Granite Showers Phoenix Dojo

New Granite Showers in Our Phoenix Dojo

granite countertops arizona

We have upgraded the Phoenix Dojo with a shower addition. We knocked out the storage closet, added some plumbing, and built a second and third shower. We tore down the old shower and split the space available into three showers, added a drain to each of the shower stalls, and built two walls to create three showers. A lot of our guys that train come in for the morning class and leave for work afterwards. There were some complaints that some of them weren’t able to get a shower before they left for work. As we improve the dojo and expand the training area we will be making more upgrades like this. We are working on buying the lease next door and expanding into the nail salon next door. We will be adding a small weight room and and sparring area. We will also be adding a massage table and exercise balls to help our athletes recover from back pain. The shower room was a huge upgrade and the granite counters and showers really improved the overall value of the dojo. Another request we recently received was for a sauna and an ice bath, seems to me that more guys are wanting to spend time at the dojo than at home. Just kidding, but I think the more accommodations we can make then the easier it will be for guys to make jiujitsu dojo in Arizonathe morning class. We currently have space for about 20 students, yet only about 5 make the morning class while 20+ make the evening class. The showers aren’t used as much in the evening, guys typically train then head home to clean up. We will be adding granite countertops to the entry way of the dojo where new members sign up and fill out paper work. I think it will also give the gym a more professional look. So far thee feedback on the granite upgrades has been positive. I want to thank the guys at Granite Karma ( for coming out and installing the granite countertops and shower stalls. They look great and our members are thrilled with the upgrades. Thank you!

Preparing For My Tournament

Cardio and Weight Loss For LA International Open

ad banner for 2018 international open

I have a jiu-jitsu tournament coming up in a few months and will be training extremely hard to cut weight and prepare for my match. I will be attending a few local seminars in advance to prepare and work with some teammates from other Gyms before my June 23rd match in California. The Los Angelas International Jiu-Jitsu Open is a great competition and brings out some of the best martial artists from California to compete in the event. The match will take place at Cerritos College June 23rd and 24th. I took second in my last match, it was a really tough battle and I gassed out at the end. I ended up losing by points, which sucks just as bad as being submitted. For the next few months I will be training cardio with a resistance berthing mask to really push the limits on my cardio. I have also moved down in weight and will be competing 10 pounds lighter than I did last time. This is going to be difficult for me, I don’t have much fat to drop and I it’s hard to dehydrate for these events because weigh-ins and competitions take place in the same day, and typically within a few hours of each other. There is some fat that can be burned, and competition matchI will need to avoid gaining weight as I try to put on muscle with strength and conditioning. I don’t have access to a local dietitian, so I will be relying on a macro online nutrition coach to provide me with the diet plan needed to cut the weight. Diet plans are hard to design for yourself in my opinion and require the knowledge of a true nutritionist. I need my protein, I need my vitamins, but how much? That has always been the issue for me when I have attempted to be my own nutritionist, I can usually get the foods right, but portion control is something I have struggled with. One my diet is right and I’m not drinking, I will be pushing my cardio goals hard for the next six weeks. I will train 5 days a week at a gym in San Diego where there are many blackbelts to train with. I received my Purple Belt last year and honestly, this division is much harder than I had anticipated it being. The white belt division was pretty easy, most guys don’t stick with it long enough to get good. The blue belt division was tough, guys had made it past their white belts and were now competing at a higher level. Now the purple belt division is easily the hardest competition I have faced yet. These guys are in amazing shape, strong, and are well prepared. I must get my weight right and my mind right to be in the perfect place mentally to compete at this level. I watch the black belts prepare, and then roll, and am extremely impressed by their conditioning and physical ability to roll for 10 minutes. Jiu-Jitsu has created balance in my life, the relationships are awesome, the exercise is amazing, and the experience is like nothing else I have done. I am really hoping that through the use of a resistance training mask, and the help of an online nutrition coach I can reach my cardio and weight loss goals for this tournament.

