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.