Aikido Shofukai New Dojo: Prospectus and Donation Request

Yasuhiko Takemori, Aikido Shofukai

Aikido Zushi Shofukai is an aikido club registered by NPO Aikikai, head office Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Having started off in 1998 under the name Zushi Aikikai, it has members coming from the broader Yokohama area, including Zushi and Hayama, with ages ranging from the teens to the 70s. As an accompaniment to aikido practice, Toyama-ryu Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu and iaido are taught to mid-level and dan-level participants.

Up to now we have been using the martial arts facility of the Zushi City gymnasium, Zushi Arena, for practice. However, it has become increasing difficult to secure a set schedule, and often we have to forgo our usual weekly training. Also, members who wish to practice more than once a week have had no choice but to join other dojos.

To have our own dojo where we can meet regularly has been my wish for many years. At last such a site has been found in Yokohama within walking distance from Konandai Station on the JR Negishi Line, just 25 minutes from Yokohama Station. It is a three-story ferroconcrete structure which, with renovations, will be perfect for our needs. The dojo will be on the first floor. Part of the second floor will serve as the office and part for lodging for participants. There will be showers, a kitchen, and laundry facilities.

Although the dojo will focus on aikido and iaido, in the future I hope to expand its mission so that it will be a place where, regardless of age or nationality, people can engage in physical activities that enrich their lives and promote their health in both mind and body.

I was able to acquire this property with my own funds and with help from my family. Renovations to date have totaled 16 million yen. A further 3.5 million will be necessary for exterior painting and waterproofing and more than 7.5 million for installing a proper floor for aikido. At this point without outside help the renovations cannot be completed. I am, therefore, humbly asking for donations to fulfill this dream. Any amount you can spare will be most gratefully accepted.

The Mission
Aikido is not a martial art that relies on strength and power nor is it based on competitive fighting. Practice at the dojo aims at cooperation and mutual effort in order to develop technical ability as well as mental awareness. Through continued practice, this aspect reveals itself in one’s everyday actions and state of mind and encourages self-reflection on one’s life. In opening the new dojo, my objective is to offer an opportunity through aikido to realize that a life grounded in mind and body is preferable to one devoted to competition and aggression as expressed in the popular attitude that a fighting spirit is heroic. It is my hope that in this way I can contribute to a better society.

The Site
Located near Konandai Station and facing Kamakura kaido, a major road that links Yokohama with Kamakura, the new dojo is in a very advantageous position. It stands near the intersection with another main road going to Totsuka Station on the JR Tokaido Line, and nearby is the Hino Interchange of the Yokohama-Yokosuka Expressway. Konandai Station allows quick and easy transportation going to Yokohama and Tokyo in one direction and to the Yokosuka and Tokaido Lines in the other.
Basically Konandai is a residential area with 10 primary schools, two junior highs and two high schools as well as a junior college. Yet close to the station it has a vibrant shopping district that includes the renowned Tokyo department store Takashimaya. For medical needs there are two large hospitals as well as several clinics in the vicinity.
To the left side of the dojo is a coin parking lot; to the right is a Japanese restaurant. One or two cars can park on site. A bus stop is just across the street. Nearby are plenty of restaurants, a convenience store, a post office, and even a Japanese spa with 17 kinds of baths.

The Dojo
The dojo name will be changed to Aikido Shofukai. The ground floor will have 21 mats for aikido and iaido training. A wooden border will go around the four sides of the matted area, and shock-absorbing material will be installed underneath. The ceiling will have a height of 3.3~3.5 meters to accommodate the use of bokken and jo.
The reception area and the office will be on the second floor, along with a lodging facility.
Aikido training will be offered from primary school age children to adults. Iaido training will be offered for older students and adults. Both will be based on membership, and all classes will be one hour in duration.
Wrestling and other contact sports may also be taught in the future. Possibly the scope of activities eventually will extend to categories beyond the martial arts.

