Naka Ima Aikikai was informally founded back in December 2003, when Greg Angus returned to Japan to visit his Aikido teacher, Endo Shihan, at his dojo in Saku for “O Shogatsu” (New Year celebration). During this visit, Greg asked Endo Shihan, and was given permission, to open a new Aikido martial arts dojo in Canada.
Once back in Toronto, Greg, along with Ramin Arvin and other members of the local Aikido community, officially launched Naka Ima Aikikai. The Aikido dojo’s first location in Etobicoke opened in 2004, offering beginner and advanced martial art classes to both adults and children starting from 5 years old. Naka Ima has also hosted an annual seminar with Endo Shihan, with participants coming from all over world.
Naka Ima, which literally translates to “inside now”, is the name given to the dojo by Endo Shihan. It means “to be present in the moment” and reminds us not to be caught up in the past or to dream idly of the future, but rather to be mindful of each moment.
At Naka Ima Aikikai, we work on developing the physical body through vigorous flowing practice as well as on calming the inner self through breathing and continued focus on one’s center. This results in connecting through motion.
We also believe in creating a positive energy within the local community by fostering cooperation, connectedness and use of non-aggressive means to resolve conflict. The emphasis of our martial arts practice is on “ki musubi” or the binding together of energy as opposed to resistance or clashing of energy.
Naka Ima is affiliated with the Aikikai Foundation, Aikido World Headquarters at Hombu Dojo in Japan, and a member of the link to Aikido Isshinkai Association.
Our Aikido Practice at Naka Ima
At Naka Ima, our goal when practicing Aikido is in connecting through motion. Even during the continuous motion that happens as part of our Aikido practice, we try to focus on connecting with our own center, as well as connecting with our partner’s center. By making this connection, we become fully present in the moment.
By being in the moment, we are able to recognize the interaction between ourselves and our partner. Once this is established, an atmosphere of empathy is created. This feeling typically begins with empathy for our partners in the dojo during martial arts practice, and then eventually radiates outside the dojo into our personal lives.
Gradually we come to recognize that we are part of everything and everything is part of us. As this realization builds, antagonism and disunity begin to drop away. The result is peace.