Griffith Aikido Brisbane
Exciting News – Michael Karkkainen Sensei at Everton Hills soon
Michael Karkkainen Sensei will be teaching at Griffith Aikido Brisbane Everton Hills dojo on Monday nights 8th July and 22nd July. Michael is a 5th Dan instructor and usually teaches at Nathan on alternate Tuesday nights. Everton Hills members should not miss this wonderful opportunity. Strongly recommended. Everyone is welcome.
A wonderful future at Griffith Aikido Brisbane
I am pleased to tell you that Griffith Aikido Brisbane is prospering!
It is no secret that the club has been through some challenging times over the past couple of years. Ups and downs are a fact of life in every organisation, but if experience has taught me anything, it’s that adversity and change usually bring with it opportunity; but only for those who choose to see it and act on it.
We are very aware and proud of our history and lineage as we plan for the future. The past is our history and our heritage; but ultimately it is a collection of memories and a rich source of stories. Life is in the present and that is where we are focusing our attention.
Aikido teaches us to connect; to be aware of everything around us and to be present in the moment. One of the benefits of heightened awareness training is that it allows us to anticipate change. Change is inevitable. Often, it is the only certainty we have. The positive to be taken from it is that the more we meet change and blend with it, the easier it becomes to embrace it and work with it.
One of the social benefits of a dojo is meeting new people and the new experiences that result. But it is a fact of life that people come and go. Although the going part is rarely what we want, we must enjoy their company and learn from them for the time they stay. In the end, we are all on our individual journeys; and every now and then a crossroads is reached; a decision point where we must ultimately take different paths.
So to those who feel the need to follow one teacher or another, I say make a choice and continue with your journey. It doesn’t matter where you train. The most important thing in Aikido is that you train. As O Sensei said, “Heaven is right where you are standing and that is the place to train.”
There is never a need to despair over fluctuating dojo numbers. The important thing is that those who want to be at Griffith Aikido are here and very happy to be here. They are our loyal members who want to give back to their dojo, and share their knowledge with students coming up behind them. For that reason, dojo longevity is never at risk either. Numerically, it is simply a function of people starting versus people leaving. At times, more people leave than start. We have been through one of those times.
This should never be regarded as a poor reflection on our dojo or our people. Aikido for the most part is a leisure activity, and people leave because life overtakes them at one time or another. Work, family, relationships and other interests are the most common reason. These things are not in our control. By contrast though, a lack of people starting is very much within our control. It means that not enough attention has been paid to engaging the community and broadcasting our message.
People walking through our dojo door to learn Aikido is a blessing, but not one that we should ever take for granted. Like every other organisation offering a service, volunteer or not, we must give the process of attracting new members a high priority. ‘Build it and they will come’ only happens in the field of dreams.
With all of that in mind, we have been busy doing a lot of planning since the AGM, and now it is paying off as we regain our momentum. This driving force is in no small way due to the efforts of our dedicated volunteers on the management committee and several other willing members.
I look around at our considerable club resources and feel blessed. We are spoilt for choice with an amazing group of instructors. Some of the most senior Aikidoka in Brisbane teach at Griffith Aikido Brisbane. We have some of the best facilities in Brisbane with two first class training venues and Everton Hills and Nathan; and we have an abundance of mat space and equipment.
Above all, we have peace and harmony; and it’s hard to place a value on that.
All that remains is to increase our student membership. We are doing that one student at a time, by actively engaging with the community. Aikido continues to be a word worth spreading, because it represents the one thing that most of us want. That is peace and harmony in our lives, mostly within ourselves. The Art of Peace helps so many people in all walks of life.
To grow a thriving dojo we need effective media. We are now back on air with a new professionally built website that is once again capable of being ranked and able to attract new students. We will apply our resources to support our site with a program of ongoing internet marketing and local promotional activities as we build into the future.
Once again our future is very rosy, and these are our plans:
- We will stay true to our charter which is to promote Aikido to the wider community. Accordingly, we are positioning Griffith Aikido as the premier Aikido institute whose core objective is to develop people of all ages and abilities from beginner to black belt.
- One of the key elements we have lacked for some time now is a quality senior’s program. As I said above, we are blessed to have some very senior and talented instructors available to us and who are willing to teach regularly. They include Steve Dows Sensei, Thom Hansen Sensei, Michael Karkkainen Sensei, Rod Nixon-Smith Sensei, and Ben Tan Sensei. In the near future we will roll out a comprehensive seniors program. More details soon.
- One of the real positives that has emerged from the recent past is that students have become accustomed to classes that more closely resemble personal training. Their high standard of Aikido reflects this. Consequently, we are aiming for smaller class numbers in the future than we have had in the past – somewhere around 20 students per class at both dojos
- Narelle, Chris and I are putting together an Aikikids program for Nathan dojo which will be very different to that of the past. We are following the model successfully implemented at Everton Hills where emphasis is on self-discipline and learning basic Aikido skills instead of playing games. We aim to instil the basics into children at a much earlier age. As part of the program we will teach techniques to children using the Japanese nomenclature. Aikikids classes will reopen at Nathan dojo on Saturday mornings soon and will run on a separate mat concurrently with the adult class. Our aim is to close the competence gap for young people transitioning from Aikikids to adult classes. This will also provide the opportunity for parents to join the adult class and know their children are in sight and are well taken care of. We will start as soon as there is parent interest. To register your interest, please call Narelle on 0413 664 611.
- We also plan to re-introduce community self-defence classes in time. We see it as part of our community service to help equip people with basic self- protection skills
We have found our mojo and rapidly regaining our old vibe. We invite former students to consider re-engaging with Griffith Aikido. We know life overtakes everyone at one time or another but you were all part of the interaction that characterised a good night on the mat at Griffith Aikido. If you are willing to embrace all aspects of Aikido Yuishinkai and our club policies, you are most welcome to re-join us.
Finally, I would like to give a big shout out to Steve Dows Sensei. His family has been in crisis for a while now and, as part of his Aikido family, we offer our best wishes and solid support. We send Steve and Lynda our best wishes and collective good Ki.
President, Griffith Aikido Brisbane
“If you think leadership is lacking, hold up a mirror. The bravest of all leaders are the first followers.”