During his youth, Jerome was very introverted and shy, having to deal with anxiety in public settings, dealing with low-self-esteem, and lacking confidence. As a result, Jerome would suffer physically and emotionally. After consulting with a doctor, his parents were advised to seek a sport that would allow him to express himself, come out of his shell, and reduce his stress. He began his training in Aikido in 1989 under Sensei Jean-Michel Merit who himself was training with Sensei Christian Tissier. He was part of a small dojo in the small city of Saujon in France. Learning the art of peace – path to harmony ( various ways to translate Aikido, Ai meaning harmony; Ki, spirit or energy; and Do, the path or the way) was certainly the solution. Jerome became more open, more confident, became part of his student council, conducted public speeches, and overall grew stronger and more self-respect. All thanks to Aikido and his wonderful sensei.
During that time, Jerome was not always able to afford to pay for training. He was given the opportunity to assist in the teaching of the kids class as an alternative mode of payment. By then his sensei was teaching him some of the Samurai code also known as code of Bushido, learning about benevolence and rectitude.
At this time, Jerome was exposed to what he would later understand his role and duties around the dojo to be those of a uchi deshi. He was then requested to attend every single class, kids and adults, serve as a uke, clean the dojo and complete other assignments.
As such, Jerome was able to attend many summer camps, meet wonderful students from all over the World, experience some of the life of a martial artist as a Western teenager.
Many years later in 2013, Jerome decided to return to training and to have his two young sons exposed to the same wonderful sense of harmony. Also, teach them how to deal with life events in a school environment such as potential bullying and aggressive situations; To learn how to handle and diffuse situations, to control without harming but rather redirecting aggressive behaviors. As O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba stated: “To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.” Sensei David O’Donnell welcomed him with open arms, along with many past and current instructors at Shoshinkan.
Sensei Dave not only teaches Jerome’s children the code of Bushido but also the Kumite principles, Karate and Judo.
Aside from a true budo spirit and skilled training in Aikido, Shoshinkan provides a kind community of martial artists, an inclusion, and a very humble and encouraging training and learning environment.
Located at 4450 N. Tenaya Way Ste 260, Las Vegas, Nevada 89129