Cerritos College June 23rd and June 24th

Dealing With Lower Back Pain

How to Care for a Herniated Discs And Lower Back Pain

injury prevention We had a guy in the Dojo last week really hurt his back while training for a tournament. He was practicing sweeps and Judo throws when he hurt his back and fell to the mat. We stopped training for a bit to make sure he was alright. He was able to get up off the mats and get changed, he set an appointment to visit the Chiropractor to get his back checked out and found out that he had a herniated disc. As more of our students that are practicing Judo are experiencing lower back problems we wanted to share this blog post with you about caring for a herniated disk. The most important thing is to try and avoid any back injury, but considering the sport, you are likely to tweak something at some point of your journey. Especially if your goal is to become a black belt, that is likely 10 years of training. Hope this helps keep some of you healthy along the way.

There’s no more important system in your body than your central nervous system; it sends signals from the brain down the spinal column to control the movement of your body. When part of the spinal cord becomes damaged due to injury or overuse, the result can be pain, weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation in the back and to the extremities. This discomfort can be caused by one or more herniated discs in the spinal column.

Just the name “herniated disc” sounds painful and if you have ever experienced one, you know the pain can be excruciating. Herniated discs can cause excruciating lower back pain. A disc is herniated when the outer portion of a spinal disc, called the annulus fibrosus, breaks down due to injury or common wear. The inner portion of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, can then press on the nerve endings in the back or neck. These discs work like a cushioning between your spine and allow movement of the vertebrae. Although a herniated disc can occur anywhere along your spinal column, most herniated discs happen in the lower back or lumbar region. It is possible to have a herniated disc and not even know it; some people don’t experience pain or discomfort at all while others are in constant distress. Herniated discs in the lumbar region usually cause discomfort in the buttocks, calf and thigh and pain may radiate down the legs, causing numbness or tingling. Herniated discs in the neck often cause shoulder and arm pain, which can be dull and constant or occur as sudden, shooting pains. Since the nerve endings are affected by the bulging disc, the muscles in arms and legs can be compromised and may weaken. All of these symptoms should be brought to the attention of a doctor to properly assess and diagnose the problem. Each patient experiences pain in a different manner, which is why there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to healing a herniated disc. When meeting with a doctor, he or she will assess the spine to determine which disc or discs are causing the problem and then will determine an individualized treatment plan to alleviate the problem.


Generally, the first step in a treatment plan is a conservative one, depending on the severity of the situation. A doctor may try one treatment option at a time or try a combination of efforts to help alleviate the pain. Some of these methods include hot/cold therapy; physical therapy, including exercise and stretching techniques to help relieve any pressure on the nerve roots; and anti-inflammatory pain relief medication. Oral steroids, narcotic medications, and epidural injections are also options that can be provided by a doctor. The physician may also suggest chiropractic care and acupuncture to help with the discomfort as a complement to the other pain relief options or as an option on their own, based on a case by case situation. Conservative options are usually attempted for at least six weeks to see if they are helping. During this time, the doctor will educate the patient on how to move properly, to avoid herniated discs in the future. Proper lifting, bending, and stretching are addressed to avoid too much pressure on the discs in the future. After the conservative methods have been tried and the patient has found relief, he or she may decide to continue with these less invasive solutions. If the conservative treatments are not successful or if a patient is suffering from a great deal of pain, surgery may be an option. In some instances, surgery for a herniated disc is the best option, especially if a patient is losing feeling in his arms or legs due to a pinched nerve caused by the protruding disc. The nerve can become permanently damaged if the disc rests against it for too long, so the doctor may determine that surgery may be the best option.

Depending upon which disc is herniated and its location in the spine determines the type of surgery that will need to be performed. Discs can become herniated in the neck, as well, and requires a different type of herniated disc surgery. Sometimes, the disc can break if severely damaged, and fragments from the disc can become lodged in the soft tissues surrounding the spine. This can be quite painful and requires a specialized spine surgery. The physician and surgeon will determine the type of surgery required based on an individualized assessment of the patient’s needs.

