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Hear what students have to say about Newport Beach Aikido

Yoko Bulman, Parent of Aiden and Cole Bulman

”I searched high and low for the proper dojo for my boys. I have finally found it in Aikido Newport Beach. Of course, they teach the basics like rolling and techniques as do many other aikido club, but Aikido Newport Beach instill the proper dojo etiquette, proper mindset for the , and make kids harmonize with the partner’s movements. This is the essence of aikido and what makes it different from any other martial art. We work with our partner to learn the skills, the techniques and each other’s limitations. There is no competition, no horseplay, no ego. I love this dojo for the calming and concentration of my boys’ minds, the hard physical exertion (it’s exercise!) and the cultural exchange. They have summer camps where they serve dojo-made lunches. It’s almost like an uchideshi experience. I am very happy to have found this dojo. I drive 20 miles from home to bring my boys here in horrible 405 evening traffic, but this place is absolutely worth it. It’s the best dojo I’ve found in south county.”

Skyler Mineshima

“My family and I feel very fortunate to have found Newport Beach Aikikai. My older daughter began aikido here when she was 51/2 years old, almost two years ago, and since then my younger daughter and I have also joined.
My daughters look forward to attending aikido class every week. They love learning new techniques, playing agility games with their friends, and practicing meditation. The children in class are wonderfully supportive and friendly as Sensei expects his students to be disciplined, kind and respectful human beings. Sensei provides a safe environment for children to learn and gain confidence in themselves. As a parent observing the class, I can see how my daughters will be able to use these variety of skills and practices throughout their lives.

The Samurai Summer Camp is also an excellent place for learning. My older daughter has participated for two summers and she loves it! Sensei teaches the students new aikido techniques, they learn valuable skills in identifying and protecting themselves dangerous people, and they get a lot of exercise. In addition to the great instruction, my daughter couldn’t stop talking about delicious the food. Ms. Charn provides the best lunches that are both tasty and nutritious. My younger daughter can’t wait to join in on the fun next summer.

Joining the dojo as an adult has been an amazing experience. I was very nervous to join since I have never done aikido before, but I’m so glad I decided to take a chance and do it. At first I was intimidated, but everyone was so kind and patient and now many of them are friends. The senior members are always very helpful and they are very good at explaining each technique. It is evident that Sensei has a high expectation of his experienced members. I love that Pennewaert Sensei is committed to preserving the traditional aikido methods taught to him by, Sugano Sensei, who learned directly from the founder of Aikido, O-sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). I have a deep appreciation for Pennewaert Sensei’s dedication to doing each technique properly and his loyalty in keeping with traditions of aikido.

Sensei has created an environment in his dojo that is kind, educational and positive. The people in his dojo are like family and this dojo has brought a lot of happiness to my family. Sensei personifies at Newport Beach Aikikai that aikido is not just a martial art, but a way of life.”

David Takata, President of Engage Capital

Dear Sensei: Thank you for helping my growth as an aikido student of the Shin Do Kan Dojo. My most recent two years have been a great learning experience and I look forward many more challenges in the future. As you know, when I first came to you I had been plagued with frequent neck and back problems, due to a car accident many years prior. I shared my concern with you about my health, but was interested in the notion that aikido might be able to help me develop increased mobility and strength. I’ve been impressed that you’ve allowed me to develop at my own speed, and I am happy to report that I have not had a significant flare-up in well over six months. I’m sure anyone who’s had such health problems can relate to the price one would pay for renewed mobility, but needless to say my training has been a bargain compared to the alternative. Beyond the physical benefits, aikido provides me with a great mental outlet from the stress of work. I now know that I made the right choice of joining your dojo as I practice in the warm environment you’ve created in Newport Beach. My fellow students have always been supportive and I look forward to sharing my experience with others. I’m writing this letter with gratitude, and in hope that others will be similarly inspired to try aikido at Shin Do Kan Dojo.”

Keith Russell, President of Euresys, Inc.

