This class focuses in Aikido, as it has been taught to me by my teachers, as it was taught to them by theirs.
Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that teaches coordination of mind and body to develop calmness in action and effective technique, regardless of size or strength.
Aikido came to prominence in the mid-20th century. The goal all Aikidoka (practitioners of Aikido) strive for is to put aside the human instinct to retaliate against an assailant. Naturally, when someone hits us, we react by hitting back. Our discipline is to put that reaction aside, because we seek to put an end to the perpetuation of the vicious cycle of harm. There is a saying, "Hurt people hurt people." No one that is well seeks to cause harm to another, and if we retaliate with more harm we not only create more injury in our assailant, but also in ourselves. Thus, our techniques focus on using our attacker's force and energy to manipulate their body in a way that will neutralize the attack without causing damage. This ideal, while not always achievable, is what we work toward in our practice. If this philosophy speaks to you, then this might be the class for you!
Training & Qualifications
I began my martial arts training in 2000, at seven years of age. I started in Aikido, which has remained my main focus, and I have since cross-trained in Taijiquan, Goju-ryu Karate, Judo, and Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu.
When I started teaching a class of middle schoolers, I called my first teacher and asked him for any words of advice or wisdom that he might share with me. He offered these two words, "Teach love." He didn't elaborate, and wished me luck. My interpretation has a couple of different parts:
1) Share my love for what I do, because if I don't love it, why should they want to learn from me, and how can they love it?
2) The martial arts is not about causing harm; they are about self-mastery. Practitioners of the highest level in any martial art should be able to defend themselves from attacks without harming their assailants because not only are they skilled enough to defend themselves effectively, but also aware enough to control their impulse to retaliate. As stated above, only hurt people hurt people. No one in a good place emotionally is going to attack someone else, so why would we want to cause more harm? If we are aiming to create the harmony that this world desperately needs, we have to start with our own reactions to perceived threats. We need to respond with love.
Availability & Preferences
Weekday afternoons and evenings are best, but I am flexible. I teach out of an Aikido dojo in Berkeley.