Enriching the Yukon with Martial Arts

?Quite a few years ago, a couple from New York arrived in the North. Lured by the mystic and splendour of this great territory, they set about living closer to the land and integrating within our community.

They brought with them the teachings of aikido: the way of harmonious action.??Rose and Abby Mayer were the first teachers in Whitehorse to offer aikido on a regular basis.??For over three years, they taught out of Wood Street Annex using space that one of the local karate clubs gave them. With the support of the community, they were able to teach a newer martial art that is based on harmonious integration when force is applied.

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to train with these two very dedicated people, for over three years, and deepen my understanding of traditional martial arts.??I have been fortunate also to have attended seminars with some of the great masters when they have visited Canada and I have seen first-hand what we are all capable of achieving through their example. However, these people are rare and, often, as in all martial arts, we find a need to have other instruction to complement our own growth and understanding.??I attended an aikido class along with my regular karate training for three months while living in Ottawa, and at one point I was asked to teach aikido students to punch and kick with power and speed. The instructor, who was a very accomplished aikido ka, felt that he and his students did not understand how to properly strike nor even defend themselves from someone capable of delivering powerful, realistic techniques.

This was a great honour to be able to participate and share some of my own teachings to help others. I felt he was exhibiting the same spirit and openness that the founder of aikido did in developing this beautiful martial art.??Since that time we have been fortunate to see the rise of aikido in the Yukon under other instructors who have come from different parts of the world to make their home here.??We are fortunate to have one dojo specifically dedicated to aikido practice. In 2002, the Yukon Aikido Association was established. It’s now located at 415 Baxter Street and is taught by Gael Marchand and Richard Claxton.

With the participation of other senior members of their club, they have been offering training in aikido and weapons for all ages.??Like many instructors, in the Yukon, they continue to study their art and pass on their knowledge to Yukon people.??For more information about what they offer, you can go to their website: www.aikidoyukon.net.?

This very dynamic group is sharing their knowledge and understanding of this traditional martial art. The Yukon is richer for it.

Todd Hardy has studied and taught a variety of martial arts for over 38 years and has trained with many people from around the world. Would you like to comment on what you read here? Contact him at [email protected]

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