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.

Aur’s testimonial

My name is Aur.
I’m an 11 year old member of the White Pines Aikido Association, representing the children.
I’ve been practicing aikido at the White Pines Dojo for more than three years and nowadays I practice three times a week – once with kids and twice with adults.

There are 4 reasons why I like Aikido:
1. It is not competitive.
2. It helps build up confidence and awareness.
3. It’s a good workout.
4. It feels great!

Every term, the White Pines Dojo holds a gasshuku (seminar). The great things about gasshukus are the long classes with Jean Rene Sensei, getting together with kids from other dojos, outdoors activities between classes and Marcia’s mac-n-cheese.

Here are videos from the tests at the winter gasshuku of 2014.

The first one is called Tenshi-Nage. Tenshi means – “heaven and earth”. If you look at the hands of Netta (and later my hands) you can see that one is facing earth and the other is facing heaven.

The next technique is called Shiho-Nage. Na-ge means “throw”. As you can see – we throw each other a lot in Aikido but the nice thing is we learn how to fall in a soft and safe way.

I hope more kids will join the classes at the dojo so we could have more kids classes and I could practice with more people my size.

Kids Seminar!

Our next Kids Seminar will be held on Saturday, Dec. 20 from 11am- 5pm

Kates-kidsGasshukus, or seminars, are an important part of martial arts training.

Kids’ seminars offer an opportunity for children to practice endurance with longer intensive classes, and to create connections with their classmates they may not otherwise make during the rest of the term.

Testing, at the end of each seminar, also gives kids a chance to perform their skills, building confidence and earning respect.

Call the dojo (355-0009) to register, or for more info!

“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).