Aoinagi at UPenn
Aoinagi at the University of Pennsylvania has been established for over 5 years. Sensei Dana and Sensei Fabrice Veron started the Penn Aoinagi in September 2002. The First Class originally took place at the Hutchinson Gym, while awaiting the completion of the constriction of the Pottruck center. Sensei Dana and Sensei Fabrice have created an open, positive and friendly environment that enable the students not only to become proficient in martial art but also grow as a person. Here at Penn the class begins and ends with the instructors and the students coming together by forming a line and bowing to each other signifying respect for each other. A typical class consists of warm-up, Kihon, Kata, and Kumite. Warm-up usually lasts for 10 – 15 minutes and is done to condition the body for training. Kihon (basic) are practiced immediately after warm-up and they involve various blocking, punching, kicking, and other striking techniques. Kata (form) embodies the spirit of karate, and each kata consist of a combination of Kihon and stances. Each kata also represent a spefic theme such as peace, respect for father, awareness, ect. There is even a kata called Aoinagi for which our school is named after, which has specific movements that signify the “Green Willow Tree” and its ability to survive and endure. Kumite (sparing) is often done towards the end of class and the students’ pair up with each other to work on timing and learn self-defense techniques that teach how to disable and opponent quickly and effectively.
The Penn Aoinagi is part of a larger organization where the main dojo is based at the UCSD, San Diego, California, USA. Sensei Neville Billimoria, a sixth degree black belt, runs the UCSD Aoinagi dojo and the Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai organization. Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai karate is not just another martial arts school that one might just go to the gym and workout for a couple of hours before going home. Aoinagi promotes a sense of unity, and gives a sense of being part of a community and in fact many members consider Aoinagi as an extended family. Aoinagi Karate places emphasis on mutual respect for each other and the dojo. Dispite the distance, there are a few opportunities throughout the year where we meet many of the Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai members. The Penn Aoinagi hosts a yearly banquet in Philadelphia, whereby Sensei Neville Billimoria will teach the students for two days and the banquet is held to give the students a chance to be better acquainted with sensei Neville and each other. In the past sensei Neville has been joined by some of his students. The UCSD Dojo also hosts an annual mini camp where our students have a chance to see Aoinagi in San Diego.
Instructors: Sensei Dana and Sensei Fabrice Veron
Sensei Dana began her training in Aoinagi karate in 1997 under Sensei Neville Billimoria at UCSD. She received her Menkyo Sensei Certificate in November 2007, and currently holds a second degree black belt (Nidan). Although she is a well rounded martial art practitioner she specializes in conflict negotiation techniques and women self defence. Dana is a faculty in Physical Ocean Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware.
Sensei Fabrice started training over 13 years ago. He received his Menkyo Sensei Certificate in November 2007, and is a third degree black belt (Sandan). He has been training in Aoinagi Karate under Sensei Neville Billimoria at UCSD since 1995. Fabrice is a professor of oceanography at the University of Delaware.
Sensei Dana and Sensei Fabrice live in Newark Delaware with their five year old daughter Camille and two year old son Noah.