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USU Aikido Club Hosts Chief Instructor of the AAA to lead Workshop


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Media release — Feb. 15, 2019 — The USU Aikido Club hosted the President and Chief Instructor of the Aikido Association of America, Mr. Stephen Toyoda, to lead a workshop for Aikido martial art practitioners from 16 years to 70 years old at the HPER February 8-10. Participants included the USU Physical Education Aikido Class, other USU students, and Uof U, and UVU students as well as non-students from five Aikido schools from northern to southern Utah. Mr. Toyoda was assisted by the current and former Rocky Mountain-Midwest Regional Directors, Mark Sczcepanski, Salt Lake City, and Christine Dyer, Chief Instructor of Mountain Path Aikido, Logan. Participants were taught how to defend against punches, grabs, and static and dynamic attacks, as well as how to work with weapons including the staff (jo) and sword (bokken).

Aikido Seminar group

Aikido seminar participants at the HPER

Dr. Ronald Sims, USU Aikido Club faculty mentor and faculty member in the Biological Engineering Department, was promoted to 6th degree black belt (rokudan). Ronald also serves as the Chief Instructor at Jyushinkan dojo located at the Whittier Community Center in Logan. Mr. Michael Spooner, formerly with the Colorado/USU Press, was promoted to 2nd degree black belt (nidan), and Mr. Elliot Scheelke, USU graduate and current resident of Salt Lake City, was promoted to 1st degree black belt (shodan). Two USU students were promoted to Brown Belt ranks, including Ashley Bailey (2nd degree brown belt) and Morgan McClain (1st degree brown belt).

Ron Sims receives 6th degree black belt certificate

Ron Sims (center) receives 6th dan promotion certificate on February 9 at USU/HPER. From left: Mark Sczcepanski (Regional Director), Mr. Stephen Toyoda (Chief Instructor and President of the Aikido Association of America), Ron Sims, Christine Dyer (previous Regional Director), and Jeremy Neff (Chief Instructor at Intermountain Aikido, SLC).

Aikido, translated “way to harmonize with energy,” is a Japanese defensive martial art practiced equally by men and women that stresses throws, wrist pins, and joint locks, and the avoidance of injury to the attacker. Aikido classes are offered fall and winter semesters through the Physical Education program at the HPER at USU, and also through the Whittier Community Center, Logan, through Jyushinkan dojo (studio). More information concerning Aikido at USU and at the Whittier Community Center is available at the web address:


Media Contact: Dr. Ron Sims