”About four years ago I was motivated to learn Aikido after learning its benefits in business and of course health. I looked at the options in Orange County, and found the Shin Do Kan Dojo suited my needs the best. It is the only full-time dojo in the area offering traditional Aikido and a convenient class schedule. Besides improvement in my health, Aikido has helped me to maintain my competitive edge in business. My focus, agility, and stamina have all improved over the past 4 years because of Aikido. It is also fun, and a person can start at any age. I started at age 47! I would highly recommend the Shin Do Kan Dojo to anyone who is interested in studying Aikido.”

Dr. Carla Wells,MD

”For the last twenty years of my life, I have been looking for the most time efficient, physically demanding workout. Over the last couple of years, I realize that I have stumbled upon one of the best kept secrets in Newport Beach! Not only does your Aikido classes offer an amazing physical challenge but the mental growth, coordination development, and stress relief is equally remarkable. I am also learning a mode of defense which has enhanced my confidence in all aspects of my life. Aikido is an art and as such it continues to demonstrate new and interesting aspects. We here at Newport Aikikai are especially fortunate to have you as our instructor, an otomo of Sensei Sugano (second generation to the founder of Aikido), who has dedicated his life to teaching Aikido right here in our community. Thank you for your commitment to this art.”

John Fox, Co-Founder of GigX

”Dear Sensei, We just wanted to let you know how excited our family is to be part of your full time Aikido Dojo here in Orange County. For many years we were running around, from sport to sport, and season to season (baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, etc) looking to expose the kids to a variety of athletic endeavors to make sure they were well rounded while growing up. The look on my wifef’s face after doing this for four (4) kids said it all: she needed a break. Having lived in Japan for 3 years, and being exposed to Aikido, I began the search to find a suitable martial arts location in Orange County. We looked at all martial arts but had our heart set on finding a traditional Aikido dojo that reflected what I had experienced in Japan: a place of quiet to focus on a whole body and whole mind workout, a place where we could build community with others who were seeking a well rounded, athletic outlet for their kids. Our extensive search (with multiple visits to many martial arts locations) ended once we set foot in the Newport Beach Aikikai dojo. It is not a place to be boastful or noisy. Nor a place to be beaten down by other students. Simply a nurturing environment for our kids to develop their minds and bodies as they mature. It is a special place and we are forever grateful for having found you and your students. For anyone researching locations, we’d suggest they cease their search and just go see you – we already did the research, after all. And for any parents or kids who doubt that the gentle art of Aikido is not a good work out, or is too easy – well, we have 5 family members who can attest to the total physical and mental work out you get while learning to control your body and protect yourself should the need arise. Our daughter loves it! Our sons love it! And my wife and I love it!
Thanks again!”

Luis Alvarado, Principal of LA Design

”Dear Sensei Pennewaert, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and thank you for sharing your knowledge and understanding of Aikido through your teachings at Shin Do Kan Dojo. Finding Shin Do Kan was a real blessing for me as I’ve found the practice of Aikido to be the best physical and mental workout I have ever experienced. I’m still as enthusiastic as I was five years ago when first coming to the Dojo to learn from you, and practice with fellow members. Unlike other types of exercise, that soon became dull and unexciting to me, the highly advanced techniques of Aikido are challenging and rewarding. Additionally, I’ve found the basic concepts of Aikido ? embracing and redirecting forces ? to be applicable in both my professional and personal life. I think it is human nature to sometimes avoid or ignore certain challenges we are faced with, hoping they will simply go away. Through the practice of Aikido, we learn to “take in” and “blend” the forces coming towards us, and simply re-direct them. As a small business owner, I am consistently tested with new challenges and my new reaction to these challenges is to embrace them. I’ve found a whole new meaning to the concept of “going with the flow”. I can truly see myself practicing Aikido for the rest of my life as I’ve found it only gets better as I discover and learn more about the art. Thank you again for your commitment to this martial art and to your students. I wish you good health and much success with Shin Do Kan Dojo.