Mill Valley Aikido offers a safe, supportive space for students of all ages to learn the art of Aikido.
Teen and Adult Classes
Our Teen and Adult Classes provide a challenging and serious but cooperative and supportive environment to learn a deep pool of traditional aikido techniques. Many skills are developed including throws, pins, locks, rolling, and wooden staff and sword. We stress safety, harmony and non-violence but also teach common sense and basic self defense. There are no competitions, tournaments or full-contact sparring. However, there is a system of belt ranks via tests.
The training enables the learning of pragmatic techniques which can be employed to protect oneself. However, our system allows for the potential option of limiting damage to the attacker if appropriate. Our goal is to develop powerful, effective techniques yet deliver them in a safe, graceful and peaceful manner. This results in an enjoyable environment which promotes a strong and flexible body and mind. For those interested, the fundamentals of the Japanese language are also introduced.
Our Youth Classes provide a challenging but fun and supportive environment for the, typically, 6-12 year old age group. These classes focus on important basics such as forward and back rolling, footwork patterns, introduction to the jo (staff) and self defense techniques appropriate to the age group. Basic Japanese language and cultural knowledge are also gradually introduced. The youth class structure provides an excellent transition to the teen and adult classes.
Little Aiki Kids
Our Little Aiki Kids classes provides a fun, energetic and happy environment for the, typically, 3-6 year old age group. We strive to develop focus, coordination and spatial awareness through movement. The basics of self defense and personal safety are instructed via the learning of rolling, stances, and evasion techniques. The Japanese language is introduced with the teaching of polite phrases, counting of numbers, and names of animals. The atmosphere is light, cooperative, supportive and non-competitive.
Staff and Wooden Sword (all ages)
The Staff (jo) and Wooden Sword (bokken) are important elements of our traditional training. The jo and bokken are synergistic with classical aikido as they emphasize key aspects such as body position and timing. The jo and bokken are taught via suburi (basic strokes), kata (forms), and awase (blending practices). Our system of jo and bokken was developed and organized by Morihiro Saito Shihan, 9th dan. The jo and bokken complement basic training and are also wonderful individual arts in themselves.
First time in class? Here's what you need to know.
• Arrive a few minutes early so that you or your child can meet the instructor, tell us about yourselves, and sign a waiver.
• You don't need an aikido uniform. Regular sportswear is fine for your first few classes. If you choose to continue we'll provide a uniform for you.
• Wear long pants that aren't constricting. Aikido has movements working from both standing and kneeling, so knees should be covered.
• If possible don't come to class on a full stomach. Aikido has a lot of dynamic rolling, spinning, and takedowns which are best done on a light stomach.
• Don't be shy or intimidated! At Mill Valley Aikido, a new student is one of our greatest joys. We're looking forward to introducing you to traditional Aikido and all the challenges, self-awareness, and fun that comes with it.
• Contact us when you're ready to try a class. Drop-in trials are also welcome!