Aikido is taught and practised at Goldstream Aikikai by Maggie Kay Sensei, Yondan (4th degree blackbelt), Shidoin.
Maggie Kay began her training at UVIC in 1993. In 1996 she moved to San Diego to enter Chiba Shihan’s certified teacher program.
Upon graduation of Chiba’s program in 2004, Maggie returned to Vancouver Island to assist Daniel Kempling with Pacific Coast Aikikai. Maggie is 1 of only 2 female graduates of Chiba Shihan’s program in Canada.
T.K. Chiba Shihan (February 5, 1940 – June 5, 2015) was a Japanese Aikido teacher and founder of Birankai International. He served for seven years as uchideshi at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo before being dispatched abroad to help develop Aikido internationally. He held an 8th dan in Aikido, issued by Aikikai world headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and was active in Aikido for over 50 years.
I began training in 1993 at Uvic dojo with Hilary Dawson Sensei. Right away I knew Aikido was for me. At the time I was living in Sooke and did not have a car. I would ride my bike and then the bus in many times a week to train.
After training for about a year, I went to San Diego to visit my sister who had recently moved there. I was encouraged to visit Chiba Sensei’s dojo, since he was very famous. I was quite terrified. I had just gotten my 5th kyu. Chiba Sensei came and taught a class and performed Nikkyo on me. He was very gentle, but I was shaking like a leaf.
I was extremely impressed by the dojo, by the sense of community I noted. I remember Chiba Sensei calling a beginner into his office to perform a moxa treatment on an injured shoulder. He clearly took a great deal of responsibility about his students. I was amazed by the athleticism of the ukemi and the dynamic atmosphere of the dojo. The dojo also had 5 classes a day 6 days a week. This seemed like a dream to me. At age 23 with no other serious commitments, San Diego Aikikai seemed like a dream come true.
Someone in my home dojo told me about the Kenshusei program. I wrote to Chiba Sensei to inquire about eligibility. By 1996, I had packed all my belongings and arranged to move to San Diego to apply to become Chiba Sensei’s Kenshusei.
The Kenshusei program with Chiba Sensei was like nothing I have ever experienced or seen recreated anywhere else. We were required to train at least 3 hours a night in body arts, weapons, Iaido and Zazen. Weekend seminars and summer camps were also mandatory. Aside from this, Chiba Sensei demanded no less than 100% commitment from every student. In turn, he gave everything. The training was not only physical but a deep development of one’s character. It was very individualized, as Sensei would train each person differently. One was constantly being pushed to their personal edge, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally. It was an incredibly uncomfortable and rigorous process highlighted with rare moments of insight and breakthrough.
Chiba Sensei and Mrs. Chiba took excellent care of us. We would regularly be sharing meals cooked by either Mrs. Chiba or Sensei, or we would have potluck dinners. We would stay late at the dojo and sing songs. The sense of community and camraderie was amazing. We went through very challenging times as a group and knew how to take care of each other.
After spending just over 7 years in and out of Chiba Sensei’s Kenshusei program, It was time to return to Victoria. I was Nidan and Fukushidoin (assistant instructor rank).
Upon my return to Victoria in 2004 I was mentored by Daniel Kempling Sensei who was running Pacific Coast Aikikai in Saanichton. Kempling Sensei had also previously been a student of the Kenshusei program with Chiba Sensei. Kempling Sensei and his family nurtured a connection with me on visits to Victoria during my time as Kenshusei.
After both training and instructing at Pacific Coast Aikikai ,it was time to start my own school. Kempling Sensei was leaving the island.
In 2008, I officially opened Goldstream Aikikai. I was San Dan. In 2011 I was promoted to Yondan and Shidoin (full instructor certification). Gold stream Aikikai has been through a metamorphoses since my son was born in 2012. But I am excited to share my Aikido experiences in the Westshore in our location on Goldstream Avenue.
After 24 years ... the journey continues.