E-news, Jan. 5, 2018

New Year’s class, 2018

We would like to thank everyone for coming out to the New Year’s practice. It was great to see so many old and new friends practicing together so enthusiastically on the mats.

It reminded me how much a dojo is a community of people — not a building or an institution. It should be a mix of young and old, male and female, senior and junior, long-term and new members practicing together and learning from each other. A dojo is not just a group of 30+-year old black belts… everybody is important to the community.

New members

On that note, we are a bit under-represented in beginners at present, especially females and youths. Please invite anyone you think might be interested to come for a free trial class. This is New Year’s resolution time, and you may have heard friends or colleagues say they want to get in shape or try something new. If someone joins the dojo as a result of your recommendation, you will get a one-month extension to your dues!


The list of New Year’s promotions made by Doshu (leader of Aikido) will be published while Yumi and I are out of town. I believe that two of our members have received promotions, both to nidan, so I am going to jump the gun and announce them.

Pascal Dennis is a long-time Toronto-area Aikidoka and has practiced in several local dojos. He has been a shodan for 35 years (training irregularly due to the challenges of running his own business). He joined us three years ago with his son Matthew and is a positive influence and a great partner on the tatami.

Aubrie Appel unfortunately missed the new year’s class, so we did not get a chance to congratulate him in person. He has been a member for 20 years, starting as a beginner and training steadily and sincerely. He now teaches the regular class on Monday at noon. He has also agreed to host our annual winter party… details coming very soon!

For your information, these promotions are made based on four criteria:

  • The student must have the required level of proficiency for the rank
  • Usually, he/she is 55 years old or older
  • He/she must have some medical condition that prevents him/her from safely training for or taking the examination, and
  • The promotion must be endorsed by the Canadian Aikido Federation Examination Committee and Osawa-shihan.


Some minor changes to the dojo’s schedule will be made in February. The only one for certain at this point is that the Thursday night classes will be joined into one, 1.5-hour class. Other minor changes are being considered as well.

If you have any suggestions for changes to the schedule that might benefit you personally or that you think would help the dojo as a whole, please don’t hesitate to make them now or voice any concerns or questions.


Jim Barnes
Aikido Hokuryukai