Wednesday, May 27, 2009


After I taught aikido to K-3rd graders for five weeks at Winnona Park Elementary School in Decatur, GA, the teacher had this to say:

"Joel did an incredible job engaging my students with special needs during his four-week introduction to the art of Aikido. Students learned how to work together in a fun and memorable way. They are still talking about the shadow game and greeting each other with a bow. Students from all walks of life could benefit from this instruction."—Amy Fraser, MEd. Special Education

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Aikido for Winnona Park students

During April and May, Ms. Fraser's ESS students are enjoying weekly visits from Joel Riggs, the head instructor from Aikido Decatur. Riggs Sensei has taught the small class of six to eight students movement and games, including the Mirror Game, the Shadow Game, Earth/Air/Fire/Water, and Bad Restaurant. Students learn to respond peacefully when someone crowds them or shoves them or grabs them. They have learned that when the pressure is on, it's time to relax, breathe, and respond effectively without hurting your attacker.

"Ms. Fraser's charges brings lots of energy and enthusiasm to their training, and they seem to like the games and the movements we do together. At the end of the first class, they took the time to draw a picture or write a poem to express their thanks. These were great gifts they gave to me!" Riggs said.

Aikido is a non-competitve, non-violent martial art that uses an attacker's energy to render the attack harmless. Aikido Decatur offers classes for ages 5-7, 8-12, and 13 to adult (, or (678) 662-9237). Joel Riggs, a 2nd degree black belt, began training in 1993 in San Francisco, and he moved to Decatur in Fall 2008 with his wife and young son.

Ms. Fraser's class includes Kyle Braunsroth, Arkeyvion Coles, Ronan Derro, Shamya Kelly, Ross Pousner, Lena Rosen, and Tamia Swint.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Aikido at Winnona Park Elementary School, Decatur, GA

I am currently offering a four-week series of aikido classes to students in K through 3rd grade at Winnona Park Elementary School here in Decatur. I thought you would enjoy a couple photos of me with the kids. They love the exercises we practice and the games that we play, games that come from aikido movements.

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