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Student Voices

Students in our children's program share their personal anecdotes, observations regarding training and the application of what they have learned to daily life.



Julia Povich
March, 2017

Congratulations to Julia Povich for completing her 100 roll challenge. Julia is seven years old and began training after her 3rd birthday. Upon completing her goal, Julia immediately started on her 1,000 roll challenge. Good work, Julia!

The "100 Roll Club" recognizes students in our children's program who have completed the challenge of doing 100 forward rolls. These rolls are done before and after class as time allows. Students volunteer for this challenge and their roll count is posted on the white board in the dojo. After each rolling session the student and an instructor "do the math" and update their roll count.



Guglielmo D'Addario
March, 2017

Kudos to Guglielmo D'Addario for completing his 2,000 roll challenge and becoming the first member of the "2,000 Roll Club". Guglielmo just turned eight in November. He began training a few months after his 5th birthday. Good job, Guglielmo!

The "2,000 Roll Club" recognizes students in our children's program who have completed the challenge of doing 2,000 forward rolls. These rolls are done before and after class as time allows. Students volunteer for this challenge and their roll count is posted on the white board in the dojo. After each rolling session the student and an instructor "do the math" and update their roll count.



Ben Dressel
June, 2016

Ben wrote an essay about Aikido for a school project. Here is a short excerpt:

When you think of martial arts, do you think of punching, kicking and flipping people on their backs? The practice of Aikido is a completely different way of doing martial arts. The word Aikido is formed by three Japanese characters or "kanji". The first part "Ai" means meeting, coming together or being in harmony. The second part "Ki" means living energy, as in the mind, soul and spirit. The third part "Do" means The Way, to show that the study of Aikido is not only for self-defense but is also about learning positive qualities that can be used in everyday situations.

Click here to read Ben's entire essay.



Maya Jacob
October, 2014

Hi, my name is Maya Jacob and I love Aikido. I have been taking it for seven years and I am very enthusiastic about going to class. I am 12 years old and am a purple belt and I can now help the Sensei instruct the kids Aikido class. There is always more to learn and it is a thrill to learn so much about this very special and unique martial art that can be used in our everyday lives.

This martial art doesn't have to be just for kids, adults can take it too. In fact my dad takes it and has been going even longer than I have. There is an adult class that I go to with my dad and we are able to practice with each other at home because we both take it.

Everyone at Aikido is like family to me and I have made so many great friends. It is always a pleasure when someone is there and we can joke and laugh with each other all the time. It is amazing to meet someone new and be able to help them learn and grow and being able to see their improvement is always rewarding. Anyone who comes will always be welcome in our Aikido family.

Every beginning of the year we do this thing called Misogi, a form of meditation, that has helped me learn how to keep calm under stressful conditions. I was really nervous to do it at first but afterward I realized it has given me courage to try new things.

There is so much to Aikido that I wish I could say in this letter but I can't. It isn't just punch and kick. There is a finesse to it that will take time to learn but if you are willing to put in the work the results can be very rewarding. Aikido has helped me in so many ways it would take forever to list them all. And I am still finding more! This Dojo is a place where anyone can belong.



Tristan Barndt
May, 2014

Congratulations to Tristan Barndt for completing his 1,000 roll challenge and becoming the fourth member of the "1,000 Roll Club". Tristan just turned eight years old and is the first yellow belt to complete this challenge. Good job, Tristan!

The "1,000 Roll Club" recognizes students in our children's program who have completed the challenge of doing 1,000 forward rolls. These rolls are done before and after class as time allows. Students volunteer for this challenge and their roll count is posted on the white board in the dojo. After each rolling session the student and an instructor "do the math" and update their roll count.



Jason Roa
April, 2014

Kudos to Jason Roa for completing his 1,000 roll challenge and becoming the third member of the "1,000 Roll Club". Jason is seven years old and has been training for one year. Congratulations, Jason. Good job!

The "1,000 Roll Club" recognizes students in our children's program who have completed the challenge of doing 1,000 forward rolls. These rolls are done before and after class as time allows. Students volunteer for this challenge and their roll count is posted on the white board in the dojo. After each rolling session the student and an instructor "do the math" and update their roll count.



