Heather Gawlick has a 6th degree black belt in Aikido. She founded Shinju Dojo in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1999. She began her Aikido training in Espanola, New Mexico in 1994 and spent many mat hours at Windsong Dojo in Oklahoma City and went to many seminars hosted by Karl Geis in Houston, Texas.
Roy Gawlick has a 5th degree black belt in Aikido. He opened Lions Gate Aikido in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2001. Roy started his training in Houston, Texas, at Karl Geis' dojo in 1997.
Heather and Roy met at an Aikido seminar in Houston. After they married, Heather moved to Vancouver, Canada where they reopened the Dojo together. In 2018, they moved to Longview, Washington where they currently enjoy teaching.
A short history about our style of Aikido
There are several styles of Aikido. Aikido is a martial art originating with Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969) in Japan.
One of Ueshiba's students was Kenji Tomiki (1900 - 1979). Tomiki also trained with Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. As a long-standing professor at Waseda University, he was concerned with developing a style of Aikido that would be easy to teach and quick to learn, as well as being effective.
Karl Geis (1933 - 2014) learned Aikido in Japan at the Kodokan. He was promoted to 6th degree black belt in Aikido by Kenji Tomiki and became one of the founders of the Fugakukai International Association. (Fugakukai was started by Karl Geis, Tsunako Miyake, Takeshi Inoue, Hiroaki (Riki) Kogure, and Yoji Kondo.) Karl was awarded a 10th degree black belt in both Judo and Aikido. He held a 9th degree black belt in Jodo. Karl Geis is listed in the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame.
Heather and Roy were members of Fugakukai while Karl Geis was still alive. They are currently members of Kaze Uta Budo Kai International Organization in Oklahoma City. Roy spent his first 2 years of Aikido in Houston learning from Karl. Heather spent many concentrated hours in Houston during seminars and traveled extensively to Oklahoma City to study at Windsong Dojo when it was owned by Chuck Caldwell and later Nick Lowry.
Our Aikido is neither traditional Uesheiba-style nor strictly Tomiki-style. It has a very strong Tomiki background. However, unlike traditional Tomiki groups, we do not participate in competitions.
We train slowly, gently, and safely focusing on off-balance points to initiate throws rather than pain compliance or joint locks. Instead of sparring, we prefer to study free-style Aikido in a gentler randori environment, like traditional Judo schools do.
At Shinju Dojo, we believe anyone can learn Aikido the way we teach. You do not have to be in shape or of a particular build or body type. We have had people with bad backs, cranky knees, and missing limbs enjoy our class.
We are an informal dojo and encourage questions whenever they arise. We want our members to have fun and love it when people spend the class laughing!
All that is needed is a smile and a love of learning. Give us a call today!