The following testimonials have been provided by BigRock Aikikai students and their parents to act as a reference. If you would like to submit a testimonial for display on this website, please contact sensei.
When you first come into the dojo & see a class, you’ll notice how all the kids are sitting & listening to Sensei Steve. You'll feel their excitement & readiness to learn. Then when the active training begins, you’ll see how much fun they have, & how hard they all work. You’ll see the teen students training the younger ones. You’ll see all the kids smiling & having a great time while learning Aikido. You’ll see how amazingly well the classes are run - from start to finish. After class? The kids come off the mats still beaming. Our son (now 18) took Aikido for many years, starting at age 6. Now our daughter (9) is just beginning & enjoys it as much as our son did! Sensei Steve is incredibly patient, kind & encouraging with his students. It’s a safe & happy environment for them to learn in, as he instills in them a humble confidence. He keeps close track of each student & where they are at with their Aikido skills. He has so many trainees, & yet remembers each one & their unique details. He truly cares & it shows!
Our Daughters 13, and 11, have been in Aikido since September 2016 and they have loved every minute of their Aikido Classes. They look forward to every class! Sensei Steve has created a very positive, inclusive program that instills confidence and focus. Sensei Steve has the perfect combination of patience, kindness, encouragement and humour putting everyone at ease and making every class so much fun! While giving individual help to all the students and making everyone feel important and special, our daughters have learned so much. Sensei Steve is an excellent teacher, taking the time to help each student master the skills. We are thrilled to have found BigRock Aikido, it is an incredible school with an incredible leader! Under the direction of Sensei Steve, Aikido has been a wonderful experience for our Daughters!
Our family has been a part of BigRock Aikikai for almost 8 years, and we are very grateful for this experience. When I was first introduced to aikido by a friend, I knew that this fit well with my own personal beliefs. I wanted my son to gain the confidence and focus that martial arts can bring but did not want to be involved in a competitive aggressive environment. Aikido sounded perfect. I now have 2 sons in aikido, and I do the parent program twice a week. Our dojo is a place where we feel inspired, strong and also safe. Steve Sensei is an incredible instructor, who is always patient yet somehow still pushes the kids to achieve their best. BigRock Aikikai has far surpassed the expectations I had 8 years ago and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering martial arts training.
- Kim Litwin
I knew Aikido was for me since the day I started; it's been something I've been incredibly passionate about. It's helped me to learn and grow as a person in all aspects. Aikido has strengthened my mind, body, and spirit throughout the time I've been practicing. Classes are both physically and mentally challenging. I always feel great after class knowing I've worked hard and learned something new. The Instructor Training Program has given me the chance to work with children and share my knowledge with others. The buki, or weapons program has improved my speed, accuracy and memory. The Character Development Program, which becomes mandatory for higher belts, has reminded me to help others and has given me the chance to volunteer within my community. Steve Sensei was very supportive when my ankle kept me from coming to class. He allowed me to modify how I was practicing so I could participate. His support kept me coming to class during my recovery and I want to thank him for that. He is a great teacher who has had a very positive impact on me. I've met so many amazing people during the time I've been at BigRock Aikikai. Joining gave me another family I didn't know I had.
- Shaylyn, brown belt, 14, practicing for 4 years
As a parent, one of my greatest joys in life is watching my children take part in activities that they love. My wife and I tried a number of activities and extra-curricular sports for my son Erik, but there wasn't the passion in his eyes until we found the martial arts school, BigRock Aikikai. The quality of instruction, the camaraderie of the dojo, and the skill of both the sensei and his helpers is truly unique. I am not joking when I say that after EVERY class, Erik comes home and says, "Man, I love Aikido!" I'm so happy that we've found something he's so passionate about excelling at, and even more so that we found a place where that passion can be guided and grown. I would, without hesitation, recommend fully and highly BigRock Aikikai.
