Winter Gasshuku March 18-20th, 2016

We are all looking forward to our Winter seminar, March 18-20th, 2016, with Jean-Rene Leduc Sensei.


Class schedule* is as follows:

DateClass 1Class 2
18-Mar-167 PM – 8:30 (Contact Yoga) 8:30 – 9:30
19-Mar-169 – 11 AM2:30 – 5 PM
20-Mar-169 – 11 AM2:30 – 5 PM

Adults classes are invited to join the 11am kids class on Sunday.
All students and their families are invited for a dojo potluck on Sunday the 20th at 5pm (after testing).

Cost: $120 for full seminar.

* Class schedule for seminars are always subject to change. Please confirm first class times when you register.

View the Seminar Poster here:

March 2016 Gasshuku Poster

Visit our sister dojo Pacific Shizen for information on the upcoming Spring 2016 seminar in Victoria BC.

What a fun New Year’s Party!

I’ve got to say, this party was a success.

People started drifting in the door at around 4 pm. Most of the kids played downstairs in the dojo for a while, then joined the adults upstairs for sushi rolling.

Before we ate, we had a short aikido class. A few rolls, a bit of knee walking, and last but not least, a hundred sword cuts.

Sushi, dessert, then origami! I showed everyone how to make paper cranes, most of which went on to become mobiles to decorate the dojo.

And after that, everyone went back downstairs to watch a movie – Kiki’s Delivery Service!

And meanwhile, the adults sat outside ’round the campfire.

And here are a few more pictures, which I thought should be in this post because they’re so sweet:

I hope you all had a wonderful new year!

Aikido Training pt.1 (mudansha)

Where are you at in your own practice?

This is a question I like to ask myself and others from time to time. It’s one thing to go to class and follow your instructor, but it is quite another to have an idea of your own path and how your personal practice fits into raising the group’s overall successes. Training goes in steep climbs and plateaus for our bodies, our minds and our spirits. As with any long learning path, you will have obstacles or challenges to overcome, mostly self inflicted.

So, have you thought about your next test? Do you know the terms for the techniques, the stances, the attacks, and the variations? What is your overall goal at this point, and what will it take for you to get there?

One piece of advice I have taken to heart is to find a partner with a similar rank, so that you can work on test material together. For me, this has proven to be very useful advice in terms of technical training, and also toward fostering trust and friendship.

Here are some useful handouts I often refer to for memorizing terms, and also the AKI test material, by rank. Keep in mind, you may practice everything for your own rank level and then get asked something completely different! But it is still assumed you know these basic techniques when you are called upon.

Next instalment, I’ll expound upon how I came to love testing!

Peace on the mats.

Aikido for Beginners Starts Jan 19th

Next course will run January 19th- February 25th 2015

Mondays 7:00- 8:30 pm
Wednesdays 7:30– 8:30pm

We are pleased to introduce a new class aimed at giving adult aikido students a good foundation in basic movement, etiquette and language. The course will be taught by one of our intermediate dojo members, Rebecca.

In any martial art, a beginner’s learning curb is fairly steep with regard to etiquette and language. It can be intimidating to be corrected on nuances such as bowing or pronunciation of Japanese words. Many dojos expect beginners to learn by observing senior students, and so do we… However, we also realize that a little welcoming support can go a long way to making new members feel comfortable in the dojo.


Our particular style, called Kenkyukai, is on the free-flowing and interpretive side of the aikido spectrum. The Kenkyukai focus is research into the movement of ‘ki’ or life energy.

In order to facilitate this kind of ‘research’ or interpretation, our 6 week beginner’s class will introduce footwork, basic techniques (attacks and defenses), the language, etiquette and a little about the harmony-oriented philosophy of aikido which makes it so unique in the world of martial arts.

Fees: $96 for 12 classes.

What to Wear: Do-gi (martial arts uniforms) are not necessary. Please wear long sleeved loose clothing for working out. Pants are preferable to shorts.

Please call Rebecca for more information or to register: 250-777-1546 or contact her through

Visiting Other Dojos: Pack your Gi!

The last few trips I have taken to visit family around Canada, I have always been so glad that I packed my gi. Since beginning my aikido training, about seven years ago, I’ve always been welcomed to train in a dojo I visit. In November I visited Big Rock Dojo in Calgary, and arrived during a great seminar over the weekend. I got more training than I had hoped for!