So what causes a herniated disc, and can it be prevented? The discs between the vertebrae gradually lose water content as we age, which means they are more likely to become damaged, even by common usage. Other factors, such as excess weight can cause strain to the back, as can jobs that require heavy lifting and bending on a regular basis or just plain genetics can determine a bad back. While sometimes a herniated disc cannot be avoided, there are preventative measures that may help to keep the discs healthy. Exercise is the best way to strengthen the muscles surrounding and supporting the spine and maintaining a healthy weight. The more weight we carry, the more pressure that is exerted onto the spinal column, which can result in herniated discs. Also, good posture is imperative to a healthy spine. Slouching puts undue pressure on the spine, so keeping it straight can help prevent problems later on. Proper lifting, focusing on the leg strength, not the back strength, can also keep discs from rupturing or bulging.

Herniated discs are quite common and while there are no guarantees that they can be avoided as we age, proper stretching, exercise and correct posture can help to keep the spine and discs in the right alignment. If you start to experience back pain, it is important to contact a doctor or a chiropractor to determine the extent and the cause of your discomfort and then to start a program or treatment to fix the issue. Being proactive and seeing a doctor when you start to experience pain can possibly alleviate the long-term effects of a herniated disc.

To prevent lower back injuries you should diversify your martial arts training with resistance training and cardiovascular exercises. Finding a personal trainer to help you do focus exercises to strengthen the lower back is something all martial artists should consider.

Repairing The Roof In Tulsa

Repairing The Roof On Our Tulsa Dojo

dojo roof repair

We have seen some harsh weather patterns this winter and as a result of that, there have been some issues with our roof leaking. The mats on the dojo have suffered from water damage and has cost us lots of money and training time. Many of our students have complained about it so we finally hired an Oklahoma City roofing company to fix the problem. All the buckets in the dojo couldn’t collect the water that was running through the ceiling, it was definitely time to address the problem. It only took a day for them to come out and fix the issue, they replaced some plywood and the shingles and patched up the leak pretty good. Some of the heavier winds that had passed through had also ripped some of the older shakes free from their positions on the roof and either needed to be repaired or replaced. The old wooden shakes were hard to match apparently but we didn’t care much because they were on the backside of the roof. Insurance covered most of the repair cost because the damage was caused by heavy rains and winds. Our students have definitely appreciated having a dry dojo to train in. We replaced the mats that had been damaged the most and the sheetrock in the ceiling was replaced as well. The property value of the dojo has been increased which will be great when we sell the building until then it will be a great place for our martial artists to practice. The winters are cold and can be harsh in Oklahoma so having a safe, warm, dry dojo to practice in makes everything better for everyone. Our students ages range from young to old and everyone deserves a safe place to train. We have also begun to introduce the Newaza of Judo into our curriculum so students will be spending more time on their backs grappling, the mats will need to be dry to ensure a safe place to roll. Damp, dirty mats can become a breeding place for ringworm and other nasty little skin rashes so it’s important that if your dojo does participate in the grappling arts that the mats are not only dry but that they are cleaned after every use. By fixing the roof in our dojo we have guaranteed a safe training environment for our teachers and our students.

