Dojo Kawahara Shihan Instructors and Yudansha Gallery
Mike Chin Sensei, Chief Instructor
Mike Chin, 5th Dan, started training in Aikido in 1985 with Ishiyama Sensei and Macphail Sensei at the Victoria Aikido Centre. In 1993 he started a children's Aikido club at a local school, and added adult classes a year later. In 1998 he relocated the dojo to a new location, which he named SanShuKan Aikikai, meaning "The Hall of the Three Elements of Practice."
Since he started training, Chin Sensei has been an active member of the Aikido community and has worked to promote Aikido in Victoria, holding demonstrations at many local events, including martial arts tournaments and the MS Society fundraising event. He regularly organizes Shidoin (senior instructor) seminars in Victoria. Chin Sensei was appointed as the Shidoin from 2014 to 2015 by the Canadian Aikido Federation.
Beyond his devotion to Aikido, Chin Sensei also practices other martial arts. In 1963 he started training in Judo, receiving his Shodan in 1967. In 1991 he started to train under the founder of Modern Arnis, Professor Remy Presas. Encouraged by Professor Remy Presas and Kawahara Shihan, Chin Sensei began teaching Modern Arnis to Aikido students, and in 2007 he extended his teaching of Modern Arnis to non-Aikido students. To this day, he teaches a few other arts in addition to Aikido.
Nan Yien Chin Sensei
Nan Yien Chin, 3rd Dan, started training in Aikido in 1993 at the Victoria Aikikai with Scott Macphail Sensei. She then began training with Mike Chin Sensei at the Oak Bay Aikido club, which later moved and was renamed SanShuKan Aikikai. Currently she is teaching classes here twice a week.
Peter Saldat, 3rd Dan, has been with Mike Chin Sensei since starting his Aikido training in 1997. In the past, he has taught children's classes and assisted in some of the regular adult classes. Although not training on a regular basis, he is constantly bringing the structure, movement, and philosophy of Aikido into his daily life.
Joshua Hayes, 3rd Dan, began practicing Aikido in 1998 at the SanShuKan dojo. He has been fortunate to practice under Mike Chin Sensei for over 15 years.
Over the past four years he has had the opportunity to instruct Aikido for children and for adults at the Seaparc Leisure Complex in Sooke and the Panorama Recreation Centre in North Saanich. He currently instructs a kindergarten and grade 1 children's Aikido class in Victoria.
Erik Lambertson, 3rd Dan, first started training in Aikido as a child, under Ishiyama Sensei and Moline Sensei at the Victoria Aikido Centre, when it was located in Fernwood. He took a two-decade-long break from Aikido and returned as an adult beginner in 2004 to SanShuKan. He is currently an assistant for the Thursday evening adult class at SanShuKan, and the kids' class instructor at the Vic West Community Centre's Aikido program, assisted by fellow student Mike Nedelkoff.
Erik loves the camaraderie of Aikido, and learning how to find harmony with people on and off the mats.
Deb Nicol, 2nd Dan, began practicing in 1994 with MacPhail Sensei at the Victoria Aikikai. She has long been a student at SanShuKan, where she has taught the thriving Monday evening kids' class, assisted by Michael Kilshaw and Brittani Forsyth, for two years.
In her years of training, Deb has many fond memories of attending Aikido seminars with Kawahara Sensei on Gabriola Island, at UVic, and in Toronto at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center. She has also attended seminars in Montreal with Tamura Sensei and Yamada Sensei and in Toronto with Nakamura Sensei. Whenever she's on the tatami, Deb loves the chance to practice iriminage, her favourite technique.
Jarod Holma, 2nd Dan, first started practising at Mike Chin Sensei's "Oak Bay Aikido". Now, 17 years and a couple of dojo re-locations later, he says it is like a home to him and the people are family. When he first started, practising Aikido was a fair distance outside of his comfort zone and he don't know if he would have stayed without the friendship of other students, the guidance of Mike and Nan Yien Sensei and Chio Woon Sensei.
Jarod says that the fact that he has stayed with it has been a source of pride and accomplishment. He says he finds it fascinating how people's characters are embodied in their techniques and how, after a duration of practice, as their techniques change, their characters change along with it. Jarod feels that Aikido becomes a way of becoming a more well-rounded person if you are open to it.
Jarod currently teaches beginners on Thursday nights at SanShuKan. It has always seemed to him that starting practice at a dojo can be an intimidating experience, as people in a dojo have known each other for years and have a camaraderie that can make beginners feel like an outsider. Feeling strongly that Aikido is a great practice for anyone, he also teaches Aikido Children classes aged 5-7 years at the James Bay Community Centre.
Joni Borutski, 2nd Dan.
Ming Woon, 2nd Dan, started practising Aikido in 1997 with Mike Chin Sensei and Chio Woon Sensei at the Oak Bay Aikido club. He taught Aikido Children class aged 5-7 years from 2005 to 2015 at the James Bay Community Centre. Ming says one of the best things about teaching the classes is watching the smiles on the kids' faces as they practice - as well trying to answer the surprising, random questions from his young students.
Rob McElroy, 1st Dan, began practicing Aikido in 1998 at SanShuKan. Rob moved to Asia in 2002 and bounced off a few different dojo mats before returning to Victoria in 2007 to resume his Aikido practice at SanShuKan. He loves the philosophy behind the movement and feels the structure and discipline add to his quality of life on and off the mats.
Jennifer Doyle, 1st Dan, was born in Seattle and spent her formative years in Victoria. After attending U Vic she moved to Toronto, where she began training in 1991 under Fran Turner Sensei at Aikido Shugyo Dojo. During her time at Shugyo Jennifer taught children's classes for two years. In 2009 she moved back to Victoria, and began training at Sanshukan. She is grateful to be practising in a supportive and generous environment under Mike Chin Sensei. Jennifer's aikido is strongly influenced by her zen practice. In her aikido practice she strives to be guided by Morihei Ueshiba's words: "The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit."
Will Allan, 1st Dan, has been practicing Aikido at SanShuKan Aikikai since 2002. He is a regular attendee of the Tuesday and Saturday classes, and finds the wide range of skill level among the students a fun challenge. "What ever you want out of a particular class, whether it is fitness, technique, flow or practical application, there is always someone there who is looking for the same thing," he says. While Will likes to play hard and fast with the more advance members, he knows this can sometimes intimidate the new beginners and counters it with his casual demeanor and easy smile off the mats.
Will has been an assistant in adult and children classes held in Sooke, North Saanich and James Bay Community Centre.
Michael Kilshaw, 1st Dan, has been practicing Aikido at SanShuKan Aikikai since 1999. Michael likes the spirit in which the art is practiced and the process of learning the art. He is currently the assistant for the Tuesday evening adult class at SanShuKan, and the kids' class assistant at SanShuKan children class.
Bill Little, 1st Dan, first discovered Aikido through the philosophy classes of Alan Drengson at UVic in the 1980s and took his beginner's class with MacPhail Sensei in 1988. He practiced briefly in Toronto and Montreal but after travelling and having a family only returned to regular practice in 2005 at Sanshukan Dojo with Mike Chin Sensei. For Bill, practicing Aikido is both a physical and a philosophical study. He says, "There are things you can learn through the body that you can't learn in books."