I found aikido at a time when I was looking to balance my busy working life with more time for exercise, creativity and mindfulness. I’ve tried a number of martial arts in the past, but aikido is the only one I’ve found that meets all of these criteria.”
Dr Mark, Riai Aikido, Learning Centre
“I started aikido when I was quite young – eleven maybe? – so I don’t really remember why out of all the things I could have done I did this, but I’ll tell you for free that I’m so glad I did. It’s invigorating, it’s calming; it really keeps me going. Aikido has done so much for me over the years and I’m so grateful.”
Ali Kaye, Riai Aikido, Mt Cook Wellington
“I was introduced to Aikido about a decade ago but the Sensei had to leave the town as he was there for a short period working for the government doing some agricultural research. Although I had some Judo experience but Aikido remained in my mind. Recently I migrated to New Zealand, I was very excited to see Aikido in Wellington and decided to join in after a year or so when I’ve settled but just couldn’t resist the first free classes at Riai Aikido at Mount-Cook. I just liked the friendly environment but more importantly I like how Sensei Mark describes Aikido techniques. I also enjoy meeting members from other Riai Dojos at Seminars and specially training by Sensei Henry. I would like to thank everyone at Riai Aikido for giving me this opportunity.”
Zahir Ahmad, Riai Aikido, Mt Cook Wellington
“I started my Aikido journey over 16 months ago. In this time I have found a significant improvement in both my mental and physical state.
Physically, I have found that I have increased my balance and flexibility, my weight has remained stable. I used to have to visit my chiropractor and masseuse every 2-3 months or so to release back and neck tension, however the movements applied in my aikido training seems to have freed up my back and neck, and as such have only had to visit my masseuse once since taking up the art.
Mentally, I feel that I have found a better balance in my life, leading to a sense of calmness and relaxation. I feel that I am better prepared to blend and cope with the stresses of day to day life and any major issues that may arise.
Further more, the club is a great group of people – welcoming and genuine. I try to attend classes at all three dojos in Wellington, as I like to catch up with as many members as possible. While all members are of differing life backgrounds, ages and sizes, we all enjoy practicing Aikido, and it shows with classes being both sociable and fun.
Only after 16 months, I know that I am hooked and will be practicing the art for the rest of my life (or as long as physically able).”
Nick, Riai Aikido, Rewa Rewa Wellington
I liked the idea of doing a martial art but not an aggressive one, as I felt I wasn’t a particularly strong woman. Aikido appealed to me because from what I’d read, age, gender and size didn’t matter and I liked the idea of flowing movements. It took some courage to come along initially but with friendly, encouraging teachers and members, it soon became something I looked forward to, especially once I learnt to roll! I’m now a second dan blackbelt (something I never imagined happening!). With a young family, life is hectic but I love the clear-headed feeling I get from aikido and the positive way aikido offers in dealing with conflict.
Jennifer, Riai Aikido, Learning Centre.
“When you really think about it, there is no ‘winner’ in a physical confrontation. Even if you are the guy still standing where is the long term payoff in injuring someone else? Of course, you don’t want to be the loser. But the cool thing about Aikido is that it provides a path for defending yourself while keeping the actual conflict to a minimum.”
Mark Sleeman, Riai Aikido, Learning Centre