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I teach Aikido at a small dojo in Winnipeg, Canada. Been doing so for many years now. This blog is just a collection of ruminations on teaching, descriptions of the events of daily practice, and the occasional funny story.
Suddenly without a dojo, I carefully assessed my training options. I thought very seriously about returning to Saskatoon and travelled there twice to see if I could land a job. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find decent employ, so I resigned myself to remaining in Winnipeg. I started to look around the city for other Aikido dojos. At that time, the only other one was a Ki-Society off-shoot. I attended a public demonstration at the dojo and saw Aikido technique very different from my own. Most of what I saw was no-touch stuff where uke simply dropped to the floor for no apparent reason. I was far from impressed. The teacher let his students do most of the demonstration except for the last five minutes or so during which he performed a few basic techniques. To my surprise, he was fairly skilled. He had good balance and timing, he moved quickly and cleanly, and even used some well-executed atemi. His demeanour, though, was very...peculiar. He appeared to have something of a god-complex going on. His students weren't merely respectful but sycophantic. It was terribly odd - almost embarrassing - to watch the interactions between teacher and students. I didn't like the vibe at all. It seemed to me this particular dojo was a bust.
So, what was I going to do? I was determined I wasn't simply going to stop training. I would do what I could with what I had. But what did I have? Not much, really. As I thought about how to approach continuing training I recalled that there was a YM