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About the Dojo

What is Aikido?

Aikdo means "way to harmonize with energy."

Aikido is a powerful and dynamic Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba in the mid-20th century. Aikido is used internationally by military and law enforcement groups, medical personnel, security organizations, and women's groups. Aikido students learn to defend themselves without aggression, and the art's peaceful philosophy is compatible with cultural and religious beliefs throughout the world.

Aikido is rooted in the traditions of Japanese budo (warrior ways), and is practiced not only for its defensive skills and fitness benefits,but as a path of internal training and development. Stressing peaceful resolution of conflict whenever possible and avoidance of inflicting injury, Aikido may be practiced by anyone of just about any age. Men, women, and children can practice together.

In addition to teaching self-defense skills, classes offer adults an excellent method of managing stress, developing physical fitness and flexibility, and improving their general outlook and health. Training develops heightened concentration and awareness, and increases self-confidence and energy. Training includes stretching, meditation and breathing exercises, self-defense techniques, and instruction in safe falling.

Training for children offers youngsters an opportunity to increase their self-defense skills and their awareness of dangerous situations and how to avoid them. Children also gain discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect while learning Aikido at a pace they can appreciate and enjoy.

Aikido is offered in Logan at USU and at the Jyushinkan Dojo in the Whittier Center. In addition to these regular classes, intensive seminars instructed by visiting Guest Instructors of the Aikido Association of America are held in Logan or Salt Lake City every few months.

Meditation

The mind, like the body, benefits from training. Weekly meditation classes are available based on the form of Rinzai Zen, the style historically preferred by the samurai of Japan.

While Zen's ultimate goal is Satori (enlightenment), for martial art students, the emphasis is on what may be considered a byproduct, Mushin (lit. no mind).

Mushin refers to the state of mind that is alert and unclouded by the barrage of thoughts that confront us from one moment to the next. It is that state of mind that resides in the continuous present moment. Meditation is open to everyone.

Ki Training

Aikitaiso (Aikido exercises) and ki exercises were created specifically for the development of centering, both mentally and physically. Typically, ki training's emphasis has been on physical centering and stability.
Jyushinkan Dojo's emphasis is understanding that the state of mind (see Mushin above) achieved during ki training and that attained during meditation are one and the same. Our goal is to carry that state of mind over to our training in aikido, and ultimately, to our daily lives.

Weapons Training

Aikido weapons training traditionally includes the bokken (sword), jo (staff) and tanto (knife). In Aikido, weapons training is not used for inflicting injury. Its primary purpose is for the improvement and understanding of correct body movement.
Class training includes kata (form), kumitachi (sword partner practice), kumijo (staff partner practice), and unarmed defense against weapons.

Yudansha (Black Belts)

  • Ron Sims – Rokudan – 5th Degree
  • Kirsten Sims – Sandan – 3rd
  • Jeremy Neff – Sandan – 3rd
  • Keith Albretsen – Niidan – 2nd
  • Carol Barker – Shodan - 1st
  • Mark Hugentobler – Shodan - 1st
  • Jim Shoemaker – Shodan - 1st
  • Michael Saldivar – Shodan - 1st
  • Matthew Sims – Shodan - 1st
  • Michael Spooner – Shodan - 1st
  • Paul Veridian – Shodan - 1 st

Dojo Advisory Board

Michael Spooner: Chair
Ron Sims: Dojo-Cho
Charles Waugh

AAA West Coast Teaching Committee

James Nakayama: Western Region Shibucho (branch leader); rokudan 6th degree black belt)
Christine Dyer: Western Regional Director; godan (5th degree black belt)
Martin Katz: godan (5th degree black belt)
Ken MacBeth: godan (5th degree black belt)

Information about transferring to our dojo

Jyushinkan Dojo is affiliated with the Aikido Association of America (AAA). The AAA starts students at 8th Kyu. The first test for students in AAA is for 7th Kyu. We use a color and stripe system to represent rank. That system can be found here. (Adult ranking belt colors)

From an AAA Dojo

If you are transferring to our dojo from another AAA dojo, welcome. You can continue your training with no issues, other than learning our slightly different Utah flavor to your techniques. Your rank will be honored as an AAA/AAI member.

From a different organization

If you are transferring to our dojo from another organization, welcome. You can continue your training with few issues. We will recognize your current rank from your prior organization.

