Taking ukemi is a matter of experience, but not in the way that you think. One of the most common questions asked by new students: "how do I take ukemi from this technique?". Ever since I was young, ukemi was the primary focus of my training. At 4 years old, my coordination was still developing, but my body could definitely take a beating. This meant that much of my early training was spent getting thrown around, learning the fundamentals of falling safely (one of the core co
From Sensei's Desk: We have so much to be thankful for and it has only be a few months! Everyone's commitment and hard training is showing each day on the mat. Progress is being made and you should all be proud. Our (not so) little dojo continues to grow quickly with classes filling up (especially Tuesdays and Thursdays). Sensei Oscar continues to relay how impressed he is with the focus of everyone in attendance. As we head into Spring with Summer close behind, let us renew
I've been blessed with a wife who quickly fell in love with Aikido. I had recently finished by 2 years living in the dojo under Stickles Sensei when we met. It was clear to me that anyone I spent my life with would have to share my passion for martial arts and Aikido specifically. My greatest fear was that she would simply say that she enjoyed it, but either hate it or be ambivalent to it. And so we went together for one of her first classes at my old alma mater. She of cours
Wherever our lineage goes back to, serious and disciplined training are our common ancestor. About once a month or so, our dojo hosts a "Community Day". An opportunity for martial artists to train with Dojo Cho (chief instructors/sensei) from neighboring dojos. The experience has been growing, with more and more attending each time and the feedback has always been positive. "A great seminar!" "Sensei Dale was fantastic!" "Sensei Ed teaches an assertive and powerful technique"
It is the job of Sempai to guide and help kohai. It is the job of Kohai to always listen and do as Sempai says and does. Every dojo is different, especially when you take into account all the different styles of training, let alone the different teachers and the communities they have built. The first Sempai/Kohai relationship however, is always the same: that of a sensei and their first student. It is easy, as instructors/sensei/etc... to place ourselves on a "pedestal", whet
What does it mean to be a life long martial artist? Often times I am asked, "how long until I have my black belt", "how long until I can be effective on the street", etc... These are all worthy goals; one should not diminish the achievement that they represent. However, we sometimes focus so much on the goal that we forget why we get on the mat day after day for so many years. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. Why does it sometimes take longer to get your black belt than a graduat
PRE-REGISTRATION IS LIVE! GRAND RE-OPENING SEMINAR From Sensei's Desk: Join us this September for a very special seminar with Shihans Peter and Penny Bernath. Pre-Registration is now open and will be available for a limited time only. T-Shirts to commemorate the event will also be available with details coming soon. Advantages of Pre-Registration: Space. Space is limited and students have already pre-registered. Pre-registration guarantees you a spot on the mat Price. The tot
BRING A FRIEND get 1 month FREE From Sensei's Desk: Thank you all for what has begun as an amazing year for our dojo here in Clearwater, Florida. We are blessed to have so many dedicated and hard working students. I'm often asked how we can help grow the dojo to help others get all the amazing benefits from being on the mat and learning the Aikido "way of life". Here's the "easy as 1-2-3" checklist: 1. Forward this email to your friends, family, and co-workers in the area. 2.
Cardio. Weights. HIIT/Tabata. Yoga. Pad Striking. Kihon. Musubi. Kumitachi. Shiai. Machines. Gadgets/Gizmos. This is a topic we generally avoid because we don't want to offend those who are not "in shape" but hold high degrees of rank. We all know these people and they exist in every martial art. At some level, we resign ourselves to "nature's course" assuming that because our chosen martial art doesn't give us the conditioning results we hoped for, we are doomed to feel, loo
Mindset. Grabbing. Punching. Distance. Kicking. Screaming. Biting. Comfort. Discomfort. Scratching. Sweeping. Locking. Pinning. Breaking. Popping. Tearing. Gauging. Lacerating. There are so many words used to describe the concept of Self Defense. Over the years I've trained many styles, from Muay Thai, Judo, American Combat Karate, Krav Maga, to Hwa Rang Do. If you listen to the great teachers in these disciplines, specifically those who have had to employ their training in r
In all martial arts there is rank and progressing through this rank can be confusing and frustrating. Here I attempt to make sense of the purpose of the 6th kyu examination and what it means to those starting (or restarting) their Aikido journey. In Aikido we have no competition, just hard training of the body, mind, and spirit, in order to better attain the "Budo Spirit". In the old days, there were no ranks, only certificates, handed down from family to family, while most r