Hi my name is Larry Reynosa and I am the Chief Instructor at Makoto Dojo School of Aikido, Inc., a charitable non-profit 501C.3 corporation, located at 3026 Telegraph Road, here in Ventura for that past 30 years.
We are committed to providing the teachings of Aikido, a non-competitive martial art with the foundation built upon kindness, compassion, honesty and above all integrity. We believe that through the training our children and adult students are empowered with the courage to be different and unique; and the creative thinking to make good choices! We also provide Ventura College, with an off-campus training facility for an Aikido class I have been personally teaching, as part of the college curriculum for over 42 years.
We discontinued our classes on March 17, 2020 based on recommendation from the Ventura County Health Department. I know we are seen as a “non-essential” business, but as we watch films like “Contagion”, “Outbreak”, “Containment” and the docu-series called, “Pandemic”, it is clear that the courage our students have been empowered with courage that is helping them cope with and understand the possibilities of escalating violence and danger when people get desperate and afraid.
When people panic as depicted in many of these films and when you see people coming out of Costco and Walmart with three baskets of toilet paper, drinking water, disinfectant and more food than they will eat in a month, it makes you wonder what is going on? And now, we hear of gun shops running out of ammunition and guns as people are readying for full scale war it seems. We will get through this if people do not panic and use their creative thinking to make good choices!
The three basics of Aikido are “Avoid, Control and Choose”!
First “Avoid”: Avoid getting punched, grabbed or kicked! Which we can also translate to “don’t get stabbed, shot or hit with a piece of pipe! However, in the case of the Coronavirus, it is invisible to the naked eye, but we need to “avoid” contamination! So that is what our community is achieving by “staying at home and away from other people”…or at least that is what we know we must do to mitigate the spread of this dangerous virus…we must “avoid” first.
The second is to “Control”: Control your mind, don’t panic! Control your temper, when others are inconsiderate and buy out the stores so they will have more than enough and others will have none. Control your enemy, by washing your hands frequently, wiping down surfaces that others have touched disinfectant, wearing a mask when you must go out and gloves that are no longer available at Harbor Freight!
And the third is to “Choose”: Make the right choices for you and your family. Be considerate of others and they are more apt to be considerate of you. Choose to be patient in the long lines waiting to get into the grocery stores. Choose not to deny that the Coronavirus is real, and can hurt a lot of people if we all don’t work together. So make good choices that will allow this virus to die out.
Our students have learned many physical lessons about self-defense against potential enemies that would hurt them, but that is only part of the value of the training.
Many of our students have already stepped up and continued to pay their tuition, even though we cannot conduct classes. We train together via the internet where I have put together films depicting some of the very lessons we would be doing in the Dojo.
Several of our students have made additional “tax deductible donations” to our school, that will help us when the rent is due. Since we are a “Non-Profit, Charitable Organization”, that only has one sub-contractor that does our books, we will not qualify for the Government “Paycheck Protection Plan”! Since all of our instructors are volunteer, including myself, we are not employees, but we still have to pay rent and utilities to conduct classes and stay in business.
Makoto Dojo School of Aikido, Inc. has supported the Tri-County communities for over 40 years by turning out leaders that have become, Ventura Police Officers, Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputies, California Highway Patrol Officers, Parole Officers, Community Leaders on City Councils and Chambers of Commerce. Our students are doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals too numerous to count. We have been recognized around the world and support other Schools of Aikido not only in the United States, but also in Germany, Spain, France, Brazil, South Africa, Belgium, and Russia.
Ventura, California has afforded us a community that cares about people and Makoto Dojo School of Aikido is a place where a student will be supported with that same goal in mind; to care about people! We live in a beautiful city where most people are good and decent and this Coronavirus Pandemic has given all of us an opportunity to rise up and be stronger than we ever thought we could be. We don’t like it, but we must deal with it in a positive way!
Just as I challenge each student to “do their best” by embracing the philosophy of the popular “Star Wars” character “Master Yoda”… and I quote, “Try Not, Do or Do Not! There is NO Try”! We must all strive to understand that “Try” is a word that was invented out of a “fear of failure and of looking bad”, ultimately undermining our own integrity. It is a word that seemingly gives us a way out of being our promise…our word! There is no action in the word “try”, just excuses!
People have to stop “trying” to stay home and away from each other as this virus dies out! People must “do their best, without fear of failure”! We will get through these challenging times, but we ALL must “Do” the right things to make it work! Stop hiding behind this tiny word, pretending that you are “trying to do” the right and just “choose to do” the right thing…even when people are not there to hold you accountable!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my gratitude to our Ventura Community and the wonderful people that have supported Makoto Dojo School of Aikido in business and me teaching for over 45 years. There is a old saying, “we attract those people to ourselves that are consistent with the way we are being!” I am proud to say that we must be doing something right at Makoto Dojo School of Aikido, because we have attracted so many “ordinary people, doing extraordinary things!”
CEO/Chief Instructor Makoto Dojo School of Aikido, Inc.
Ventura College Adjunct Faculty Member for 42 years