Gordon Thomas

I started practising aikido in 1997 through Calgary Parks and Recreation where Yasuhisa Inaba 6th Dan conducted introductory classes. I was initially drawn to aikido by the merging of physical and philosophical aspects into one art. One teacher has described it as “action-philosophy”. What I liked is that the physical techniques help to ground the spiritual aspects of the art. In 2015 I joined Yuishinkai International under the technical direction of Quentin Cooke 7th Dan. Cooke sensei encourages us to invite to our dojo, teachers from other aikido schools and, thus allow our students to be exposed to differing points of view.

For myself, the overriding quest has always been to explore how aikido helps in my everyday activities. Knowing how to deal with the situations we face on the mat can prepare us for the challenges we meet in the outside world. For the most part, the senseis I have trained under were very clear that the ultimate goal is not about the techniques, it is about the development of the individual. The techniques are merely a vehicle to explore ways to achieve that goal.

I have found that commonplace situations present a stream of opportunities to practice the “aiki” principles which lie at the heart of Morehei Ueshiba’s ( the Founder of aikido) teachings: dealing with aggression from a hostile work colleague, a playground bully, or, an argumentative teenage child. The list is endless. In addition, what has proved to be an interesting discovery for me is that the attitude we bring to a difficult situation has a great influence on the outcome. Many times, in my business world and personal life I have been able to defuse a potential confrontation by the application of “aiki” principles to bring about a peaceful resolution which is agreeable to all parties.