For students who are within the Kyu rankings, you will be requested to demonstrate the AAA kyu requirements from the beginning of our testing requirements to your current kyu rank. Upon satisfactory demonstration of each of the test requirements up to your current rank, we will continue you on towards your next rank within the AAA requirements.

For students who have a Dan ranking, demonstration of kyu level testing is not required. We will honor your current ranking.

Transferring students are asked to have an introduction letter/e-mail from your Sensei sent to Sensei Ron Sims. His e-mail address is: ronaldsims1@gmail.com.

Jyushinkan Dojo Test Etiquette Guidelines

PDF version

Test candidate’s preparation

  • Ensure all time and seminar requirements are met.
  • Submit application, any required essays, AAA or yudansha booklet and fees well in advance of test date.
  • Repair gi to be worn for test if necessary.
  • Have personal weapons ready at the side of the mat before test begins.

Sensei’s preparation

  • Check that candidate meets all time and seminar requirements.
  • Check candidate’s test paperwork to make sure it is correct and complete.
  • Have candidate’s paperwork available during the test.

Test setup
  • Test committee consists of yudansha present. Visiting yudansha from other organizations may be included as observers, but will not be asked to vote.
  • Students are arranged around the edge of the mat as follows:
    • Test committee to right of shomen wall.
    • Students, including test candidate, facing shomen wall.
  • Sensei bows in, then returns to seat on the test committee.
  • Sensei calls the candidate’s name.
  • Candidate says “Hai!” and walks briskly up to sit seiza in front of shomen wall (should make square corners to avoid walking diagonally across the mat).
  • Candidate bows to shomen wall, then turns to face test committee and bows, then turns back to face the shomen wall.
  • Sensei announces, “This is a test for XXXX kyu, correct?” Candidate confirms with, “Hai, Sensei!”
  • Sensei announces that the paperwork and test fee has been received.

The actual test

After bowing in and confirmation of rank and paperwork:

  • Sensei will appoint a test committee member to perform ki testing, ukemi, or other requirements.
  • After ki testing, ukemi, etc., are performed, the candidate will sit seiza facing and slightly to the left of the shomen wall, allowing space on the left for uke.
  • The first uke will be called, who will sit seiza to the left of the candidate.
  • Candidate initiates bow to shomen wall, with uke bowing simultaneously.
  • Candidate and uke turn to face one another and bow.
  • Sensei says, “Stand up”, then announces technique very specifically
    • include directions such as omote/ura.
    • Dynamic attack is assumed unless static is requested.
  • If candidate did not hear the technique or uke did not hear the attack they may ask for it to be repeated.
  • Uke does not attack until Sensei says, “hajime!”
  • Candidate keeps performing technique until Sensei says, “yame!”
  • For most techniques a specific variation is required.
    • For kokyunage, after the primary technique has been performed, variations are expected.
  • If candidate is not performing as required, Sensei has discretion to explain what he wants to see.
  • If uke is to be retained, a new technique is requested.
  • If uke is to be replaced, Sensei says “change uke.”
  • Candidate and uke sit in front of the shomen wall facing each other (candidate on right side) and bow to one another. Uke returns to sitting with the rest of the students.
  • Candidate remains in place. The next uke who is called up sits facing the candidate, they bow to each other, and wait for instructions.
  • When a weapon is required, candidate walks briskly to his weapon (fellow students may hand them to him). The candidate turns toward the shomen wall and bows to the weapon before returning to the middle of the mat.
  • When bowing to a partner from seiza with a weapon, weapons are placed on the left side, bokken and tanto with the blade facing out.

Ending the test

  • Before randori, candidate and uke will sit facing each other. Sensei will ask other test committee members if there is anything that needs to be repeated or shown. If not, additional uke will be called up for randori.
  • After randori is concluded, candidate and uke will sit facing each other:
    • Sensei announces, “This concludes your test.”
    • Candidate and uke bow to each other.
    • All turn to face the shomen wall and bow.
    • All turn to face the test committee and bow.
  • Candidate and uke return to their position with the rest of the students.
  • After all tests are completed, Sensei bows out.

The verdict

Kyu tests will be decided by test committee vote, or in special cases, solely by Sensei.

  • After all tests are completed, Sensei and the test committee adjourn to a private area.
  • Sensei is the deciding vote if needed to resolve a tie.
  • Test committee members give individual comments and discuss the test(s).
  • Result is publicly announced at a later date.

