Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dojo Mats Have Been Ordered

I have just ordered four 7'x14' blue folding 2" mats from Norberts, the same mats we used back at my dojo in California, just bigger. They should be arriving before Christmas.

We'll be rolling soft and cushy when our classes start!

The New Aikido Decatur Space

Aikido Decatur opens January 6, 2009, at the Several Dancers Core studios in downtown Decatur, GA. The dojo is at 139 Sycamore St., which is actually the sidewalk between Church St. and McDonough St., on the south side of the Decatur Town Square.

Great exposure onto the Decatur Town Square.

Wonderful long expanses of hardwood floor make for an excellent mat space.

My father and my son explore the new dojo.

Aikido Decatur Secures Space on Decatur Town Square

Aikido Decatur, a new aikido dojo in Decatur, GA, has sub-leased space in downtown Decatur, at the dance studio of local dance company Several Dancers Core.  Located at 139 Sycamore Street, the new dojo space sits directly on the Decatur Town Square, a hub for commuters, town residents, and frequent community events.  Classes at the new space will begin January 6, 2009.  Sign ups are now available at the dojo's website.

Aikido is known as the 'gentle martial art', since it emphasizes controlling one's attacker without harming them.  Founded in the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei of Japan, aikido evolved from the more destructive martial arts that had dominated the samurai era of Japanese history.

Aikido Decatur offers classes for children ages 8 and over, and for teens and adults ages 13 and over.  It was formed in January 2009 by Joel Riggs, 2nd degree black belt, who recently moved to Decatur from the San Francisco Bay Area.  More information can be found at

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aikido Decatur to Offer Classes for Children and Adults

Aikido Decatur, a new dojo near Atlanta, will hold its first classes on January 6, 2009. Led by Joel Riggs, 2nd dan, Aikido Decatur offers martial arts classes for children and adults, two days a week, at the Several Dancers CORE studio on the square in downtown Decatur, GA.

"Aikido is a marvelous art that includes physical training, a positive philosophy, discipline and fun simultaneously, and that builds community.  It has been called the 'gentle martial art' for the pressures of every day life."--Joel Riggs, chief instructor.

Ai-ki-do (literally "Blending - Energy - Way") is a relatively new Japanese martial art that emphasizes neutralizing and rendering harmless an attacker, without injuring them in any way. Founded by Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei (great teacher), aikido grew out of the founder's deep experience in other martial arts and Japanese religious traditions. Born in 1883, just 15 years after the end of the samurai era, O Sensei redirected the focus of martial arts from maiming and killing to avoiding danger and protecting one's attacker. He taught that one who attacks another has inherently broken the natural harmony of the universe, while the one being attacked can, with proper attitude and movement, control the attacker and in so doing restore harmony.

An aikidoist learns to always be ready to align with and move with an attacker's incoming energy. By blending with the attack, one can avoid getting hit and then can immediately control the attacker's body, either pinning or throwing them.

For children, aikido practice builds self-awareness and self-control, trains and strengthens the body, and teaches how to defuse conflicts and prevent fights. For adults, aikido training keeps the body strong and flexible, allows for more robust energy movement through the body, and focuses on undoing the learned separation between the body and mind. As a practice of relationship, aikido training often has many positive effects in all areas of life, including marriage, business, and community.

At Aikido Decatur, classes are both technically sound and rooted in the art's philosophy as passed on by the founder's students. Beginners and visitors are always welcome, and all aikidoists of any background are sincerely invited to visit and participate. Parents can train with their children in the children's classes.

Joel Riggs, b. 1964, began aikido training in 1993 with Robert Nadeau Shihan (7th dan), head of City Aikido in San Francisco, co-founder and division head of the California Aikido Association, and a student of O Sensei in the early 1960s. Other primary instructors at City Aikido included Nick Scoggin (6th dan) and Richard Moon (5th dan). Joel has also trained with several other students of O Sensei, including Mitsugi Saotome, Yoshimitsu Yamada, Frank Doran, Henry Kono, Mary Heiny, and Gaku Homma. Most recently he was an assistant instructor and director of the children's program at Aikido of Marin in Fairfax, CA.

With his wife and son, Joel moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Decatur, GA, in 2008.

Children 8 to 12 (including parents), Tuesday and Friday, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Ages 13 and over (including adults), Tuesday and Friday, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

  • Annual membership fee: $25
  • Uniform: $35 for children, $45 for adults
  • Monthly dues:
    • $60 for one class/week (specify Tuesday or Friday)
    • $90 for two classes/week

Additional members in the same family: $10/month discount
With 3-month sign-up, annual membership fee is waived and uniform is included.

at Several Dancers CORE studios
139 Sycamore St., Decatur, GA 30030
(678) 662-9237

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