Traditional Aikido is non-competitive and promotions do not come through besting an opponent, but through demonstrating understanding of basic exercises and techniques, which become more demanding or difficult as rank increases. In Aikido we strive to work in cooperation with a partner, still employing effective technique against an energetic and realistic attack, yet doing so by blending with the attack and redirecting its energy back to the attacker. We practice techniques against a variety of attacks such as kicks, punches, strikes, single-hand or two-hand grabs from the front or rear, chokes, multiple person attacks, and attacks with weapons. In all of these we strive to resolve the conflict in a non-lethal, non-disruptive, yet effective manner. Techniques may end in joint locks or immobilizations, or in dynamic motions where the attacker is thrown forwards or backwards across the mat, or through the air into a spectacular breakfall. Rather than primarily linear motions, Aikido is comprised of blending, turning, pivoting, circling, and spiraling. We are learning to deal not only with our own energy, but with that of an attacker or another person (or people) as well. Aikido embodies concepts which are at the same time very simple, yet very complex. Because of these and other differences, Aikido can be very challenging to learn, yet at the same time can be very rewarding because it is ultimately bringing us into harmony with ourselves and with our world, and helping us to become more complete and integrated human beings.
Aikido is a very effective martial art for self defense, not only because it teaches us how to defend against a variety of attacks, but because it is also training our state of mind and physical condition. Improved posture and breathing help us to fit better into our bodies; a positive state of mind affects how we move in the world and how we are perceived by others. The ability to maintain physical center and mental calm helps us in meeting stressful situations or in resolving conflict in a variety of situations - in the dojo, on the street, at school, in a business meeting, or at home. Most martial arts can help us improve physical things like balance, timing, and reaction. One of the purposes of repeated training is to move these things from conscious processing to automatic reflex. Aikido also helps us develop our spirit, sense of well-being, awareness and compassion. The multi-faceted approach to Aikido training makes us stronger and more complete human beings, better able to diffuse or defend against negative situations.
Fumio Toyoda Shihan was uchideshi under the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and trained also under Koichi Tohei Sensei, the former Chief Instructor at Hombu Dojo. As a professional instructor at Aikido World Headquarters, Toyoda Shihan had the opportunity to train and travel across Japan, eventually establishing himself in the United States. Committed to spreading the direct lineage of Ueshiba Aikido, Toyoda Shihan is actively engaged in developing the next generation of shihan-level instructors through his uchideshi training program, national instructor seminars, and other events. Quality, professional Aikido instruction is the key to the future survival and growth of Aikido; this effort has become the hallmark of Toyoda Shihan's organizational activities. Stephen Toyoda continues his father's tradition of excellence in the art of Aikido at the Japanese Culture Center.
The 6-Week Introductory Course is designed to give new students an solid foundation for Ongoing Training. Defensive movement, falling skills, and strikes will be taught, and students will learn basic throws and pins in actual practice against attacks. No experience is required, and all are welcome.
Aikido provides unique benefits for children. In addition to self-defense skills and increased awareness, children gain a sense of discipline, cooperation and self respect. With an emphasis on constructive, engaging instruction, children will learn the techniques at a pace they will appreciate and enjoy. Both Ongoing and Six-week Introductory courses are offered.
The Ongoing Program is offered for students interested in making a commitment to the disciplined training introduced in the 6-Week Introductory Course. Through this program students are encouraged to progress through intensive effort to a mastery of the art. The Japanese Culture Center offers classes seven days a week at a variety of levels and is designed to allow students at any rank to train every day if they so desire. Monthly dues are charged for unlimited attendance ($100 per month or $140 per month Aikido and JKA Karate).