Sukagawa Aikido Club – Montreal

In 1993 I travelled to Japan as part of the JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) to teach English in some of Japan's public junior high schools. Although I had never tried aikido I had become aware of the art before my trip and was intent on learning from the masters in Japan. I was fortunate to be placed in a small town called Kagamiishi in the prefecture of Fukushima. There I met a man who has since become my master, my mentor and my friend. His name is Suzuki, Takashi sensei. To me, he will always be known affectionately as "sensei".

Suzuki sensei, my friend Kashimura Yoshinobu sensei and all the members of both the Sukagawa and the Shirakawa Aikido Clubs opened their arms and their hearts to a young Canadian from Montreal who could not then speak a word of Japanese and could understand even less. I found myself swept up in a flow of spirit that quickly led me places I had never been before. Under the watchful eye of Suzuki sensei I trained for three years in both the Sukagawa and Shirakawa dojos. In March of 1996 I earned my shodan (blackbelt). In July of that same year I was scheduled to return to Canada and I asked my friend Kashimura sensei what I should do to thank Suzuki sensei and all my aikido friends from whom I had learned so much. His response to me was, like the aikido techniques themselves, simple yet difficult. He said "teach."

Sukagawa Aikido Club of Montreal was started in September of 1996 at St. Jude School in Greenfield Park. I began teaching and sharing aikido techniques and the knowledge I had learned in Japan with high school students in my hometown. Interest in the art soon increased and the club was moved to Champlain College in St. Lambert. The club made another move in December of 1997 to Le Manoir Community Center in N.D.G.

Thank you Suzuki sensei. Thank you to all of my friends in Sukagawa and Shirakawa, Japan. You have given so much to me and to all of us here in Montreal. Gambarimasu!

Michael Bush