fu) Master Kwong who Sensei Steve has shared his teachings with us who practice Aikido. This is something that I was not used to. When I practiced certain arts the Sifu or Sensei (in TKD the instructor is Sir or Master) would not allow you to attend any other instructors’ seminars or events unless they themselves would be going as a group. If it was known that you did attend without his or her approval (or say blessing) this would be a cause for you to be punished (by means of extra work while at class , or you would be the sole person cleaning the dojo, or sometimes even just not being accepted anymore to practice at that dojo).
In our dojo our instructor not only oks it, but he also invites other practitioners of different martial arts to give seminars. This for me is very good. I feel that all true martial arts are good, and there are some that teach well but show different things. Tolerance is a very important quality to have in oneself. It is part of practicing any martial art. The notion that one is better than another is a bad quality to have, instead of just looking at it as being different yet still a martial art.
I know that most members haven’t seen me for some time, and that my attendance at the dojo is sporadic. This is due to work schedule and being in the military, but never because I don’t want to be there. I have been practicing Aikido since 2005, and have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the dojo and its members because I feel as part of a family of a unique dojo that promotes harmony. It has been shown to me every time Master Kwong does a seminar and invites us to attend or even to watch, and am reminded every time Kanney Sensei does a seminar or invites other martial arts styles to our dojo for us to practice or observe. Our daily practice grows with this type of instruction.
I also want to thank Kanney Sensei, and all that attended the seminar (thank you for supporting the dojo event) I want to Thank Sensei Suryama, Kevin and Muuhito for coming to our dojo and showing us Kendo. I’m ready for the next surprise. To those that were unable to attend am sure there will be other times and we look forward to seeing you there. We as a dojo need to support it and each other, It is good Aikido practice.