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The Guiding Principle of Aikido is Harmony

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art founded in the mid-20th century by Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei. Essentially nonviolent and noncompetitive, aikido aims to achieve harmony with others, the environment, and oneself.

Roughly translated as “way of harmonious spirit” or “path to unifying with universal energy”, the word “aikido” consists of three kanji characters:

  • - ai - harmony, unity, joining
  • - ki - spirit, life-force, universal energy
  • - - path, way

Aikido’s techniques form a peaceful adaptation of some of the Samurai arts from prior centuries. With original roots in jujutsu (grappling), kenjutsu (sword), and bojutsu (staff), O’Sensei developed and expanded his art well beyond these. By the time he passed away in 1969, the founder of aikido had coherently synthesized some of the ancient “arts of war,” into what is often now dubbed “the art of peace.”

Rather than fighting or opposing, aikido trains us to meet the force of an attack with relaxation and a sense of center. Using fluid, spiral movements, the aikidoist blends with and redirects an attacker’s energy so that it defeats itself. Aikido requires no physical strength, and has the added, compassionate aim of protecting the attacker from injury.

Beginners are welcomed to all classes and will receive one-on-one instruction in the basics.

Aikido Offers Numerous Benefits

Aikido is a multifaceted discipline for physical, mental, and spiritual growth. It attracts different people, across all ages and physical capability, for its variety of benefits, which include:

  • Self-defense
  • Exercise
  • Graceful movement
  • Equanimity
  • Centered relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Philosophy or spirituality
  • Improvisation
  • Interpersonal respect and confidence
  • Conflict Resolution

"Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter." ~ Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei

Our dojo constitutes a community of aikidoists, who meet together on the mat to practice and study this partner-based movement art. Our members span a broad range of experience: some have trained for many years, others only a few months. We are committed to training in an atmosphere of equality regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Shomen at the Heart of San Francisco Aikido DojoPhoto by Beau Saunders

Dojo Location:
Slovenian Hall, 2101 Mariposa St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Chief Instructor:
Penny Sablove, Godan
General Classes:
Open to all skill levels
Monthly membership
Free first month for newcomers
Visiting aikidoists welcome
Mailing Address:
3041 Mission Street #125, San Francisco CA 94110

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