Performance guidelines

  • Pinning:
    • Ikkyo through gokyo and kotegaeshi always require a pin.
    • Pins are not done during free technique (jiyuwaza).
    • Pins and removal are always required during tanto, bokken, and jo dori.
  • Weapons kata should be performed once with a count (candidate must count before moving) and once without. The counted performance should demonstrate clean strikes and strong movement, while the silent performance may demonstrate flow and rhythm. Kiai are not included while counting


Considerations

  • Audience and students may applaud at the end of a test, but test committee members do not.
  • Test committee members do not yell encouragement during randori.
  • Neither uke nor nage should stop doing techniques to fix gi that have come untied. If necessary, Sensei can tell them when to stop to fix their gi. Nage can adjust clothing while waiting for the next uke.
  • Neither uke nor nage should do anything that wastes time – walking to get weapons, fixing gi, etc., should all be done quickly.
  • It is not necessary for the candidate to do all techniques from the starting position to the left of the shomen wall. The candidate should feel free to use the mat space fully, but returning to the original position to bow. Likewise, the exam board can request to see techniques from a different angle if necessary.
  • Individual testing is desirable for both candidates and test committee. If there are a lot of test candidates, group ki testing/exercises/ukemi may be done, but performing techniques should be done individually.
  • Test content should always include a review of previous requirements.
  • It is unrealistic to expect students to remember the etiquette without having several rehearsals. This can be done as part of their exam preparation.

Courtesy of Chushinkan Dojo

Whittier Community Center

The Whittier Community Center is housed in what was originally the Whittier School, which was built in 1908 for approximately $20,000. The school had one large classroom for each grade K-6 at that time.

The Whittier School was the first school in Utah to offer kindergarten instruction and, in 1930, opened the state’s first public school library. In 1948, the much-needed addition of a kitchen, auditorium/stage, and restrooms was completed for $25,000.

Several well-known educators and administrators were associated with the Whittier School over its sixty year tenure as a public school and teacher training school. Two of the best known were Edith Bowen (head teacher 1932-1936) and Emma Eccles Jones (kindergarten teacher 1926-1936), who worked without pay for three years to help the fledgling program get off the ground.

In 1968, the Whittier School was closed as a public school by the Logan School District. It then became the Clinical Teaching Center – a day training program for intellectually-disabled children – and served in that capacity until 1974 when the program was moved to a new facility on the USU campus. From 1974-1991, the building housed a community arts center known as the Alliance for the Varied Arts.

The Whittier Community Center finally came into being in 1992 when the old school was purchased by a group of citizens from Logan School District for $51,000. By the following year, the group had obtained 501c-3 non-profit status and was hosting regular classes and events. The Whittier’s first tenants were the Cache Valley Civic Ballet and School of Ballet, Cache Aikido Club, Young Artists Guild, Girl Scouts, and the Refugee Center.

On September 25, 2000, the Whittier School building was put on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Whittier Community Center currently serves about 1,500 people per week who come to participate in a variety of programs. Many others bring their children to play on the disabled-inclusive playground, the construction of which was the result of the cumulative effort of a large group of volunteers in 2009.

If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to check out our tenant profiles and see if there is anything you would be interested in. You may also wish to drop by the Whittier Center for a tour of this beautiful historic building. We would love to have you.

Visit the Whittier Center website

© 2015 All Rights Reserved, Whittier Community Center

Testing

Testing in Aikido at our dojo is a privilege and not a right. By paying the monthly fee you are not guaranteed to test for your next rank. A senior instructor will notify you when you are ready. Not the other way around.

Successful demonstration of the testing requirements is only half of the test. Do not be fooled into believing just because you are capable of demonstrating the testing requirements that you are ready to test or should be allowed to test. This is not within the spirit of Aiki and are not the only requirements being considered.

Testing etiquette

  1. Never ask Sensei to test you.

The instructor will know if your ability to understand key concepts and movements is at the level needed to successfully pass a test.

Asking to test is a sign that you are not yet ready to test. It is also a clear sign that you have not shown your ability to understand the test requirements fully. A senior instructor will notify you of your readiness.

However, if you may feel like it has been a long time and you are ready to test, you may ask a senior student what you need to do or improve on so you can be considered for testing.

Paul Veridian currently reviews students on their testing readiness and should be contacted first.