Personal Trainers Enhance Martial Arts Performance

Why You Should Work With A Personal Trainer

personal training This past week at a seminar in Arizona, I spoke to a personal trainer in Tucson about training martial artists and he had some interesting feedback based on his experience with local MMA guys. The bottom line was that these guys were not prepared for 3 rounds of battle in an octagon. While Aikido practitioners don’t have to worry about combat competition, hiring a personal trainer still has many benefits. Many martial artists don’t realize how valuable it is to incorporate plyometrics and cross-fit activities into their everyday training. Everyday people who don’t train to fight, but train to stay in shape will benefit even more from hiring a personal trainer. But a martial artist doesn’t necessarily reach the cardio levels during training needed to prepare properly for a competition. Going through the motions in the gym is one thing, but engaging a threat on the street requires much more. In a real life situation or even in competition the body drains resources that are not typically accessed during normal training routines. When it comes to a Martial Art like Aikido it’s safe to say that cardio vascular exercise is not part of the Kata performed in the dojo. The reality is that I see more heavier set people training in Aikido than fit people. Aikido doesn’t require the athleticism that Taekwondo and Jiujitsu may require for competition or even sparring. A heavy individual can really leverage that weight in Aikido, but a healthy fit individual can enjoy a long healthy life of training. Personal trainers know much more about diet and exercise than most martial arts instructors. Like the arts, diet and exercise is a science that needs to be applied on a per-person basis since everyone is different. Aikido is taught the same way to everyone, a technique is a technique. But diet and exercise should be custom plans built around age, weight, ability, and time. Not everyone has time to train in the dojo and then in the gym with a personal trainer, so modifying schedules to work in favor of the average person is beneficial to all. Professional athletes that train and compete for a living have a different schedule than most of us. It doesn’t matter if you are new to martial arts, have been training for years, or own your own dojo, a personal trainer can provide added value to your training. The arts have revolved around a mind, body, and spirit approach and if the body is not in tune with the mind the execution of techniques can suffer. Mental clarity and physical health are both important factors when trying to perfect your art and achieve a black belt. There are plenty of overweight, unhealthy black belts out there, you can still achieve that goal out of shape, but the martial arts practitioner that wants more from their training then just a certificate and a belt should consider the added value that a personal trainer brings. Diet, exercise, and weight training will absolutely improve your training and can also prevent injury. A stronger body is more durable and can stand up to the impact one might face when taking a throw or receiving a blow in training. I thought I would share this with my followers as I have seen more people coming into the dojo to train that are not in shape. It is my belief that a healthy body will feed a healthy mind and together they will improve your martial arts training no matter the art or your aikido


Cognard Shihan 8thDan in CA & AZ (June 2018)

Cognard Shihan 8thDan in CA & AZ (June 2018)
From: Andrea Debiasi posted on 4. Jun 2018, 10:52pm

“Kokusai Aikido Kenshukai Kobayashi Hirokazu Ryu” (KAKKHR), in cooperation with “Los Angeles Aiki Kai” & “Arizona Aikido”, cordially invites you to a series of June 2018 seminars with André Cognard Shihan 8th Dan (Hanshi, Dai Nippon Butoku Kai): Los Angeles, CA (June 16-17 & 27-28), Bakersfield, CA (June 18-19), Santa Ana, CA (June 20-21), San Diego, CA (June 22-24), Irvine, CA (June 25-26), Phoenix, AZ (June 30 & July 1).
All levels and affiliations are welcome.
Check out the details in the dedicated Website:

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  • Shirakawa, Ryuji in Calgary, Alberta Sept. 21-23 2018

    Shirakawa, Ryuji in Calgary, Alberta Sept. 21-23 2018
    From: Andrew James Barron posted on 28. May 2018, 02:23pm

    Calgary Aikikai is excited and looking forward to training with 6th Dan Ryuji Shirakawa Shihan of Sendai, Japan this September. This is the only seminar he will be conducting in North America and should not to be missed. All are welcome to come train with this dynamic and energetic Sensei. Info at :

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  • Shihan Ruriko Masutani Passes Away

    Shihan Ruriko Masutani Passes Away
    From: Matthew Streiff posted on 16. May 2018, 01:30pm

    Sad news that Shihan Ruriko “June” (Masutani) Harris, of Springdale, PA, passed away on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Also known as Ruriko Masutani, June was the beloved friend of Nigel Beckford, Matt Streiff, Alan Pelton, Skip Fox, Bob Intrieri, Martin Pachol, Greg Yakich, Barbara Brandom, Will Graves, Jim Weldon; step-mother of Darla Liston and family. June was the proud founder and executive director of Aikido of Pittsburgh. Shihan Ruriko Masutani founded Aikido of Pittsburgh in 1968 after she emigrated from Japan as a Christian exchange student. Born in Himeji, Japan, Shihan Masutani began practicing Aikido as a child in the early 1950’s under the guidance of her father. After moving to the United States and finally settling in Pittsburgh, Shihan Masutani continued training and began teaching seminars up and down the east coast. She taught Aikido in Pittsburgh for over 48 years.