Tentative Schedule
Tuesday, Thursday: 14:30-17:30 Children’s Aikido
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 18:30-19:30 Aikido I
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 19:30-20:30 Aikido II
Wednesday, Friday: 18:30-19:30 Iaido I
Wednesday, Friday: 19:30-20:30 Iaido II

– Monday the dojo will be closed. Sunday will be reserved for training with other dojos.
– The present schedule at Zushi Arena on Saturdays from 15:00 to 18:00 will continue.
– The Monday 19:00 training at Konan Maruyamadai will be conducted by dojo members.
– Iaido training now held on holidays will continue at Zushi Arena and sports facilities in Yokohama.

Information and Financial Statements
Dojo information will continue to be available on the homepage. A printed newsletter including a financial statement will be sent out periodically to members and donors.

2012 Seminar info

Dear all,

Please find some updated info for the summer seminars of Takemori-sensei in Germany and Sweden in June on the ‘Seminars’-page.

Best regards,

Leif

With regard to the name change of Zushi Aikikai

We decided to change our dojo name from ”Zushi Aikikai” to ”Aikido Zushi Shoufuu Kai.”

Our feelings are infused in the ”Shoufuu Kai” part of the name ”Aikido Zushi Shoufuu Kai. Shoufuu combines the ”on” reading of pine tree (”Matsu”) and maple (”Kaede”).

As you know the pine tree is an evergreen with a unique kind of bark and needle-like leaf. Its appearance is strong and it is known to have a long life. Have you ever seen one bathed in sunlight with melting snow covering its upper branches and leaves under the blue sky in early spring? From the sight of a clear drop of melting snow dripping from the tip of the needle-like leaf, from that sphere of melting snow, we are reminded of the strength it takes to purify the human heart.

And the sight of the leaf which maintains its color right until it withers reminds us that there are some things that never change, that there must be some things that remain constant.

The maple tree is a deciduous tree that changes colors beautifully with the coming of autumn. When its leaf, shaped like the palm of a person or a frog, changes colors from green to deep red to yellow, it is truly stunning.

What that teaches us is that there are some things that are best if they change.

Going back through the history of Japan where we live, we feel that when faced with unprecedented situations, Japanese culture has emerged with a new flavor, and progressed.

Instead of always thinking that the form and methods of our seniors, that the ways handed down from the past are always right, we should feel that things which must be changed have to be changed.

We feel that this principle ”that which is constant, that which changes, that which should be kept and that which should be changed” applies not only in general but also to the direction of our own lives. We feel this applies to the state our training and our practice as well.

Aikido practice still has room to develop further. In order for us to take up where our seniors have left off, we followers must come up with innovations. We must continue to strive to come up with improved practice methods even if reaching in the dark at times.

For such reasons we began calling our group ”Shoufuu Kai” in 1980.

We would like to become like timber which stretches it’s roots widely in the earth, like a great tree which is delicately beautiful but not withering, rugged yet continuing to stretch its long roots. This name embodies the wish to treasure and maintain the basics, while at the same time changing by seeking new better directions on the surface.

For a long time, this name was not used publically. Instead, it was used only as the Iaido  registry name.

Over the last several years, at the request of some of my European pupils, ”Shoufuu Kai” was introduced as their dojo name as part of other cooperative activities. Consequently, the name ”Zushi Aikikai” was changed to  ”Aikido Zushi Shoufuu Kai.”

Dancing on the wind, the maple seed travels far. Trees which cannot move attempt to spread their offspring in this manner. But most likely,  only a very small percentage grow to become a great tree. Nevertheless, the maple goes on putting its seed on the wind year after year.

Likewise is how we practice in our dojo.

/Takemori Yasuhiko

New photos

Dear all,

As you might have seen we have some new wonderful photos in the header of the site. They are all © Magnus Hartman who is freelance photographer and aikidoka from Stockholm. You can check out his portfolio at www.magnushartman.se

Best regards

Leif

A new beginning

Dear all,

Aikido is the wonderful peaceful japanese martial art created by Ueshiba Morihei (1883-1969). Within the aikido community there are numerous enthusiastic and hardworking individuals who dedicate much of their lives to study and spread aikido all over the world. For all of you who are particularly interested in practicing aikido as taught by Takemori Yasuhiko I am pleased to present this site to you on his behalf.

Best regards,

Leif Sunje