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.
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.