- Clarke Schroeder
I started practicing Aikido in August of 2002 when our dojo was located at the South Fishcreek Recreation centre. When I started, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had done some research into the various martial arts available in Calgary, and really seemed to connect most with the philosophy of Aikido. After my first class though, I was truly hooked. The dojo really is a family, and I was welcomed by everyone who participated in classes regardless of their experience or rank or skill-level in the art. As my work at that time often involved travel, I was able to participate in classes in the art all over North America, and found that wherever I went, there seemed to be an Aikido dojo nearby. As the years progressed, through diligent effort and lots of work on the part of the instructors, I was able to see real improvement in my abilities, to the point that I was asked to help teach children's classes.
I've now been practicing for just over 11 years, and find that Aikido has become a very big part of my life, both in the dojo and 'in the real world'. I want to thank Steve Sensei, and the other senior students for taking the time to work with me over the years - you've helped me to become a better person and I truly appreciate all that you've done for the community as a whole. This is a great club to practice with, and I heartily recommend it to anyone interesting in finding a safe, interesting and challenging place to work out both your mind and your body.
I began taking Aikido this year and have participated for some 5 months now. As an otherwise sedentary adult of 59 years of age, I have found Aikido to be gentle enough to allow me to fully participate, yet pushing me to improve stretching, and to focus on the basics. Sensei Steve has a excellent teaching style that encourages even these old bones to move in ways they haven't in years. I would encourage anyone to come and join us, no matter your age. It's never too late!
As a parent of three children who have participated in Aikido training with BigRock Aikikai since 2003, I can't express highly enough the positive impact that this program has had on our family. Sensei Steve Erickson has created a children's Aikido program that goes far beyond the realm of sport. While learning new skills, students are developing patience, focus, and gaining self esteem through leadership skills - even junior students assist others in learning new techniques. The Character Development Program (CDP), which Steve Sensei developed, positively encourages all participants to be involved in their home, school, and community, as well as at the dojo. Through personal initiatives, many of Steve Sensei's CDP students have made a difference, and have been honored in their communities for their contributions. I am equally impressed with the accessibility and inclusion for students with special needs within the BigRock Aikido children's programs.
Aikido has been a tremendous experience for my girls. I believe the physical and mental challenges it provides has been instrumental in building their self-confidence. The mentorship aspect of it has helped nurture their self-esteem and helped them to practice showing respect and patience for others. Even though they are often tired after a practice session, they canít wait to get to the next one.
- Loreli, Mother of Morgan, Kaley, and Gina, with BigRock Aikikai since 2004
I like Aikido, it's a good sport, it helps me with hockey, skiing and swimming. It makes me strong and more flexible and I have lots of fun doing the races and the games. I've got a very good sensei named Steve Sensei, he makes the class fair and fun.
- Mitchell, Purple Belt, 8, practicing for 4 years
I like the way Aikido strengthens my body. It is tiring, but we have fun doing our drills and laps. Some of the techniques are really fun to do too. I like the games we play at the end and being with all my Aikido friends. Being a part of the ITP program can be challenging, but it's never boring!
- Kaley, Purple Belt, 10, practicing for 6 years
Aikido is challenging, fun, and takes a lot of focus. I am learning how to defend myself, how to think more, and how to teach kids Aikido. My favorite things are the drills, games, and Jiyu Waza, making up my own moves. Steve Sensei helps me learn a lot, and although he can be quite serious, he's also lots of fun.
- Matthew, Purple Belt, 11, practicing for 6 years
After his swimming class ended one spring, my wife and I searched for some activity that would combine physical, mental and emotional aspects for my son TJ. After careful consideration we chose Aikido. I only wish that we would have enrolled him sooner! Being a self-defence course I was a little worried that it might be one of those kill-kill type of courses. We did a little research and found that this was not the case. My son loves the physical part of the exercises and he also likes the teachings of the different forms. He quickly became aware of the discipline required to advance his techniques, and above all, he is learning how to take care of himself. He is always eager to attend each class and I certainly don't need to prod him to get out of bed Saturday mornings. He knows that he has to respect the process of learning new techniques and not just getting to the next level. It is a goal of his to constantly improve so that he can get the next belt, but along the way he's having fun, getting exercise and learning discipline. A key factor for him was that he loves to jump around so much that we had previously enrolled him in a gymnastics class. This also helped him adapt to the exercise regime associated with Aikido. Having a good sensei is crucial and Steve Erickson has to be one of the best. We even transferred to the main dojo just so that TJ could be in his class. All in all, I just love watching him mature and Aikido certainly helps.
