Aikido Yukon opens dojo to others

Since aikido is about turning conflict into harmony, it only makes sense that Aikido Yukon works with other martial arts schools and not against them.

Since aikido is about turning conflict into harmony, it only makes sense that Aikido Yukon works with other martial arts schools and not against them.

“Aikido was created as the art of peace,” said Mary Gamberg, president of Aikido Yukon and black belt. “The whole point of aikido is to turn any conflict into harmony. For that reason, if someone attacks you, you don’t let them hurt you, but you don’t hurt them either. Aikido is about using techniques to disable a person and pin them, or whatever, without hurting them.

“We have no competitions because there’s no winner or loser.”

Aikido Yukon is holding an open house at its dojo (school) tonight between 7 and 9 p.m. at 415 Baxter Street (around back). The open house is not just about recruiting students to the Aikido school. It is also meant to attract other schools to the facility.

“The purpose of the open house is, we have this permanent dojo and we’re the only martial arts organization here that does,” said Gamberg. “We don’t use the dojo all the time but the mats are there and set out all the time – the other martial art (organizations) use schools where they have to set up the mats all the time and put them away, and it’s a hassle.

“Since we don’t use our space 100 per cent of the time we thought we’d offer the other martial arts groups time, free of charge, in our dojo.”

Instructors and artists from various martial arts will be present to address questions to those shopping for a discipline to study, so no coloured belts are required.

“People who might just be interested in martial arts and would like to come talk to people who practice martial arts and teach it,” said Gamberg. “It would be a good opportunity for that as well.”

But the offer is not limited to martial arts. Aikido Yukon believes their facility is suitable for other groups such as belly dancers, yoga and has, in fact, extended the invitation to every group registered with Sport Yukon.

“That wouldn’t necessarily be free of charge,” said Gamberg. “We’re the martial arts community and offering it free of charge, but if anyone else wanted to rent space, then they could do it.

“We have a daycare that comes here twice a week because we have mats and padded walls.”

However, Gamberg admits that the facilities may not be a perfect fit for all activities because, for example, the dojo has no mirrors on the walls.

“So that’s a downside for some things like dance,” said Gamberg. “We told the belly dancing people if they want to bring mirrors on stands and put them there, that’s fine.”

Judo Yukon, which has expressed interest in using the dojo, is a prime example of a group that could benefit from the space. Since Judo Yukon operates out of schools and therefore cannot hold summer classes, it is difficult to send young judokas to the Junior Nationals, which take place at the end of the summer.

For more information visit Aikido Yukon’s website at or call 334-9844.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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