Due to the ongoing pandemic, regular training is temporarily suspended.  We plan to resume when appropriate sometime after restrictions have eased.


The dojo space on Harris Street is closed due to the pandemic. We’re currently looking for a new space that would work after restrictions are lifted.


Come on by and try it out! You’re most welcome to train with us a few times to see how you like it before you join. Of course observers are always welcome, as are visitors from other dojos.


We’re happy to answer your questions!



About aikido

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art. Developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), it has origins in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, a system of empty-handed combat taught to the samurai of ancient Japan, as well as traditional sword and spear fighting arts.

Aikido's hallmark is the concept of "ai ki" or "harmony with energy". Ai ki is the principle of blending with an attacker's movements in order to control them. Instead of blocks, punches or kicks, aikido techniques use entering and turning movements that redirect the momentum of an attack and unbalance the attacker. They typically end with a joint lock or throw. Aikido uses the same movements to respond to all types of striking, grabbing or armed attacks, from one or multiple attackers.

Aikido students develop a keen sense of balance, relative body position, and greater awareness of the moment. They develop flexibility, agility, endurance, and a sense of calm in the face of danger.


About our dojo

Aikido of Charlottesville practices Iwama style aikido, which is the aikido taught in the Iwama dojo, Ibaraki, Japan, by the founder after he settled there in 1942, and by one of his closest students Morihiro Saito (1928-2002).

Iwama style is distinguished by its emphasis on practicing correct basic movement in addition to flowing movement, close attention to posture or "hanmi", and by its extensive sword and staff curriculum. Training with sword and staff enhances one's understanding of proper timing and distance.

We are a friendly and welcoming group and strive to provide a nurturing environment, with small class sizes and plenty of individual attention. We are affiliated with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Japan through the California Aikido Association.


Join us

Beginners and visitors from other dojos are always welcome!

If you're just starting out, the first thing you'll learn is how to fall and throw carefully and safely. In aikido, students of all levels train together, changing practice partners with each exercise. An exercise is always practiced at a level appropriate for both training partners. In the beginning, you'll move slowly and carefully to learn proper form; as you advance, you'll learn to practice with more energy and realism, as appropriate and safe for you and your training partner. Aikido can be practiced by men and women of many different ages and levels of physical ability.

The best way to get started is to come observe a class and chat with the sensei and students. You're also welcome to train with us a few times and try it out before joining. If you don't have a gi (practice uniform) just wear loose long pants (like sweat pants) and a t-shirt.

Chief instructor

Our chief instructor, or dojo cho, is Dan Monges. Dan sensei began training in aikido in 1991 at Greensboro Kodokan Aikido under John Grinnell sensei. In 1993 he moved to Rockford IL and studied with Bill VonGlockner sensei at Rockford Aikikai. After moving to Virginia in 2000, Dan began training in Iwama style under Elizabeth Pennel Sensei, John Nguyen sensei, and finally Scott Lim sensei. After Scott sensei's departure, Dan took on the mantle of dojo cho here at Aikido of Charlottesville. He received his shodan, or first degree black belt, from Hombu Dojo in 2011, testing under Pat Hendricks sensei, 7th dan.


What does aikido look like? Here are four minutes of aikido demonstrated by several masters. In the third clip, each technique is demonstrated three times: basic movement, soft flowing movement, flowing with energy. The last clip shows a few sword and staff exercises.