Boeck Allen
November, 2013

Congratulations to Boeck Allen for completing his 1,000 roll challenge and becoming the second member of the "1,000 Roll Club". Boeck is eight years old and has been training for nearly 3 years. Good job, Boeck!

The "1,000 Roll Club" recognizes students in our children's program who have completed the challenge of doing 1,000 forward rolls. These rolls are done before and after class as time allows. Students volunteer for this challenge and their roll count is posted on the white board in the dojo. After each rolling session the student and an instructor "do the math" and update their roll count.



Dylan Povich
October, 2013

Kudos to Dylan Povich for completing his 1,000 roll challenge and becoming the first member of the "1,000 Roll Club". Dylan just turned seven in October. He began training several months before his 4th birthday. Good job, Dylan!

The "1,000 Roll Club" recognizes students in our children's program who have completed the challenge of doing 1,000 forward rolls. These rolls are done before and after class as time allows. Students volunteer for this challenge and their roll count is posted on the white board in the dojo. After each rolling session the student and an instructor "do the math" and update their roll count.



Hayden Decker
February, 2013

Hello, my name is Hayden Decker and I've been taking Aikido for about five years. I've learned many things and I have made many friends. I remember when I first joined and only about five other people were there, and now there are about 15!

I used to watch the Aikido class while waiting for my sister to finish dancing, and one time I decided I would try it. I love this class, and it has definitely helped me in my daily life. For example, if someone runs at me, most people would panic, but I can just take a small step to the side to avoid them. And when I was at the dentist, I was really scared that it would hurt, but I calmed myself and concentrated, and it was better than I expected.

When I originally started Aikido I thought every exercise was hard, and I got out of breath way to easily, now I can easily do the exercises without breaking a sweat. It was so hard for me to do rolls also and I had to put a lot of effort into it, now when sensei asks me to do a roll it's just natural and easy for me. When I first got my yellow belt, I thought I could NEVER get an orange belt, because it was hard work, but I followed Kevin and Brianna's examples and now I'm a blue belt. I never thought it possible to be a blue belt when I was just a little white belt.

I remember needing help a lot of times and sensei would have to help me, and then I disrupted the class, so I try to help the littler ones as I can so the class won't be disrupted. The littler ones look up to me for guidance so I try to be a good role model for them.



Kevin Iwamoto
May, 2012

I have been practicing Aikido with Gilmore Sensei for almost seven years. I am one of the first three students in his children's class. I started to assist his children's class every Friday from last Fall. Since I am learning many things by helping other students, I feel it is an important and beneficial role.

When I traveled to Japan, I had an opportunity to be trained by Shinichi Tohei Sensei once and also another opportunity to attend a regular children's class. It was fun to perform Kata with Japanese students.

I am doing other sports and using my Aikido principles in many occasions especially when I try to concentrate and not to be tense. I would like to continue training to be able to use them in every situation in my life automatically.



Brianna Berkson
March, 2012

Hello, my name is Brianna Berkson and I have been taking Aikido for over six years. I have learned a lot and it has even helped me in my daily life.

I tried the children's class shortly after it started. At that time there were only two students. A few months later when I actually started (I had to take Aikido as part of my second grade school curriculum) there were only five kids and it stayed that way for a while. The only thing I did not enjoy was the fact that I was the only girl. More kids joined and eventually even some girls. Since then a lot of kids have joined now there are over twenty of them!

When I began Aikido I was very timid and scared. Something like a forward roll seemed so scary, hard, and even dangerous. Once I began to understand it I found it much easier. The other night when I was practicing for my next test I had to do a lot of forward rolls and thought nothing of it! The next day I remembered though! I was sore and thinking back on the night before and realized that I had done around sixty forward rolls!

I do a lot of dance and once my teacher asked us to try a forward and backward roll. All the girls were scared. Even I was scared because it was not the same as the ones I do in aikido and it was on a hard floor! The principles were the same though so it was pretty easy, and the next day I was the only one without bruises.

Aikido has helped me in quite a few ways and these are only a couple of them. Now I not only take the children's class but also the adult class. I look forward to the day when we get girls in that class too.




Do you have a story or insight you would like to share? Send us an email.
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