    Along the way she has made many friends and taught thousands of students. In Pittsburgh she opened dojos in East Liberty, Squirrel Hill, Fox Chapel and finally Etna. June had a special way with people, students, teachers, people on the street, nurses and caregivers… she was always known and always loved by those she touched.

    Her journey in life has had Aikido and martial arts threaded throughout. From her early years as part of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) then a member of the Aikido of Ueshiba association and her later years as an independent instructor, Masutani Sensei always sought to give her students and friends the best, regardless of affiliations and associations.

    June was always a very independent person. Austere in many ways, she cut away frivolousness and got to the heart of training or relationships. She built a community in the Aikido and martial arts world that has a lasting legacy in those that she taught. She will be missed but will forever be remembered.

    Celebrate June’s life with her friends at a memorial service on Sunday June 3, 2018 at 2 PM at Aikido of Pittsburgh, 401 Butler Street, Pittsburgh PA 15223. Arrangements made by Perman Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 923 Saxonburg.

    In addition to the memorial service on Sunday June 3rd, the senior instructors of Aikido of Pittsburgh will hold a memorial Aikido seminar in her honor later in 2018. The burial will take place after that seminar.

    Please check the Aikido of Pittsburgh website,, or our Facebook page for more details on the seminar and burial date.

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  • Toshiro Suga, 7th Dan, 1-3rd June 2018

    Toshiro Suga, 7th Dan, 1-3rd June 2018
    From: Scott Reed posted on 16. May 2018, 01:30pm

    Toshiro Suga began aikido in 1968 at Hombu Dojo and moved to France in 1971. He was a senior student of Tamura Nobuyoshi Sensei and gives seminars all over the world. Please join us for his annual course in Edinburgh, Scotland!

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  • Kanai Sensei Memorial Seminar – May 25-27, 2018

    Kanai Sensei Memorial Seminar – May 25-27, 2018
    From: Andrew Manby posted on 7. May 2018, 08:56am

    Join us for the second Kanai Sensei seminar over the Memorial Day holiday weekend – an all-star lineup of senior instructors, fun activities, and affordable prices. It will have a retro feeling recalling Kanai Sensei and the early days of Aikido.

    Robert Zimmermann – 7th Dan, Shihan;
    David Farrell – 7th Dan, Shihan;
    David Halprin – 7th Dan, Shihan;
    Barbara Britton – 6th Dan, Shihan;
    Fiona Blyth – 5th Dan, Shidoin

    And other instructors to be announced.

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  • 5/18-5/20/2018: Seminar with Ikeda Sensei, Nashville TN

    5/18-5/20/2018: Seminar with Ikeda Sensei, Nashville TN
    From: Marta Crispens posted on 8. Apr 2018, 06:09pm

    30th Anniversary Seminar with Ikeda Sensei . Nashville Aikikai will be hosting a seminar to celebrate Tom and Mary McIntire Senseis’ 30 years of teaching Aikido in Nashville on May 18, 19, and 20. Please join us for great training, fellowship, and cake. Seminar cost is $130 or $40 per class. There will be a taco bar dinner on Saturday night, $15 per person. Please preregister at so we can get a headcount for dinner. Payment will be accepted at the door.

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  • 4/28-4/29/2018: Rising Dawn Seminar in Dublin, Ireland

    4/28-4/29/2018: Rising Dawn Seminar in Dublin, Ireland
    From: Diarmuid O’Riain posted on 8. Apr 2018, 06:09pm

    Rising Dawn Seminar 2018 will be hosted in Dublin by Dublin Tomiki Aikido.

    Location: Belgard Heights Youth & Community Centre, Old Belgard Road, Dublin 24, Ireland.

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