Aikido of Champlain Valley first opened in 1997 in a little storefront in Winooski Vermont. Sandwiched between a children’s consignment shop and McKee’s Irish pub, I jokingly considered naming it “Cradle to the Grave Aikikai.” A few years later, we moved to our current dojo in Burlington, Vermont. Dojo means "place of the Way in Japanese." The character for Do is the same as Tao in Chinese; the word for path, Tao implies both a physical journey and inward road to inquiry, discovery, and transformation. A flowing path, a watercourse way.
I opened the dojo because I wanted to share the joy of this practice with others. I seek to provide students a method that balances intensity with sensitivity. I love teaching, and finding inspiration in the excitement of students who discover aikido as a path with heart. Aikido’s dynamic and circular movements teach us how to blend with conflict. Through our practice, we discover how to embody resiliency and centeredness, essential principles in these uncertain times. We established the dojo as a non-profit in order to provide youth at risk the opportunity to discover aikido. I especially love teaching this art to children who wouldn’t normally have access to martial arts; there is a such joy in experiencing their excitement as if it was my own, as if I relive my own discovery of the art at the age of 12.
This pandemic has been a challenging time for our dojo and for the aikido community. Every time I hear that another dojo has closed due to the pandemic it feels like a personal blow. It could be your dojo, or my dojo. I am grateful we can still afford to train in such a beautiful, magical space!
Your financial gift is a crucial bridge, allowing us to survive a difficult winter. With your support, we can once again provide low- income youth and children from refugee families the opportunity to discover not just a martial art, but a philosophy of peaceful conflict resolution and resiliency.
For more information about our programs and Flow, our online journal, visit us www.burlingtonaikido.org
See you on the tatami! Until then, stay safe and wear your masks! Thank you for your support,
Gassho (palm to palm),
Aikido of Champlain Valley