Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba in 1942 and is often called "The Art of Peace". The techniques are mainly derived from Jujitsu and Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on blending with the opponents energy and redirecting it in a new direction.
People study Aikido for many reasons including as a form of exercise, self-defense, greater confidence, or even spiritual enlightenment.
Try it for yourself, and see what you get out of it.
Gail has been training in Aikido for almost 10 years and earned her 1st Degree Black Belt in Seidokan Aikido in January of 2015. She trained under Richard Harnack Sensei in St. Louis, MO at the Aikido Institute of Mid-America. She has been assistant teaching since blue belt, and teaching classes on her own for over two years. She enjoys going to Aikido Camps and Seminars to learn new things and meet others who enjoy Aikido as much as she does. Gail has also studied Taekwondo, Karate, Escrima, Tai Chi, and Kendo.
Anyone can do Aikido! You don't have to be the biggest or the strongest (but you can still do Aikido if you are.) The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, was only 5' 1" tall and the founder of Seidokan, Roderick Kobayashi, was only 5' tall. While Aikido can be quite physical (grabs, throws, falls, and rolls) you will learn how to fall safely and can practice Aikido from late childhood well into your advanced years. I know many people who have "retired" into Aikido from other martial arts. The main reason for this is that kicks, blocks, and punches became physically harder for them to do, and none of those are done in Aikido.
Aikido is co-operative, not competitive. There are no Aikido competitions, instead you work together with various partners to better understand yourself and your techniques.
Aikido is fun! The founder of Aikido asked his students to "always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner," so Aikido classes always have students who are smiling and laughing.
A: The YMCA does not offer free trial classes, but you are welcome to come watch a class and talk to the instructor and students before signing up.
A: Comfortable clothing that is easy to move in is fine to start with. If you would like to continue taking classes after your first month, a white single weave Judo Gi is recommended. (Links to suppliers available in the Student Resources Section.) If you already have a Judo, Jiu Jitsu, or Karate Gi you can wear that; but please wear a white belt.
A: Absolutely! Everything is broken down in to easy to follow steps, and everyone in class is there to train together and help each other. Don't worry about making mistakes. Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido) said, "Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something."
The Founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei, sought to change the fundamental basis of Budo. In his early training, particularly in Daito Ryu Jujitsu, much of what he studied was overtly aggressive and destructive. O’Sensei decided that he wanted his art to be reflective of the “Great Spirit Aiki”, the spirit of compassion and cooperation. The result is an art that emphasizes blending with and responding to your partner. An art that achieves a sense of unity with your partner.Read More
Seidokan Aikido was founded by Roderick T. Kobayashi Sensei (6th Dan Aikido) in March of 1981. Seidokan Aikido emphasizes the balanced practice of principles and techniques. Today, Seidokan is an international organization with its headquarters based in Los Angeles, California. There are Seidokan dojos throughout the United States, as well as in Israel and Japan.Read More
Richard Harnack has been training in Aikido since 1976. A black belt since 1978, Harnack, Sensei, is a Rokudan (6th degree black belt). He trained for 19 years under the Founder of Seidokan Aikido, the late Roderick Kobayashi, Sensei.
Harnack, Sensei, is one of the Founding Instructors of Seidokan Aikido, and is the founder of the Aikido Institute of Mid-America. He presently serves as one of the Shihan for Seidokan Aikido.Read More