A Dream come true – Nakamura Sensei’s new Dojo

By: Stuart Reid – Shudokan Dojo member

“It is not my dojo.  It is our dojo.”  I have heard Nakamura Sensei express this sentiment whenever he is talking about our new home.  And although I believe that all dojo heads would want their members to feel a sense of belonging to his or her dojo, the sense of ownership Nakamura Sensei refers to goes way beyond simple membership in a training place.

A fully functioning dojo was constructed for our Opening Day Tournament which turned out to be a huge success.  A success due to an almost unimaginable amount of time and expertise put forth by the members and their families and friends who constructed just about every aspect of the dojo’s interior in just under two months.  Together with Nakamura Sensei and Sensei Vic’s leadership, a 4000 sq ft. automotive repair business was essentially gutted, cleaned, and transformed into a dojo with approximately 2200 sq ft of training floor, a Shuri Castle inspired shinzen, ample viewing areas and a waiting area, change rooms for men, women and children, an office for Sensei, storage, and even a communal kitchen niche.  It will also have a separate washroom and shower in both the men’s and woman’s change rooms and an upstairs training floor of about 600 sq ft. within the next month.    

There was no log book kept nor accurate way to now calculate the amount of time people  spent working on the dojo.  But from October 1, 2010 to Opening Day on November 27, 2010, it is suffice to say that at least a few people were always doing something from 10 a.m. -10 p.m. daily.  Yudanshakai members (black belts) covered daytime and many evening classes in the old dojo so that Sensei could be on site as much as possible.  People came during the day if their schedule allowed; some took time off work in order to do so.  Many came by after already putting in a full day of work.    Weekends saw a huge influx of people from not only our dojo but also affiliate Dojo’s from Niagara Falls, Oakville, Toronto and Oshawa; people drove over an hour to lend a hand in the making of Canada’s new Honbu dojo.

Nakamura Sensei asked for help and it is a testament to the respect he has earned that so many people willingly gave so much and are continuing to do so.  The trade-off is quite simply pride.  Anyone who helped, of which there are many, will automatically remember the drywall or subfloor section that he or she helped to install or build.  Pride is a precursor of ownership.  And ownership is something Nakamura Sensei facilitated in the construction of our new home.  Our dojo.