What a student can expect to learn at
AIKIDO HEIWA.

AIKIDO is a defensive martial art that can be practiced by anyone, at any age. One does not need to be able to do high spinning back kicks or anything "supernatural" that is seen so commonly in the movies or on tv. Aikido uses the energy and commitment of an attacker against the attacker. We rarely block or fight an attack. Most of the time we move directly IN and "Fill the Space" to make our partner give up his or her first attack, or we turn and connect with the energy of an attack then redirect the attacker to the ground or into a submission hold. Therefore an Aikido practitioner does NOT need to be bigger or stronger than an attacker, only confident enough to take control and perform technique. With practice, even the smallest person may throw the biggest assailant. We also teach principles of the striking arts such as Karate and Wushu, but ONLY to learn how to defend against such force. We NEVER endorse a "Strike First" self-defense mentality. We teach diplomacy, awareness, and avoidance as the primary means of self-defense. The motto of Aikido might be
"The techniques are the
last line of defense for the competent practioner."
In addition to learning a wide variety of physical techniques to neutralize an attack, students will learn how to protect themselves in ways one might not immediately think of. For example, ask a person how many times they have been attacked and most likely the number will be very small. Ask the same person how many times in their lifetime that they have fallen down and the number jumps. So we train in the art of Ukemi Waza. That can be defined as the ability to take falls and rolls safely to protect the body. Although easy to do with training, jumping down to the ground is not something most people are comfortable with in their first few classes. That is why we tailor the start of a new student's career in Aikido to their comfort level. It takes away some of the 'pressure-to-perform' anxiety and awkwardness of a new physical activity so that the student can focus on the lessons at his or her liesure.
A student demonstrates that with a little practice Ukemi can even be safely done without mats.
In addition to learning to roll and take 'static' falls safely, new students will also learn the basics of proper attack. Why know how to attack? So that we can all learn to better understand the properties of different attacks and then defend against them effectively. Students will learn Atemi, or the striking of "Vital Points". Basic punches, chops, blocks, grips, parries, and kicks will be part of the curriculum as time passes. By being an effective attacker, in the dojo, one helps the other students to be better prepared for real self-defense in a conflict. Having learned how to take Ukemi, the defending student ( called Nage ) can safely apply a balance breaking technique or throw and the "attacker", ( or Uke ) can protect him or herself by rolling instead of crashing to the ground. This way the Uke can get back up safely for more training. Good ukemi is the key to helping other students and ourselves to become good Aikido practitioners. "A good Uke is surely a good Nage, and a good Nage is always a good Uke."
The above pictures show a basic forward roll. This is one of the most important and most common ukemi techniques.
The basic curriculum at Aikido Heiwa is broken down into numerous "Kihon Waza" or basics / foundation techniques. These are not necessarily self-defense techniques in themselves, but the principles on which "Applications" are built. Applications are realistic defenses against focussed attacks, utilizing the principles or mechanics of one or more of the Kihon Waza techniques.
( In above photo Mr. Holloway demonstrates a pinning technique called "Ikkyo".)
There seems to be a limitless supply of Applications. Students get taught basic techniques one at a time, at a rate that depends on learning ability, physical agility, attitude, attendance and many other factors. This means that each student can work at his or her own pace. As skills progress, a student frequently gets to test his or her defense techniques on a variety of attacks with his or her fellow students. This helps to polish the skills so that with regular training, reaction to attack becomes second nature. With regular martial arts training, one can be calm in stressful situations in all walks of life, whether it be work, or freeway "war zone" traffic, or in real a real crisis.
It is ukemi skill that allows this student to safely take the fall from this throw. By knowing how to fall correctly, one's partner can improve their techniques.
Learning to be a good partner (Uke) will be a much more important skill for a new student to chase after, then becoming a good Nage. (person who performs the techniques and throws.)
Students will also learn HOW to learn. Aikido classes are unlike any other learning environment, and the Japanese methods of teaching, often utilized in class, will teach great observation skills. These skills will enhance everyday life and work outside of the dojo as well.
Students listen carefully to George Ledyard - Sensei as he conducts a seminar at Heiwa.
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Last updated: 12/3/09
URL: http://www.AikidoHeiwa.com
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