- Andrew, Father of TJ
Shaylyn trained in two other martial arts before starting Aikido. After watching her first class she could barely contain her excitement; she knew this was the martial art for her. We have all been impressed with the friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Steve Sensei is a wonderful, caring instructor who manages to help every student believe in themselves. We feel honored to have such an amazing person influencing our daughter in such a positive way.
- Deanne & Marlon, Parents of Shaylyn
My daughter Brinn (aged 8years) joined Aikido for the first time in January 2009. After having experimented with many other sports, it was immediately evident that Aikido was a great fit for her, evidenced by her huge enthusiasm to attend each class and her willingness to work hard. I believe the atmosphere of expected diligence, combined with acceptance and tolerance allowed her to grow and become stronger both physically and psychologically. My son Corben (aged 6 years) joined in the Summer 2009, after watching his big sister and loves all aspects of each class. Aikido provides him with the opportunity to gain physical strength while helping him to learn to concentrate and focus his attention. The classes are also filled with many fun aspects which helps to keep the children interested! Brinn is currently a red belt and Corben is an orange belt. We are looking forward to many more rewarding years with BigRock Aikikai.
- Mother of Brinn and Corben
Since he was five Maxim has attended Aikido Classes. He started with Dan Sensei at Aikido Tanren Juku dojo, and the last couple years continued with Steve Sensei at BigRock Aikikai. This non aggressive martial art has become part of Maxims life and himself. It taught him to focus and even be able to self-defend in some situations. Maxim has always enjoyed Aikido Classes (including Weapons training and helping with youngest children classes) and the friendly atmosphere in them. All Aikido instructors are very good in technique, with sense of humor. Each class begins with warm ups, followed by practical skills, and ends with active game. All students progress through the ranks. There is a lot to be gained from studying this beautiful art. And this is a great dojo at which to start. Thanks a lot to Steve and Dan Sensei and to all others sensei and instructors for their great job. If we were to choose a sport for Maxim again, it would definitely be Aikido.
- Tatiana & Michael, Parents of Maxim, 12 years old
Aikido has helped my kids gain focus, self confidence and strength both physically and mentally. BigRock is an outstanding program with a compassionate, caring instructor that is very attentive to each child's strengths and needs. Aikido is a purely defensive martial art that encourages and supports inner peace in a noncompetitive and cooperative environment.
- Kathryn, Mother of Taia
Aikido has been a wonderful experience for my two daughters who were 9 and 8 when they began. Both girls are not the athletic type, so attempting a martial art was very new to them. We met Steve Sensei at Cardel Place in a program that was an intro type for only 3 weeks. The girls fell in love with Aikido and the gentleness of Steve Sensei. They were among the first three students to attend the homeschooling class he had after that in Cardel Place. They received their yellow belts in February 2007 and now have their purple belts in 2010. This October 2010 they will have been doing Aikido for 4 years. We take the summer off each year but look forward to going back in the Fall. Aikido has helped them in their leadership skills and self confidence. They look forward to attending classes with Steve Sensei as he is a great teacher. As a parent, I also appreciate how he gets down to the childrenís level and talks to them, encouraging and helping them to master a move. Steve Sensei also takes an interest in all his students and further encourages them to do well in school and at home. He makes the classes fun and informative for all levels of belts. I would highly recommend him as an Aikido instructor for your child, for homeschooling or regular classes. Your child will learn new skills and have fun doing it.
- Mary Ann, Parents of Joanne and Karilynn
Steve Sensei has given Dakota his knowledge of respect, compassion, and integrity. He is a good role model in our community for our son.
- Pat, Mother of Dakota