A Saanich councillor received some special recognition this week from the other side of the world.
A delegation arrived in Victoria from the Shioda Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan to present an eighth-degree black belt ranking to Saanich Coun. Fred Haynes. The ranking is one of very few in the world.
“This high rank of Hachi Dan (eighth dan) is awarded to Haynes Sensei in recognition of his many years of technical study and his diligent work in helping to spread the art of aikido” said head instructor Yasuhiza Shioda Sensei who made the presentation.
A student of aikido for over four decades, Haynes trained in Japan for several years directly under Gozo and Yasuhiza Shioda Senseis. He has returned to train in Japan on numerous occasions. His first years at the Headquarters Dojo in Tokyo included full-time aikido training with an elite section of the Tokyo Police that was responsible for the close quarters unarmed protection of VIPs.
Haynes was instrumental at an organizational level in opening instructor ranking to widespread gender, racial and national diversity. Instructor certificates are now being received based solely on the student’s technical and teaching merits. This approach enabled the women and men of all nations to teach and study aikido on an equal footing.
“Aikido is an interesting study,” said Haynes. “In techniques, timing is more important than speed, sensitivity is more effective than physical strength. In this way size or strength are not important. In training the role of giving and receiving the technique are continually exchanged. This refines technical understanding, reduces competitiveness, and increases sensitivity. The art is one of flowing movements that can work to expand your own internal balance. Because of this aikido is ideal for women and men of all ages and wide abilities.”
Drawn to aikido in his teens, Haynes has assisted aikido groups in South America, Europe, Russia, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Canada and the U.S. Since 2003 Haynes has taught with Jim Kightley and others and opened the Island Aikido Dojo located at the Prospect Lake Community Association Hall in Saanich.
Founded by Morehei Useshiba in post-war Japan, aikido draws upon the circular movements of the Samurai sword arts and open hand aiki-jujitsu. Practised world-wide aikido is commonly regarded as the “art of harmony” where opposing forces are redirected towards less harmful outcomes. Gozo Shioda Sensei, the top student of Ueshiba Sensei, formed the Yoshinkan style of Aikido. His son Yasuhiza Shioda Sensei is the hereditary headmaster of the Shioda style.
On Aug. 9 Shioda and Haynes will join the “Remember Hiroshima & Nagasaki” commemorative event in Esquimalt Gorge Park. The event is presented by the Physicians for Global Survival & the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network.