Makiling Aikido Club @ 20
We wish to thank all those who celebrated with us our 20th anniversary -- from the keiko at the UPLB Copeland Gymnasium with the students of Phan Minh Quan in his physical education class in Aikido to the dinner party at Arisabel Resort.
We'd like to thank Eugene Maligalig Sensei from Australia and Cham Fernandez of Davao for their substantial financial contribution, Jeff Rañola for his resourcefulness in providing the cooling fans, Quan for preparing the martial arts area of Copeland Gym, Mhar for producing the anniversary shirt, Ian of Shin Shin dojo for designing and producing the keychains, Roy and Connie Calinga for reserving the resort for us, the parents of our members who have always been supportive, and all the others who helped made this an event to remember.
Paul Olegario Sensei came with three of his students from the UP Diliman Aikido Club. Bujong Castillo arrived with wife Tina and their daughter. JojoGenio still managed to catch up. Cesar Austria was there to "shoot" us and spread our faces on facebook. We also wish to thank representatives from Shinbu, PHCAC, Shin Shin Aikido Club and Makati Aikido Club for celebrating with us.
We'd like to thank Mel Miel Sensei and Paul Olegario Sensei for teaching that afternoon. We all benefitted from the depth of their knowledge and the breadth of their experience.
It's actually the first time we observed and celebrated the anniversary of Makiling Aikido Club (MAC). It may lack the fanfare typical of celebrations but still one that we will remember and keep in our hearts forever.
Twenty years ago, Manolo Villegas Sensei founded MAC with ten members with no mats and no place where training can be held other the apartment of one of the members or the open area fronting the now Mathematics Building of UP. But Manolo Sensei came to teach regularly every week and the pioneering batch came to train with him. And the group he established still thrives, offering Aikido to those wanting to learn the art of harmony and walk on the path to peace.
We were not able to ask Manolo Sensei to say a few words during the dinner at the resort. But knowing him, he's not the type to share much with a large group present. We did not ask him what his thoughts were that day. But as he left, we can honestly say there was no need. As he left to board his car, he glanced back to where we all were a smile etched on his face. He was glancing back at 20 years of what he began and sustained through the years. He was also looking ahead to what MAC can still become. This is the only aikido club he founded. It's original logo bears the first letter of his name. Makiling Aikido Club is Manolo Villegas Sensei and Manolo Villegas means Makiling Aikido. This is his legacy.
Makiling Aikido Club at 20
The Seven Samurai of MAC
Randori on rain-drenched freedom park
About two hours past midnight four years ago, seven guys emerged from the shadows of the trees that lined the parking lot of the SU Building to honor a pact made earlier at the Big Dad's Restobar in LB Square. The seven were Bubz, Henry, Dino, Rommel, Quan, Leeroy, and GP. The pact- they would do high falls if GP who was known to them as guitar player would not jam with the band performing at Big Dad's that time.
Big Dad's had been a regular watering hole for MAC members and the seven had arrived there after the regular Saturday keiko for dinner and beer, to rave about aikido and swap taunts and jeers. It was around 8:00 pm when the band started their first set. The vocalist said that they welcome jammers. After trading glances Dino, Rommel and Leeroy agreed. GP was requested to play the guitar if he does not wish to sing. But shy as he was, GP declined. Bubz suggested that the consequence of GP not jamming with the band would be for the seven of them to do high falls in the UPLB Freedom Park to which majority agreed.
Dino did his version of True Faith's Perfect. Leeroy took the guitar for his rendition of Rivermaya's Awit ng Kabataan. Rommel sang one from Sting. They turned to GP who could only smile back and despite the pact forged still refused to go onstage. The seven stayed until the band's last set but GP did not obliged them. After downing their fourth bucket and settling their bill, the seven got up and left. On the way out of LB Square, Dino asked where they were headed next and Bubz replied “to the field for the high falls since GP did not jam with the band”.
They arrived at the SU parking lot in three separate vehicles. The seven walked to the freedom park. Quan stood along the edge of the park as he was not feeling well. The field was wet from the rain that fell that day. Henry was recalling how the MAC pioneers dared the new guys during their early years if they were brave enough to do a high fall on cement floor. But that night, that moment they weren't there to do only ukemi. Dino, the most senior in rank, told them they would instead take turns for randori and would do so until Dino orders “yamae”.
