Aikidaily International Academy - Straight from Japan to Squamish
Aikidaily International Academy is located in Squamish, BC, where Grant and Rie Babin teach classes to over 180 school-aged children five days a week, and also offer homeschool programs, kids camps and adult classes. And you will often find Grant teaching aikido at local schools, where the teachers like his emphasis on learning self-control and exploring values such as working together, helping others and not competing directly with peers.
Grant and Rie also offer their hugely popular Afternoon Aikido Club, where students are picked up directly from school and spend time at the dojo working on homework, practicing yoga, and of course, learning aikido. Older children and teenagers are invited to participate in Aikidaily’s mentorship program where they learn leadership skills, help out in aikido classes, and travel to Calgary once a year to attend a leadership conference.
An interview with Grant Babin, Chief Instructor
How did you get started with teaching aikido in Squamish?
Believe it or not, I was headhunted from Tokyo, Japan and was recruited to teach aikido with another facility in Squamish. When they closed down, I already had a group of students and didn’t want to leave them, so I took on the responsibility of opening our own dojo. That was in 2016.
As someone with a business in the Sea to Sky, how has Community Futures Howe Sound helped you?
When we were opening the dojo, we approached Community Futures Howe Sound for a loan so that we could make tenant improvements to the space we were renting. We were successful in getting the loan, and it allowed us to really build up the space the way we needed it to be.
What is one of your business goals?
One of our goals is to develop new teachers. We currently have an exchange student from Japan who will be staying for a year and apprenticing with us during that time. It would be great to develop future partnerships, such as with Squamish’s sister city Shimizu, which is located in Japan.
What do you think of the sushi in Squamish?
Coming from someone who lived in Japan for several years, I would say Taka Ramen is the best and most authentic Japanese restaurant in town. The rest are okay and Umai sushi is the most creative.
Who inspires you?
There is an Aikido instructor in Calgary, Steve Erickson, who inspires me. The way he connects with his students and the people he interacts with is heartwarming to watch. He is genuine and caring and makes everyone feel like they are super important to him.
What’s something about you that not many people know?
I am a farmer by trade. And no, I cannot do a backflip. Kids always ask me if I can do backflips.
More information can be found about Aikidaily International Academy on their website at https://www.aikidaily.com