Monday, March 9, 2009

Aikido Decatur Seeks Contacts With Area Schools

Aikido Decatur is interested in offering martial arts classes for children 4 and up through Decatur-area schools, after-care programs, and other suitable venues.

Aikido is a purely defensive, non-violent martial art which uses the attacker's energy to pin or throw them. It has been called "the Art of Peace," for it teaches self-defense techniques designed to protect the attacker from harm. As much as it is a physical practice, it is also a study in conflict resolution, relationship, and listening.

The physical benefits for children who study aikido include improved body control, energy, strength, flexibility, and overall fitness. As a relationship practice, children learn to observe and listen to those around them with keen attention, to cooperate with and even contribute to others' movements and intentions, and to express themselves more confidently and clearly. And as a martial art, they learn how to defend themselves when attacked, how to effectively control an aggressor without causing injury, and how to defend against multiple attackers.

The principles and techniques of aikido make it accessible for persons with all degrees of initial fitness, strength, and experience. By emphasizing moving harmoniously with others instead of trying to overpower them, aikido is as effective and suitable for girls as it is for boys.

In a school or rec department course of anywhere from 1 to 12 classes or more, students can receive an introduction to the practice of aikido, learn basic techniques, and begin to learn how to move their own body and adjust their own attitudes when attacked. They will be introduced to several basic but effective techniques, will begin strength and flexibility training, and will learn how to train safely at all times so as to never cause injury to any training partner for any reason.

In its regular schedule, Aikido Decatur offers classes to children 8 to 12 and to youth and adults 13 and over at its dojo on the square in downtown Decatur. Joel Riggs (2nd dan), the chief instructor at Aikido Decatur, began training in San Francisco in 1993 with Robert Nadeau (7th dan), a student of the founder of aikido Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei (1883-1969). Joel Sensei moved to Decatur with his wife and son in late 2008. More info available at

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