Aikido of Santa Cruz

True Victory is Victory Over Oneself

Aikido of Santa Cruz
306 Mission Street,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
fax: (831) 423-6156
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Aikido for Young People

A martial art of peace, for the modern world

“Aikido is not a technique to fight with or defeat an enemy. It is the way to harmonize the world and make humanity one family.”

– Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, founder of Aikido (1883 – 1969)

Aikido is a dynamic, non-competitive Japanese martial art whose
guiding principle is HARMONY: within oneself, with others, and with nature. Students develop physical techniques, mental focus, interpersonal skills, and a peaceful spirit, while training in a safe and mutually supportive environment.

Aikido of Santa Cruz offers classes for ages 6-9, 9-12, and
13-18, as well as adult classes. You can start at any time.

Starting in September 2018, Aikido of Santa Cruz is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove School.

Click here for enrollment information.

“We chose Aikido over other programs because of its focus on peaceful solutions over aggression, avoidance over confrontation. The summer camp was wonderful, because the instructors and assistants spoke with such calm voices and treated all the children with respect, expecting the same in return.”     − Aikido parent

Aikido is an effective and powerful martial art, but the practice of Aikido is much more than the study of martial technique. The practice of Aikido techniques is an enjoyable activity that facilitates physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional growth.

Aikido training teaches young people:
  • To blend with another person’s energy, instead of opposing it,
  • To find mutually satisfying outcomes,
  • To resolve conflict without violence.
These are skills that are useful in all areas of life.


“Our son has become much more disciplined and has grown as a person all due to his classes.”
− Aikido parent

This is the “push-hands” practice. One person exerts force through the palm of the hand and the other person deflects it to the side.


Aikido training benefits young people at home and in school

Aikido is a fun and physical practice, but you don’t need to be athletic to practice it.  Aikido teaches us how to:

  • Ground and center ourselves so we are not unbalanced by life's ups and downs;
  • Stand with an upright posture so we can move with dignity and without losing our center;
  • Extend our ki to make positive connections with the world;
  • Increase our flexibility;
  • Learn to fall gracefully and get up again.


“Aikido has helped me with my balance, both literally and figuratively, it has helped me learn to breathe and find a centered place, it has helped me with my temper and understanding other people.”
 – Aurora, age 15

Click here for enrollment information.


It's not a matter of strength

Because Aikido relies on inner strength rather than physical strength, young people of all shapes and sizes can find success in their training.

About to apply nikkyo, a wrist-lock technique

“Anyone can do Aikido. Each person's training is unique and wonderful.
Each person can do Aikido in his or her own way.”

− Motomichi Anno Sensei, 8th dan, direct student of O-Sensei, founder of Aikido


This is how we roll

Aikido students learn how to “roll”, both forwards and backwards. This allows them to fall safely, and to receive the energy of an Aikido technique and use that energy to return to standing. Beginning students start with rolls from a low seated position ...

... then from a high seated position ...


... and finally rolls from standing, which can be very dynamic.


The Japanese wooden staff (bo) and wooden sword (bokken) are a traditional part of Aikido practice.
In Aikido, staff and sword are not used as weapons but as a means of developing focus and positive energy extension.


The Teen class often practices defense from multiple attackers, called randori (literally, “taking hold of chaos”).
This helps to develop calmness in turbulent situations, and zanshin, a continuous awareness in all directions.


Aikido training is fun!

Aikido training generates a positive spirit.

“Practice always in the spirit of joy.”          – O-Sensei

The 6-12 year old classes typically start with a game which emphasizes one or more Aikido principles. At left, they are playing "nap attack.” The adults swing a shinai (made up of loose strips of bamboo covered with fabric), and the students avoid the shinai by entering to the side and tapping the adult on the back. They learn to stay calm and centered under pressure, and to sidestep an attack and move to a safe place.


Discover Aikido training now!


How do I begin?

Come watch a class! Observers are welcome at any time at the Aikido of Santa Cruz dojo.
Click here for directions to Aikido of Santa Cruz.

Try one class for free! Just come to the dojo 15 minutes before class. The student should wear loose-fitting clothing that covers the knees, such as sweatpants and a T-shirt.  We can sell you the training uniform (“gi”) when you are ready.

Start any time! New students are integrated into the ongoing classes.  The instructor and  assistants work with newer students as necessary to teach them basics, such as how to fall safely and get up again with a smile on their face!

It's fine to just show up at the dojo, but if you want to try out a class or join the classes it will save time if you sign up online in advance.

Click here to sign up online for a free trial class or for the ongoing monthly classes.

Classes are $80 / month and meet two times a week.  Family discounts are available.  Tuition is payable at the beginning of every month. We will pro-rate the first month's tuition if you start in the middle of the month. (Ocean Grove students, arrange with your Educational Specialist to issue a purchase order.)

Class schedule:

6 - 9 year old classMonday & Wednesday3:15 - 4:15 pm
9 - 12 year old classMonday & Wednesday4:30 - 5:30 pm
Teen class
(Teen students are also welcome to train in the adult classes.)
Tuesday & Thursday4:30 - 5:30 pm

Youth classes are ongoing every month of the year except August. The 2019 Aikido Summer Camp for Kids will be August 5 - 9.

Aikido of Santa Cruz is a non-profit, public benefit, educational organization, serving the community since 1982. We welcome sincere students of any race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnic background.

Questions? Call us at 831-423-8326 or email
Click here to visit us on Facebook.


Youth Program Instructors

Louise Alaniz, 3rd dan
6-9 year old class

Jay Munyer, 3rd dan
9-12 year old class

Aimen Al-Refai, 5th dan
Teen class


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