I am pleased to be the President of Griffith Aikido Brisbane, a peaceful organisation practising the Art of Peace. Aikido has become an incredibly important part of my life and I willingly give back to the art I love, so that others may have the opportunity to enjoy the same benefits. Accordingly, I encourage everyone at Griffith Aikido to strive for self-improvement. It doesn’t happen overnight or on every day, but if you walk the path long enough, the journey is worth it.
As I said at the AGM, Griffith Aikido will focus entirely on the Art of Aikido, with none of the distractions of the last twelve months. We as a club, will regain our centre, and aim to quickly regain our status as a premier teaching school. We have fantastic instructors and a wealth of talent and experience; and now we have added the final ingredient – strong and positive leadership.
I am very pleased to announce that Steve Dows Sensei has been formally appointed as Griffith Aikido’s Head Instructor and will oversee Aikido at both Nathan and Everton Hills dojo. Steve will work with dojo heads, Rod Sensei and Ben Sensei on a wide range of syllabus and teaching programs.
At club level, it is my role to provide leadership, stability, predictability and continuity for students and instructors alike. To help achieve those goals long term, it is my intention to continue to serve in the coming years. For the first time this year, the committee is ‘dojo neutral’. That means a change at Nathan. To assist in the process, John Murray will help Ben Sensei by overseeing dojo admin and ensure smooth running in all other aspects.
It is also the unanimous desire of all of our Head Instructors and regular teaching staff to return to traditional values. To that end, our dojo system will run on the traditional model. That means one dojo – one head dojo instructor in charge; and one class – one class instructor in charge. That in turn will ensure certainty of dojo decision making; more harmonious practice; less room for unpredictable outcomes; and an increase in safety on the mat.
The etiquette of Aikido Yuishinkai will no longer be optional. Some helpful suggestions for both kyu and senior students include:
- Everyone arriving at class in time to help with the mats
- If late, not stepping onto the mat until asked to by the class instructor
- Maintaining silence while a class instructor is talking
- Never offering helpful hints to an instructor in front of the class
- Doing exactly as the class instructor asks
- Practicing cooperatively with your partner and offering no resistance unless asked for by the class instructor
- Folding the class instructor’s hakama even if you have to fold your own afterwards
In a return to the traditional Sempai – Kohai system, seniors are expected to lead the way in setting a high standard, not only in grasp of technique, but also in self-discipline, self-control, and dojo etiquette. Kohai have always looked to their Sempai for guidance. Sempai should provide guidance but should be careful not to overstep into the class instructor’s role. It is always preferable to show by doing rather than using too many words.
Steve Dows Sensei has already made it clear that a much wider assessment will be made of students grading to 1^st kyu and beyond. Number of classes or years in training simply flags initial eligibility. Steve Sensei requires senior students to demonstrate they are technically good enough for the grade they aspire to; and just as importantly, demonstrate consistently a calm, positive mind and a loyal, willing, cooperative attitude.
Aikido is all there is now. Earnest practice, cooperative training, engaging the community, and sharing the art of Aikido is our mantra. There will be no other agenda in this club. Mercifully, the prolonged distraction of websites has gone the way of the dinosaurs and everyone now has the opportunity to refocus on training.
People who know me will know that I am always open to positive and constructive suggestions. You may email me at any time with ideas and feedback, or a spray if you think it’s appropriate. Positive communication is good, and negative communication is also useful as it reveals where the mind is at – ‘calm’ or ‘contentious’.
Finally, I would like to extend a standing invitation to all other clubs. Everyone … and I do mean everyone will be warmly welcomed as a guest at Griffith Aikido.
Believe it or not, when all of the factors described above are in place, Aikido training becomes immensely rewarding and incredibly good fun. When that happens people are naturally attracted to the dojo and friendships are forged.
With enormous optimism for the future, I welcome you all to training in 2013.
See you on the mat.