Makiling Aikido Club@20
Makiling Aikido Dojo as my second home
By Joan Cantos Lao, Blue Belt (1998-2001)
"Back when i was a university student the mat was my friend. All the stress from calculus were consumed by each high fall. Fellow aikodokas and senseis became my second family. I was not judged nor pressured on each practice. As my former sensei used to say, Aikido is a way of life.
Aikido back then was just my comfort blanket. But even after I graduated and started working in the city, I still rode the bus back to Makiling to practice. I wanted play Aikido where I feel safe. After ten years have past, I still wish I can find Aikido within me. I got inspired again just reading how my fellow Makiling members still have Aikido as part of their lives. I was reminded of the peace I felt on each Aikido lesson, how Aikido calmed me on stressful days.
Now in a different dojo, different sensei, different uke, surprisingly, I feel home. My new sensei told me that I should not be bothered that I have not practiced for ten years. Let aikido flow back to me was what the sensei said. It's like riding a bicycle again after ten years, it should be like instinct he said. And it did, lessons from Makiling are slowly coming back.
We all have our own reasons why we play Aikido. The Makiling dojo showed me Aikido as a second home, a place to learn life. I thank Makiling Aikido Club for that."
-Joan C. Lao trained with Makiling Aikido Club while she was a computer science student in UPLB where Dante Facundo Sensei and Paul Olegario Sensei were her teachers. She emailed the above post last July. She's now based in the US with her husband and two kids and has recently returned to the mat. Like the others who stepped on the mat of MAC, she's never afraid to mix it up with guys in the dojo and owns a very mean high fall.
Dante T. Facundo Joan was always a determined student...shy at first but was a natural with each practice. I`m proud to be one of her instructors....
Other members of MAC who reached dan levels were Rommel Miel, Alma Bombase, Jonaz Labastilla, Richard Encomienda, Dino Dominguita, Rommel Desamero, Jojo Genio, Phan Minh Quan, Caleb Osborne, Ted Boado, Russell Celis, Roy Calinga, Bujong Castillo, Mark Ang, Oliver Ocampo and GP Dayan.
Jeff Rañola, a student of Jun Penolio Sensei of Bicol Aikido Zen Dojo in Naga City, has been training with MAC regularly since 2009. The MAC is the designated dojo supervising aikido training at the Shin Shin Aikido Club in Biñan City in Laguna. Shin Shin Aikido Club became a member of Aikido Philippines in 2010.
Former members and students of Manolo Sensei are invited to celebrate and reconnect with the dojo at the foot of Mt. Makiling. Those who have a lot of fond memories they would like to share and put these in writing can email their reminiscences, anecdotes, etc. at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of the event will be posted later. Invitations will be posted here and in the website of Makiling Aikido Club and Aikido Philippines.
May 1, 2011
Invitation to other Aikido Groups
Dear Friends in Aikido
On behalf of the Aikido Philippines, Pilipinas Aikido Propagation Association and the Filipino Federation of Aikido, we would like to invite all aikidoka to this year’s Mid-Year Aikido Seminar by Etsuji Horii, 7th dan, from June 3-4, 2011.
Horii Shihan entered the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo in 1985, initially as an uchi-deshi, and eventually became an instructor at Hombu. Horii Shihan moved back to his native Kobe in 1996 to establish his own Sanda Dojo. He remains very close to Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba and Hombu and teaches many international seminars. He is known for his powerful technique.
This will be the first time for Horii shihan to visit the Philippines since the 80’s. Horii shihan will not be conducting dan examinations.
The seminar will be held at the International School Manila, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The venue is at the back of Market-Market Mall and is easily accessible by public transportation from Mckinley Ave. corner EDSA in Makati and there is ample parking inside ISM.
The six classes will be scheduled as follows: June 3 - 5:00 to 6:30pm/7:00-8:30pm. June 4 - 8:30am-10:00am/ 10:30am-12:00nn/3:00 to 4:30 PM/ 5:00 to 6:30 PM. The seminar will be priced at P1,200 for a package of all six sessions, and a mat fee of P200 per session. In addition, there is an P800 “early bird” offer for all those who pay the fee to federation representatives before May 15, 2011.
For further inquiries, please contact us at 0918-4422777 or 0927-7971251 or 0915-3330055; or email us at Rommel Miel email@example.com, or Victor Ayes at firstname.lastname@example.org or Raul Rodrigo at email@example.com. We look forward to training with you all in Horii’s seminar this June.