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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