From the Sensei's desk
Date 2011/12/7 15:35:06 | Topic: News from the Sensei
|Welcome to our website. The Shudokan School of Aikido has it's history and beginnings in my own Aikido career which began in Corpus Christi, Texas. I started Aikido in August of 1995 at the Corpus Christi Aikikai. It was there in a small but closely knit dojo that I learned the art of Aikido from a very dedicated group of Aikidoists that I still remember with great fondness. The names of Jerry and Gail Thompson, Matt Crocker, Mike Rains, Gilbert Fuentes, Laura Stuckey, and Hector Chavez will forever be implanted in my mind. They were my sempais, my friends, and my role models. I learned the art from them. My teachers were Eddie Martinez and Larry Salazar. Eddie was a forever positive and encouraging teacher. Instinctive, fast and fun are words I think of when I think of Eddie Sensei. Larry Sensei was dramatic, explosive and powerful. These two men had the respect of the students and had a real and significant impact for Aikido in that city. Of course, there were hundreds of other students, maybe thousands that were a part of the dojo over a ten year period. Rick Ricard, Charlie Marks, Joel Molina and so many others that I cannot tell. They were there and the atmosphere was magical. |
My family moved to Houston in June of 1998 and we initially joined a dojo called Tumbleweed here in Houston. I still remember that on my first visit, I saw a handsome young man wearing a brown belt and a hakama moving from person to person throwing them and being thrown. His name was Rick Laue. Again, he was a wonderful and confident human being that was a role model to me. His co teacher was Tom Oreck of the Oreck company who was also a good and dedicated Aikidoist. The dojo soon closed and I joined the Nations Aikikai in November of 1998. I was there briefly when I noticed an announcement for a seminar that was being held in town with a shihan from Japan named Hiroshi Kato. When I witnessed his Aikido, I realized I was looking at a different kind of Aikido. I knew then that I had found my new path.
Being under the guidance of Hiroshi Kato Sensei changed my life. On the path that he showed me, I learned endurance, perseverance, and how to suffer in my Aikido training. I was taught a different way of looking at Aikido and how to make Aikido really work. I learned how to be patient and how to be who I was quietly and so many other things that there is not room to tell.
In December of 2003, with Kato Sensei's approval, I left being a student and I ventured out on my own. I did so because I needed to grow and I had my own ideas about how to do and be the lessons of Aikido. I started the Shudokan School of Aikido in January of 2004 at the YMCA and we begin strongly with 52 new students. Kato Sensei immediately adopted our dojo into his family of affiliate dojos and we got started on building a new dojo. There was a fire in the air and an excitement and things started up with a flare. We saw so many students go through there and we had huge classes and loads of fun and learning experiences. I started a second group at Highway 6 a year later and we soon had almost 70 students. We started holding large seminars and we got some what of a presence in West Houston as things progressed.
In 2008, we made the decision to combine the two groups. After doing so, we then made a move to Katy, Texas to a location on Fry Road but we were not there long before I began to feel that this location was not going to work for us. It was then that I came across a location on a heavily traveled street called Kieth Harrow. It was a crazy idea. I had no money, no resources, no way to do this but I decided to try. A few students quickly promised support. They were Russell Thomas and his wife Jennifer. Jorge Verar, an aiki kid parent and real estate agent also promised to advise us and soon, others also joined the advisory team. I told the rest of the members about it and they began forwarding advance dues and donations and between all of us, we were able to finance the build out of the new dojo and a new day came to the Shudokan School of Aikido.
It has now been 10 years since this dojo started. We are an established presence in this area of west Houston and we now have had over 28 major seminars with Kato Sensei at the new location alone. We now have a student body of almost 100 active students every month. Apart from being open 7 days a week, we emphasize almost every aspect of this art from the training to the philosophy and the history of the art. We welcome new seekers who want to learn to walk on this Aikido path with us. It will be a life changing experience for you if you pursue it sincerely.
Would you consider joining us and becoming a part of this Aikido challenge? We need you and the energy and life you can bring to us as we train together and learn and grow in Aikido. Call me and let's talk. This is a life changing and incredible experience, if you will give yourself to it. Do it today!
Jorge Garcia, Dojo Director
Shudokan School of Aikido / Hiroshi Kato Juku