The benefits of visiting other dojos include everything from new perspective on techniques you thought you understood (ha!), new friends & connections, a different training environment & etiquette, and a better sense of how your training style fits in with the overall aikido network.

I think the key to gaining these benefits is humility, humility, humility. I try to mimic senior students of the dojos I visit, in order to show proper respect for how things are done. It’s amazing how the manners and etiquette of our dojo transfer to any other place I go. I know how to practice with people and generally what to expect, even if the language of instruction is different.

When I return to White Pines, I am motivated and inspired to continue my training. My hope for our dojo is that we can host some aikidoka (students) visiting from other dojos around the world, so that we can learn from them and inspire them in their own training.

Next time you go on a trip, pack that gi, even if it takes up too much space! It will be worth it if you get a chance to make new friends, as inevitably you will by making the effort to visit and train somewhere new.


– Rebecca Sargent is an intermediate student at White Pines, and a member of the WPAA board.

Evan’s Aikido Experience

Hi, my name is Evan and I am 10 years old. I’ve been doing Akido since I was 5.
When I was in the little kids class, I loved the games that Marcia Sensei would play with us. I liked Fishy Fishy, Spider Ball Tag and the obstacle courses that Marcia Sensei would do with us.
Now that I’m in the older kids class, I still love all of the games but now we get a chance to do real Akido moves with Roland Sensei. It feels neat to be able to put my opponent on the ground and be able to defend myself.
I would suggest doing Akido because it’s really fun and you get to learn how to do Self Defense. You get to run around a lot at Akido and have fun with your friends.

“Dot Day” 2014 Success!

Kids Class

Big thanks to Area H voters who will make aikido more accessible to kids in the Slocan Valley. Our project was fully supported, raising $1,200 towards kids tuition subsidies. Stay tuned for more info about how your child can benefit from this bursary in October.

Kids stretch

Please vote to support our young and vibrant kids aikdo community. For more information about Sticker Voting Day or the Children’s Tuition Bursary, please contact Rebecca Sargent at

Note: All ‘Area H’ residents, including Brandon, vote at Winlaw Hall on April 5th 1-3pm.

Winter 2014 summary – Non-profit society established, and Gasshuku fun

In January, the senior members of the dojo established a non-profit society, called White Pines Aikido Association (WPAA), in order to help in the operation and management of the dojo.


Roland and Marcia are founding members of the society, and will continue to manage the daily operations of the dojo. Other senior members have stepped in to help with behind the scenes management, such as advertising, budgeting, and fundraising, as well as membership and community outreach (like our newsletter). If you have questions about the society, or ideas for fundraising events, please call the dojo.

We just wrapped up winter term with kids seminar (Gasshuku).
About 15 kids from the Slocan Valley and Nelson, ages 7-15 and belts (Obi) white to blue, had 2 long classes every day with Jean Rene Sensei and Roland Sensei, with play time and delicious meals in between. Those who stayed over night enjoyed a pillow fight. That was a great ending to the Winter Session.

This photo is from  a kids' gasshuku held on 2012. Imagine how tall and strong all these kids are today!

This photo is from a kids’ gasshuku held on 2012. Imagine how tall and strong all these kids are today!

At the end of the Gassuku the kids were tested and some of them got new belts. Others got a stripe on their belt to signify a new level within that belt.

Adults Gassuku was a longer one and took a whole weekend (Fri night to Monday morning) on early February. Participants came from the valley, Nelson, Victoria and Vancouver.
Adults gasshuku is pretty much like kids gasshuku, just without the pillow fight. There were long classes, potlucks, outdoor activities and testings.

This photo is not from the last adults gasshuku but it surely gives you some clue about the fun they are having there.

This photo is not from the last adults gasshuku but it surely gives you some clue about the fun they are having there.

The next adult gassuku will be held in Victoria on the weekend of May 30. Call Rebecca to arrange carpool. (2502267693).

Aikido Fun! Young kids class schedule

Kids-Class-7Aikido Fun introduces young children (3-6 yrs.) basic dojo etiquette and respect, as well as aikido movements such as evasion and rolling through games, simple obstacle courses, and mimicking animals. Please call 355-0009 to register.

Winter term (after winter break) classes will resume Sunday January 11th 2015;  Spring term classes begin March 30th 2015.

Aikido Fun classes are at 11am- 11:45 on Sundays