Aikido of San Antonio started as a modest dojo on Lackland Air Force Base in 1991. Every day that we had class we had to lay down mats and put up a small picture of a O Sensei. Over time and with the help of two students, Geoffe Meade, Bruce Beck, the instructor Kevin Templer created a non-profit organization called Aikido Dojos of San Antonio ( originally doing business as San Antonio Aikikai -- this was later changed to Aikido of San Antonio). During this time we developed a financial plan and strategy to move the dojo off Lackland, AFB.
A year later the dojo had accumulated enough funds and secured a loan from Frost National Bank to move to Alamo Downs Parkway. The dressing rooms and bathroom and lounge area were all previously constructed. The warehouse area required taping and floating and painting all the walls. Then we built an 1800 sq ft mat. We never had to put down mats again. And we finally had a permanent location for a picture of the founder of Aikido. Many students helped in the construction of the dojo -- too many to name. Some of the members who were instrumental in helping build the dojo were:
There were many others who also contributed who were not named. The instructor and board of directors are eternally grateful to those who help create Aikido of San Antonio and make it a success. During the following six years, the dojo enjoyed substantial growth and became one of the first official Aikido dojo in San Antonio. After about four years in Alamo Downs, Aikido of San Antonio started a children's program which is still thriving today.
The owner of Alamo Downs sold his property to a large holding company in New York. This company hired leasing agents which were supposed to maximize profits. When our last term of the lease was coming up, Alamo Downs' leasing agents encouraged us to leave the property in order to allow the neighboring business to expand into our space.
Luckily after an exhaustive search for a new location, we found a space at the West Loop II Business Center where we are now. This location originally had only two bathrooms installed and was completely unfinished. With the help of Wiley Patterson acting as our foreman, we prepared the area and cleaned it up. We hired contractors to build dressing rooms, and an office and storage area. The design of the dojo was carefully planned out by the instructor and some of the students of Aikido of San Antonio. After the dojo's rooms were constructed, we had to paint the area, put down floor tile and construct a new 2100 sq. ft. mat. All of this was done by the dedicated efforts of members of the dojo. Without their contribution, Aikido of San Antonio would not exist.
Now we have been at our current location for close to eight years. Aikido of San Antonio has thrived because of the students and members of the dojo working together to create a beautiful, peaceful place where one can train and develop themselves physically and spiritually. What has been accomplished by all the members is truly inspiring.