  1. Do not talk back to the testing committee.

If the committee asks to see more, show more. If they ask for something specific show it, even if you just did it.

  1. The testing form and fee should be filled out before the start of class on the day you are scheduled to test.
  2. Testing is a privilege and an honor. It should be treated as such.
  3. Come with a clean freshly laundered gii.
  4. Prepare to do your best.

Regarding testing

Testing

Maybe people feel nervous to test and are nervous during the test. This is natural. Use this energy to your benefit. Channel it into your technique by extending your ki outwards.

No one wishes to see you fail your test. As long as you maintain good spirit, Sensei will notice your efforts and strong consideration will be given.

We do not schedule testing for people who are not ready to be tested. It would be embarrassing to you and represents the testing committee in a negative light for allowing you to do so in front of your peers. We do not “teach” in this manner.

Not Testing

Testing is an important part of Aikido. It signifies to the person testing and everyone training of the ability level of that person. This is as much a safety issue as a notification of knowledge.

If you are not testing but attend on a day that there is testing going on you are not to sit around with no energy. You may be called upon to take Ukemi. At this time, your energy level is extremely important. Not just to the person testing who expects your help on their demonstration. You are also being considered at this time.

Dojo Etiquette

Basic dojo etiquette should be learned via osmosis or by direction from a senior student. When in doubt ask.

However, this is not always clear to new students and some are veiled on purpose so here are a few pointers:

  • Reverence and respect, all the time. Everyone is here because they want to be. No one is being paid to help you learn.
  • Sensei can yell. You cannot. Sometimes, sensei may yell at you. Like a parent. It is highly inappropriate to talk back for any reason.
  • Pay your monthly fee on time. We rent our space and we don’t share the room with anyone else, unlike the other rooms. Honor that privilege.
  • Respect Sensei. The instructors are volunteering their time and efforts to teach you what they know and insights they have gleamed from others to help you. We don’t have to.
  • Not just a room. The dojo isn’t just a room. You should consider it a cross between your own home and a friend’s mom’s home. Keep it clean and don’t trash it.
  • Dojo needs. Luckily we don’t often need things to keep the dojo running. Toilet paper and snow shoveling is taken care of here. Though we sometimes make upgrades to the space and the water cups and dust rags need replacing/washing on occasion. These should be voluntarily maintained by you.
  • Why’s Sensei doing that? Sensei should be given due respect, it’s part of the art form you are training in. On that note, Sensei as well as the senior students have invested countless hours cleaning, folding hakamas, purchasing things for dojo use, and following strict Japanese hierarchical etiquette guidelines you haven’t even considered would be a thing, for years. As such, they have paid their dues and now it’s your turn to learn respect for others, the dojo, and the art. Sensei shouldn’t be doing whatever menial chore he is doing. GO DO IT FOR HIM.
  • On and off the matt. For as long as you train in aikido the etiquette rules apply to you were ever you are. Off the mat etiquette mainly deals with seminars and traveling with sensei and you should ask a senior instructor for a quick breakdown.
  • Seminar Dinner. No one leaves the dinner table to go home before Sensei, when you go out to eat with him. No matter how late it gets. Sensei came to visit you, it’s incredibly rude to leave the party early. That said, you’re expected to attend dinner as well.
  • Proper dress
    • We wear white. A white judo gii and at the proper time a black hakama are the proper attire.
    • Left over right. The left side of your gii should be on top. If you wear your gii with the right side on top, it signifies you are dead and is inappropriate dress.
    • Rank stripe. We stripe your belt for every other test you take. At 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st When you have a stripe on your belt the side your stripe falls on is important. It should be on the left side, always.
    • Socks? Wearing socks on the mat is generally not appropriate. However, there are several reasons why you may. If you need to wear them, get Sensei’s approval. And then be extra mindful, the chance to slip and hurt yourself but more likely others is increased dramatically.
  • Sensei’s never wrong. Even when he is. If sensei says an Ikkyo technique is a Kokyunage technique, then it is for that moment. It sounds weird, but it’s inappropriate to correct him. Remember, we are practicing a Japanese Martial Art with strict etiquette.
  • Don’t be a Herman. If a technique looks fake or seems like it would never really work, don’t contest it. There is a valid reason we are learning it, that you simply don’t understand yet.
  • Finally, when in doubt, look to a senior student. Hopefully, they have been trained well enough to know the rules of the dojo for on and off the mat