The history to be traced for Aikido and the Toronto Aikido Centre is a long one. Rather than re-write what has been posted all over the internet, below are links which will provide a synopsis of Aikido History, and how the current Toronto Aikido Centre came to be.
In the Beginning - Aikido:
Aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba, was born in Japan on December 14, 1883. As
a boy, he often saw local thugs beat up his father for political reasons. He set
out to make himself strong so that he could take revenge. He devoted himself to
hard physical conditioning and eventually to the practice of martial arts,
receiving certificates of mastery in several styles of jujitsu, fencing, and
spear fighting. In spite of his impressive physical and martial capabilities,
however, he felt very dissatisfied. He began delving into religions in hopes of
finding a deeper significance to life, all the while continuing to pursue his
studies of budo, or the martial arts. By combining his martial training with his
religious and political ideologies, he created the modern martial art of Aikido.
Ueshiba decided on the name "Aikido" in 1942 (before that he called his martial
art "aikibudo" and "aikinomichi").
On the technical side, Aikido is rooted in several styles of jujitsu (from which modern judo is also derived), in particular daitoryu-(aiki)jujitsu, as well as sword and spear fighting arts. Oversimplifying somewhat, we may say that Aikido takes the joint locks and throws from jujitsu and combines them with the body movements of sword and spear fighting. However, we must also realize that many Aikido techniques are the result of Master Ueshiba's own innovation.
Yoshinkan Aikido - The Growing Years:
The Aikido Yoshinkan Foundation was founded in 1955 by Gozo Shioda Sensei.
Shioda Sensei's style of Aikido is known as Yoshinkan, a name that he inherited from his father who owned a Kendo (Japanese fencing) and judo dojo by that name. "YO" means cultivating, "SHIN" means spirit or mind and "KAN" means house.
Now, Honbu Dojo (headquarters of Yoshinkan) is located at the heart of Tokyo in Shinjuku. There are many different courses offered, such as instructor, special training, police force training, classes for overseas students, children's classes, beginner and regular courses. The dojo itself is a modern, open design with full facilities, large changing rooms, administration offices plus a number of additional facilities to cater to the "uchi deshi" or live instructor trainee.
In Yoshinkan style, the emphasis is-on the fundamental movements and basic solid techniques as well as gaining philosophical insight into the conduct of life and human relationships.
Seimeikan Aikido - The Developing Years
Seimeikan Dojo was established in 1985 as a member of the International
Yoshinkai Aikido Federation. Seimeikan's Head Instructor was Mitsugoro Karasawa
who studied directly under Gozo Shioda, Founder of Yoshinkan style. Karasawa
Sensei is a seventh dan black belt and has over 35 years of teaching and Aikido
involvement. Literally the word SEIMEIKAN translates as:
SEI means pure,
MEI means light up,
KAN means house;
therefore a place in which to light up or reveal your purity.
The intention in creating SEIMEIKAN was to provide a place where we could train our minds and bodies, to create a true spirit of harmony and to ultimately create better human beings both mentally and physically.
Toronto Aikido (Shunpukan) - Future of Aikido
Unfortunately in 2003 Karasawa Sensei decided he wished
to retire. Plans were made to close the Seimeikan Dojo. The student body was
looking eager to continue the same level and style of training as before. An
appeal was made to Karasawa Sensei and at the last minute, he was won over by
the students zest to continue. He turned over the day to day management to Alan
Shumak, now Fifth Dan, his longest training student. Karasawa Sensei continued
on teaching whenever possible, and maintained a regular presence.
With a new name, but the same location and student body, the dojo has continued on in much the same fashion as before. Toronto Aikido Centre was born. It's Japanese name is Shunpukan, which translates as "The House of the Spring Breeze". The name was bestowed on the dojo by Karasawa Sensei who felt that the new dojo would be revitalized by the breeze of new challenges and fresh ideas.
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