Our Dojo

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The Blacksburg Kodokan Aikido Dojo is a center for the study of the art of Aikido located in Blacksburg, Virginia. We practice Aikido as a "harmonious application of energy to conflicts, challenges and relationships." Our dojo is directly affiliated with the Hombu International Dojo and the Aikikai Federation through the Kodokan Dojo in Okazaki, Japan under Shihan Tadamitsu Tanaka. Tanaka Shihan's father was a member of the Omoto Kyo religion as well as a student of Morehei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. In fact, O'Sensei and Tanaka Shihan's father were uchi deshi (live in students) of Onisaburo Deguchi, the famous Omoto Kyo priest. Ueshiba established and named the Kodokan Dojo in the city of Okazaki sometime in the late 1940's or early 1950's.

Morehei Ueshiba (O'Sensei)
The Founder of Aikido

Tadamitsu Tanaka
(Kodokan Aikido Shihan)
Tadamitsu Tanaka was at one time a practicing Omoto Kyo priest and continues his father's connection with the Omoto Kyo religion and the Aikido of Morehei Ueshiba. He maintains the Kodokan dojo at his home in Okazaki, Japan. Since 1993, he has opened two additional Aikido dojo in the Aichi prefecture: a Kodokan dojo at the Toyoda District Culture Plaza in Toyoda, Japan, and a Kodokan dojo in the City Gym in Anjo, Japan.

History of Blacksburg Kodokan Aikido
Tanaka Shihan started "Kodokan USA" in Greensboro, North Carolina in October of 1989. He assigned the position of Dojo Cho to John Grinnell, who was his student in Japan from 1987 to 1988 and where he promoted John to the rank of San-Dan. John started his training in Aikido somewhat by accident by attending a George Leonard workshop in 1978. In 1980, he joined a Greensboro dojo practicing the Tomiki style of Aikido taught by Dr. Jim Farr. After seven years of practicing Tomiki Aikido under Dr. Farr, John's employment and research lead him to Japan. In 1987, John joined Tadamitsu Tanaka's Kodokan Aikido dojo in Okazaki. John is a corporate Behavioral Organizational Consultant and applies the principles of Aikido in his work.
Until 1990, the Greensboro Kodokan Aikido Dojo was the only Kodokan dojo in the United States. In that year, Grinnell Sensei promoted Truman Capone to the rank of Sho-Dan. Sensei Capone has since established the second USA Kodokan dojo in Blacksburg, Virginia. Sensei Capone is now Yon-Dan.  
In September 2001, John and Betsy Grinnell Sensei moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and asked Jay Speetjens (Yon-Dan) to take over as head instructor and Susan Dalton (San-Dan) to become dojo cho (manager). CB Claiborne Sensei (San-Dan) established a third Kodokan Aikido dojo in Harrisonburg, VA, where Doris Martin (Ni-Dan) is currently the dojo cho and head instructor. Jason Slade Sensei (Ni-Dan) established a fourth Kodokan Aikido dojo in Woodberry Forest in 2004. In the same year, Susan Dalton Sensei began teaching Kodokan Aikido at Alamance County Community College in addition to her continued efforts in Greensboro as well.