The Origins of Aikido New England Aikikai

Aikido New England Aikikai (NEA) is a dojo, or training center, located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded by Sensei George Lyons in 1978, and has since become a thriving community of Aikido practitioners from all walks of life. Sensei Lyons was a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, and he brought his knowledge and passion for the art to the Northeast. Today, NEA is one of the oldest and most respected Aikido dojos in the region, with a reputation for excellence in both technique and philosophy.

The Philosophy of Aikido

At its core, Aikido is a martial art that emphasizes harmony, non-resistance, and the blending of energy. Unlike other martial arts that focus on defeating opponents, Aikido seeks to neutralize aggression without causing harm. This is achieved through the use of circular movements, joint locks, throws, and pins. The philosophy of Aikido extends beyond the mat and into everyday life, encouraging practitioners to cultivate a spirit of compassion, humility, and respect for others.

Training at NEA: What to Expect

If you’re new to Aikido, walking into a dojo for the first time can be intimidating. But at NEA, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. The instructors and students are friendly and supportive, and they understand that everyone starts somewhere. You don’t need any prior experience in martial arts to begin training at NEA – all you need is an open mind and a willingness to learn.

Key takeaway: Aikido New England Aikikai offers a welcoming and supportive community for Aikido practitioners of all levels, with a focus on harmony, non-resistance, and the blending of energy to neutralize aggression without causing harm. Training at NEA can provide physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, including improved flexibility, focus, and empathy.

Classes at NEA

NEA offers classes for students of all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. Classes typically begin with warm-up exercises, followed by instruction in basic techniques. As you progress, you’ll learn more advanced techniques and have the opportunity to practice with partners of different skill levels. In addition to regular classes, NEA hosts seminars and workshops with guest instructors from around the world.

The NEA Community

One of the most rewarding aspects of training at NEA is the sense of community. Aikido is not just a solo practice – it requires cooperation and connection with others. At NEA, you’ll find a diverse group of people who share a common passion for Aikido. Whether you’re a college student, a stay-at-home parent, or a retiree, you’ll find a welcoming and supportive community at NEA.

The Benefits of Aikido

Aikido offers a wide range of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Here are just a few:

Physical Benefits

  • Improved flexibility, balance, and coordination
  • Increased strength and cardiovascular endurance
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Better posture and body awareness

Mental Benefits

  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Better decision-making and problem-solving skills

Spiritual Benefits

  • Cultivation of a sense of compassion and empathy
  • Greater understanding of oneself and others
  • Development of a more peaceful and harmonious outlook on life

FAQs for Aikido New England Aikikai

What is Aikido New England Aikikai?

Aikido New England Aikikai is a martial arts organization based in New England, USA. It is dedicated to the practice and teaching of Aikido, a Japanese martial art that focuses on harmony and non-aggression. The organization was founded by William Gleason Shihan, a 7th dan Aikido practitioner who trained directly under the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.

Who can join Aikido New England Aikikai?

Aikido New England Aikikai welcomes students of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced martial artist, you are welcome to train with us. We believe that everyone can benefit from the practice of Aikido, regardless of their background or physical ability.

What are the benefits of practicing Aikido?

The benefits of practicing Aikido are numerous. In addition to developing physical fitness and flexibility, Aikido also helps to cultivate mental and emotional balance. Students learn to stay calm and centered under pressure, and to respond to conflict in a non-violent and effective manner. Aikido also promotes a sense of community and camaraderie, as students work together to hone their skills and support each other’s progress.

What should I expect from my first class at Aikido New England Aikikai?

Your first class at Aikido New England Aikikai will likely involve an introduction to some of the basic techniques and movements of Aikido. You will also be introduced to the etiquette and protocols of the dojo (training hall). You can expect to be welcomed warmly by the teachers and students, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What equipment do I need to practice Aikido?

To begin practicing Aikido, all you need is loose, comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely. We recommend wearing long pants and a t-shirt, as well as bringing a pair of sandals or slippers to wear on the training mat (known as the tatami). As you progress in your training, you may choose to purchase a gi (traditional Aikido uniform) and other equipment such as a bokken (wooden sword) or jo (staff).

How can I learn more about Aikido New England Aikikai?

To learn more about Aikido New England Aikikai, we invite you to visit our website or contact us directly. You can also follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on events, seminars, and other news. We welcome your questions and look forward to hearing from you!


By Sam

Meet our lead author and resident Aikido enthusiast, Sam 'Sensei' Thompson. A life-long practitioner of this dynamic martial art, Sam started his Aikido journey when he was just seven years old - tripping over his own feet, and gradually turning those tumbles into graceful falls. His journey from clumsy beginner to seasoned sensei is filled with tales of perseverance, resilience, and a generous helping of self-deprecating humor. Sam's love for Aikido extends far beyond the mat. He has a degree in Eastern Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and has studied under renowned Aikido masters in Japan. His deep understanding of the art, coupled with his knack for storytelling, makes him the perfect guide to shepherd you through the winding paths of Aikido. Sam's philosophy is simple: Aikido is not just about throws and falls; it's about understanding ourselves, developing our character, and occasionally laughing at our own expense when we find ourselves flat on our back.

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