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AIKIDO IN THE NEWS

1999 Yoshinkan Aikido Festival
London, Ontario, Canada
by Jaimie Sheppard
Aiki Budo Centre-Aikido London

On the last weekend of March, the Aiki Budo Centre hosted the 1999 Yoshinkan Aikido Festival in London, Ontario, Canada. The featured instructor was
Amos Parker, 8th Dan (Yoshinkan).

Parker Sensei Seminar 2c.JPG (24953 bytes)

Pictured above left to right: Ashley Hennessy 2nd Dan of London, Jim Stewart 5th Dan of Georgetown, Steve van Mannen of London, Amos Parker 8th Dan of Houston Texas, Kevin Blok 6th Dan of Windsor, Dr. Fred Haynes 6th Dan of Georgetown, and Jaimie Sheppard 2nd Dan of London

The weekend started on Thursday evening with a private session for members of the Aiki Budo Centre. The dojo was jammed with sweaty and excited aikidoka who eagerly participated in "kihon dosa", the basic warm up exercises which address body movements. Shumatsu dosa ichi for example is a kata like movement, whereby a practitioner simulates the body movements employed in shiho nage techniques. Amos Parker's style and teaching methods emphasized deep stances, a focus on hip placement, and committed follow through.

The following day Amos Parker conducted a session for serving Police officers at the London Police Department. He was assisted by several IYAF instructors who acted as partners for the officers, eager to learn non-lethal controls, locks and holds. Most techniques ended in pins, whereby handcuffs could be applied.

Friday evening commenced the first of a series of seminars that took place throughout the weekend at the University of Western Ontario. In attendence were some of the most senior Yoshinkan Aikido instructors in North America:
Alister Thomson, Kevin Blok, Jim Stewart, Fred Haynes, Enore Gardonio (all 6th Dan) were ablaze on the mat.
Mr. Parker allowed each of these instructors time to teach for a short period throughout the weekend. Each senior instructor took their turn, sharing aspects of techniques that fascinated them and of course, us! It was truly inspiring. What impressed me was the magnanimous
way in which Mr. Parker shared the limelight so these teachers could also share and demonstrate their love for the art.

A great representation of yudansha were present from Canada, the USA, and there was even one practitioner from Europe who attended.

Alumni Hall at the University of Western Ontario, provided ample mat space for the large numbers of avid aikidoka. The entire gymnasium was covered with mats which allowed over 130 practitioners to "play aikido" comfortably. A large number of spectators also attended over the three days of the event.

A pioneer in the art of aikido, Mr. Amos Parker has only recently become a name known in the western world. Mr. Parker recently returned to the USA having spent 34 years in Japan as a student of Kiyoyuki Terada. Sensei Parker born in Houston USA, was one of 14 children. He
joined the US navy when he came of age, and luckily for us, was assigned to the Pacific fleet. He enlisted in the submarine service and while en route to a posting in Japan, he witnessed another sailor employing aikido to control a violent mariner. That incident sparked his interest, and on arrival he immediately went looking for this "thing" called aikido. The first dojo he encountered was run by Kiyoyuki Terada.

Terada sensei (9th Dan) is presently the most senior Yoshinkan practitioner alive in the world. Just as Terada sensei was featured in Gozo Shioda's book, Dynamic Aikido, Mr. Amos Parker, is featured in Kiyoyuki Terada's book of Aikido techniques.

Amos Parker1b.JPG (22110 bytes)

Above, Amos Parker 8th Dan Yoshinkan Aikido

As Mr. Parker, spoke about studying Aikido and demonstrating his techniques, it was obvious that Aikido is still a passion for him after all this time. He recalled how many techniques which in Yoshinkan have a #1 and #2 version, (based on whether the partner pulls or pushes),
originally had only one way of being carried out!

Amos Parker demonstrated many techniques which are set out in Kiyoyuki Terada's book. Although this book is only printed in Japanese and difficult to obtain, it illustrates movements in a very orderly and concise fashion, and since I do not read Japanese --- the pictures are excellent! Parker's method of instruction, which is no less methodical, is just as precise and orderly!

Amos Parker ended the seminar with a demonstration featuring jiyu waza with one, then with several uke(s), which brought down the house. He was rewarded with a thunderous ovation, which is not an every day occurrence in the strict Yoshinkan world!

Parker stated that he was very pleased to have been invited to London and considered himself fortunate to share time with so many students who came to celebrate their fondness for the art of Aikido. Regardless of age, walk of life, or country of origin, sweat and hard work are
contagious. It allows for training to be a true joy in one's life.

Every attendee received a certificate "signed" by Mr. Parker thanking them for their participation. Each and every dojocho (or their representative) received a commemorative plaque thanking them for their support. Each senior instructor received hotel accommodations for
the weekend, at Windermere Manor (a worldclass hospitality facility), compliments of the Aiki Budo Centre. All Yudansha were invited to dinner on Saturday evening compliments of the Aiki Budo Centre.

Why did Sensei Parker leave Japan and return to the USA? He came home to America to care for his mother who is thankfully doing well and is being looked after by her wonderful son Amos, in Houston Texas. A percentage of the proceeds from the seminar were donated to the
Breast Cancer Society in the name of Mrs. Edna L. Parker.

So for those who missed it, not to worry! Kiyoyuki Terada, several of his senior Japanese instructors and of course his most senior instructor, Amos Parker will be coming to London Ontario for the Y2K Yoshinkan festival being held March 31, April 1, 2nd, 2000 ! That ovation called for encore!

Hope you can and will come and play!

Submitted by:
Jaimie Sheppard, Aiki Budo Centre-Aikido London

Permission to display all photos from Aiki-Budo Centre-Aikido London, given by Jaimie Sheppard.


Literary materials, film clips, and pictures are
copyrighted by their respected authors and owners.
Permission in writing must be made for any
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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
1978 C. Matrasko

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9/11/2001