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Samantha Taitel Guest Teaches Friday 6/23 – Updated

Friday basic/all belts aikido class – June 23rd – Samantha Taitel was our guest instructor and focused on suwari waza, jiyu waza, and randori. Exhausting but so much fun! Come back soon Samantha!

Look at that front row: Nidan, Rokudan, Godan, Sandan…just a casual Friday 6:30 basics class!


Guest instructor Samantha Taitel, Nidan, on Friday – 6:30pm at Bushwick Dojo!

Aikido, The Art of Falling, by Claire Keller Sensei

I like to think of aikido as a kind of recycling art. There are techniques that could result in serious injury, or were perhaps originally designed to result in injury or death, but one of the genius innovations of O’Sensei was to devise ukemi, the art of taking the technique into your body. We practice with partners and alternate throwing and falling. Through ukemi we are able to absorb the techniques of aikido without getting hurt and live to fall again.

The idea of ukemi is to learn to absorb the energy of the throw in a safe way, either by falling forward or backward.

Ukemi is perhaps the most practical aspect of aikido training, because once it becomes second nature, the hope is you will fall without hurting yourself regardless of your surroundings. So if you slip on the ice, trip over a rock, lose your footing in any way, having learned how to fall will give you a better chance of emerging unscathed. There are also the health benefits of falling and getting up. The effort of controlling your entire body is great for bone density and good anaerobic exercise, along with building core muscles from the inside out. These bursts of effort have been shown in recent studies to be quite beneficial to overall health.

Apart from the practical benefits of learning to fall, deeper issues for many adults can emerge during the process. By the time most of us take up aikido, we may not have hit the floor in any consistent way for many years—if ever. It can be a huge challenge to begin thinking of the floor as your friend and trusting your own body. Learning to fall brings an awareness of our bodies moving through space. It’s essential that all of us practice ukemi by ourselves consistently for years, using methods both taught and developed by each of us for ourselves. As we become more fluent in controlling our bodies, we can learn to respond spontaneously to what our partner is doing.

It’s a truism that in order to trust others we have to learn to trust ourselves. Ukemi practice is challenging because it requires us to trust not only ourselves but our partners. We also have to learn to take risks. This is extremely challenging in a variety of ways: emotionally, psychologically, physically. I am struck by how much pain we carry in our bodies that isn’t outwardly visible. We may not even be aware of physical pain until we ask our bodies to perform new movements. We need to be aware of our individual challenges and learn to work around them safely. When you have to do this in concert with another person, the stakes rise exponentially.

Aikido is very difficult. Often in the beginning of our training, confusion reigns. The training is really designed to unite our minds and bodies. This is profoundly difficult on many levels. But it can be incredibly freeing. Learning aikido requires getting out of your head and into your body. Time slows down (or speeds up if you are having a good practice), and you begin to connect to others in nonverbal ways, by feeling the connection to your partner at the point of contact.

Your job as the partner who absorbs the technique (uke) is to stay physically connected to your partner for as long as you can (your connection can be a grab or a strike) without anticipating any outcome, regardless of what you know will happen. All of this commitment and attention has to be sustained until you fall down. After you learn how to fall, the experience becomes more spontaneous, you learn to just hang on for the ride. Because you trust yourself, you can trust your partner. The fun begins.

Claire Keller seminar at Aikido of Amherst


Aikido of Amherst

7 Pomeroy Lane, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002

April 29 – April 30
Apr 29 at 1 PM to Apr 30 at 4 PM

Claire Keller sensei, 6th dan, USAF Shidoin and head instructor at Brooklyn AIkido will be teaching at Akido of Amherst. Keller sensei focuses on proper body movement and correct execution of techniques to create aikido that can be practiced throughout your life.

We’ve moved!

  • Bushwick Dojo

We moved from Prospect Lefferts Gardens to East Williamsburg on April 3rd. Coming shortly to this page will be an archive of the videos we made in our old dojo at Kuntaw Martial Arts.

Can Kids Do Aikido?

“Children can definitely do Aikido. It is a martial art that allows children to learn many skills that will benefit them in today’s world. Learning how to listen, follow direction, work and be compassionate toward others, are just a few of the skills they learn while doing Aikido. The physical aspect cannot be denied either. Learning how to fall and roll, while protecting themselves is an invaluable skill to learn not only for children, but adults as well. The earliest age to start children is usually at 4-5 years old. This is when a foundation can be set and be built upon, throughout their development. Kids can come to Aikido at whatever age and development stage they are at. At Brooklyn Aikido we want to focus on working with all members, wherever they are at in their development, to foster best results, whether you are young, old, or in between. This said, we hope to begin a children’s program as soon as we have a permanent dojo space, hopefully by summer 2017. Please fill out the contact form if you want to be notified about kids classes.” (Chase)

Bushwick Dojo - Claire Demo

Can Women Do Aikido?

Yes, absolutely woman can do aikido! Woman are warmly welcomed and urged to practice aikido! It is a fantastic martial art for women because the aim is not to “muscle” your way through the techniques but rather use balance, your center (ki), timing, and precision to throw/pin your opponent. More and more women have found aikido to be a martial art that allows them to excel and feel grounded in their bodies. At Brooklyn Aikido, our head instructor – Claire Sensei – is a woman who has trained for many years and has much to teach both women and men about empowering yourself. (Gillian)