“Greetings. I was a student of Aikido and trained with 3 sensei back in the 1980’s and 90’s. I have experienced 2 different styles of teaching. When I decided to enroll my daughter of 5 into a martial art school, Aikido was the only one I considered. She LOVES her Shin Do Kan, and her Sensei. Originally Sensei was reluctant to admit such a young student, but she impressed him as being committed to learning.
“I originally chose the school due to its proximity, just a few miles away, then I conducted more extensive research into the school and Sensei Pennewaert. I was very impressed with what I discovered.
“Aikido was founded c. 1942 by Morihei Ueshiba (b. 1883) as a separate martial art discipline recognized and licensed in Japan, Ueshiba (O’Sensei) had several disciples that worked extensively with him, Sugano Sensei, a teacher of Sensei Pennewaert, was one of the original disciples of O’Sensei. Therefore, Sensei Pennewaert is considered ‘second generation’.
“To have a Sensei with such a close connection to O’Sensei is a great honor, in addition to the obvious fact that Sensei P. has tremendous technical abilities (6th dan). Additionally, as noted, Sensei P. also has a great background in teaching, having founded a school in Europe, and having taught in very prestigious Akikkais. None of my previous Sensei had such a background.
“This school follows the traditional style of teaching, with emphasis placed on rolls, and ‘tumbling’ which are very important in any art that uses throws. I always enjoyed this aspect of it and so does my daughter. Sensei and his assistant are very particular about getting the techniques correct. Sensei also integrates weapon training (bokken and jo) into his adult regular curriculum on a weekly basis. During the summer there are week long ‘camps’ lasting most of the day, for the younger students, with some weapon training.
“Sensei P. also follows the traditions and formalities of an aikikai, and he is flexible enough to allow for a little departure from strict rules, by children (and sometimes their parents) Sensei P. provides an excellent role model.
“I feel very honored that Sensei has accepted my daughter into his Aikikai and that she is receiving great instruction. As a demonstration, she pinned Mommy yesterday, to shrieks of surprise and delight from all. I was grinning.”
“After looking into various martial arts and local dojos, I chose Aikido for my 9-year old daughter because of its philosophy of non-violence and I chose the Shin Do Kan Dojo because of its quality of instruction and friendly atmosphere. My daughter has been taking Aikido here for the last two years and the experience has been remarkable. Sensei Pennewaert (6th Dan), a second-generation student of Aikido founder, Morihei Ueshiba, is on the mat with the children for every class. Sensei Pennewaert teaches with patience, warmth, and encouragement: he closely mentors and guides the children through the basics, and he introduces them to the martial and cultural etiquette of Aikido. The dojo not only teaches the children the skills of self-defense, it also emphasizes commitment and cooperation in a structured and fun environment. I had hoped that practicing Aikido would give my daughter more confidence and skill to deal with conflict, as well as strengthen her spirit and body. Aikido at the Shin Do Kan Dojo has done all this and more – this is a great place to learn!”