Lewallen Sensei is a traditionalist with an open mind. He believes in hard work that makes you stronger, embraces obstacles that harden your resolve, and discourages learning the easy way.
He believes that Aikido should be effective-not a dance that misguides you into thinking that you can defend yourself in a crisis, but a martial art proven on the battlefield. At the same time however, he stresses the importance of etiquette, tradition and respect.
He teaches the importance of understanding the roots of Aikido and that as a Japanese martial art it needs to be learned and experienced while being immersed in the Japanese culture. He shows the importance of the nuances of the language and how they influence one’s understanding of Aikido. With that in mind, a lot of his class is taught in Japanese because many ideas just don’t translate well enough into English. Using his rare knowledge of Japanese language and culture, Lewallen Sensei re-creates for his students an authentic Japanese learning experience.
At the Aikido Shoubu Dojo, we take pride in doing things correctly and traditionally, just as it is at the Tenshin Dojo where Lewallen Sensei studied in Japan for over a decade. Understanding the importance of the Japanese language, Shinto, and how it is deeply embedded in Aikido, while also staying true the founders influence, the Aikido Shoubu Dojo has been officially purified by a Japanese Shinto priest. It has also had an authentic Shinto opening ceremony, and has properly enshrined Amaterasu Omi Kami here at the dojo. Following Shinto tradition and ceremony, all the seasons of Great Nature as well as the new year are celebrated at the dojo Shrine, and it is open to the community for prayer and meditation.
Aikido Shoubu Dojo is a place for not only students to learn Aikido and gain respect for Shinto, but it is a place for the Japanese community here in Tucson to come, pray, and feel closer to Daishizen and ultimately connect to their Japanese roots.
The red gate (torii) in front of the Aikido Shoubu Dojo is not only a symbol for a great Aikido dojo, but it is an official and authentic marker of the divine.
Studying at Lewallen Sensei’s dojo, you can feel the energy he and his students create. Entering the Aikido Shoubu Dojo, you are able to leave your everyday experience behind and learn something foreign and wonderful that will strengthen your body, mind, and spirit.