Chief Instructor 7th Dan Shihan
Since 1975 George Hewson has dedicated himself to studying and later teaching the “martial way” of Ueshiba Morihei, known as “O-Sensei”, the founder of Aikido. O-Sensei’s vision of creating awareness and empathy while defending oneself and others still resonates with George today.
For George Aikido practice begins with the physical and martial aspects, and then moves to the spiritual dimension. Aikido should be manifested in daily life in a manner that is powerful but controlled.
George began Aikido at the JCCC Aikido Club under Sensei Osamu Obata and Sensei Kenji Ochi in 1975. He received his shodan (first degree black belt) in 1980 while training in Japan at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo with various instructors and the Meiji Jingu Shiseikan with Shihan Shigeho Tanaka.
Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada recommended George for godan (5th degree black belt) in 1998. The late Shihan Yukio Kawahara recommended him for rokudan (6th degree black belt) in 2006.
Shihan Yukio Kawahara, former Technical Director of the Canadian Aikido Federation, appointed George as a Shidoin (official national instructor) in 2009. He has been invited to teach all across Canada.
In 2015 Shihan Hayato Osawa recommended Sensei Hewson for the title of CAF “Shihan”, which was granted by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba of Hombu Dojo in Japan in 2016. The recognition letter reads in part “…the title of Shihan …shows your qualification as Aikido instructor of the highest rank.”
In 2021 Shihan Hewson was promoted to the rank of shichidan (7th degree black belt).
George has served for over forty years on the boards of the Ontario and Canadian Aikido Federations. He is a former president of the CAF and is currently a member of the CAF Examination Committee.
Since Shihan Kawahara’s death in 2011, George has been the CAF’s “Sekininsha”, i.e., “Liaison” with the Aikikai headquarters in Tokyo.
Every year George has continued to attend many training sessions under various master instructors such as Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada and Shihan Hayato Osawa in order to refine his skills and just for the sheer joy of the practice.
George was a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and has done a great deal of research into Aikido pedagogy. He has developed an effective teaching method based on a blend of traditional and modern approaches. As always, basics need to be reviewed every class before new challenges are presented to the more experienced students. His qualifications from Red Cross first aid/CPR courses and the Canadian National Coaching Certification program have made him very aware of safety issues and how to prevent injuries.
As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, George was involved in the successful operation of the Centre as a whole. Part of his on-going volunteer efforts was to give lectures on various aspects of Japanese and Japanese Canadian culture. Through his work on the Sedai Committee he contributed to preserving and disseminating the history of the Japanese Canadian community as a human rights issue of importance to all Canadians. He also led the committee that created a museum at the JCCC.
A teacher of World Cultures at the Royal Ontario Museum (now retired) George taught about ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. He remains particularly interested in East Asian culture topics such as the influence of Chinese philosophy on the Japanese samurai. He is fluent in French and can converse in Spanish, Italian and Japanese.