Aikido teaches awareness

Children's Aikido programs help kids use their heads when they experience conflict.

Anyone interested in learning martial arts, whether for fitness or for self-defense, can find an excellent training program for adults as well as children at Cleveland Aikikai. Originally founded in 1976 by members of the Oberlin College Aikido Club, the dojo, or school, occupied several locations in and around the Heights area before moving to its present location, 3965 Mayfield Road, in 1993.

Sensei Jim Klar is head of the dojo. He holds a fourth degree black belt and has studied extensively in the United States and Japan. His program offers classes in a number of martial arts styles; however, its main focus is instruction in the art of Aikido. Aikido differs from other martial arts styles in that its basic principle is to blend with, rather than to oppose, an attack. Its techniques, full of subtle yet powerful circular movements, are distinctive for their elegance and flow. The aim of its philosophy is to resolve conflict constructively, rather than escalating it. Aikido teaches a detailed awareness of oneself and of one's surroundings. It encourages the ability to respond in a calm, controlled manner to all sorts of circumstances, expected or otherwise. Students learn the ability to defend themselves, while causing the least possible harm to anyone else.

The children's Aikido program, for kids ages 7 to 15, is headed by Sensei Tom Krumroy. He holds a third degree black belt and is head instructor of the Case Aikido Club. The children’s program focuses on kids using their heads when in a confict. They are taught to respond to threats using only the minimal force needed to protect themselves. Children are all placed in one class, allowing students of all ages and skill levels to learn from and to teach one another. Through their study, students gain self-discipline, self-confidence, and sincere respect for others.

Cleveland Aikikai is a not-for-profit organization. Dues for membership are quite reasonable and include many opportunities to train throughout the week. Family memberships are also available. Visitors are welcome to stop in and observe during any class or to call 216-382-6060 for more information

Michelle Jacobs-Mucha has been a Heights resident for 20 years. She is a clinical research coordinator for Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 10:24 AM, 12.17.2008