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The 7 Most Important Points to Consider When Choosing live streaming martial arts training

You are about to make an important decision. How do you make sure you are making the right decision?

Martial art styles and affiliations should not be treated like brand names. Coke and Pepsi work hard to deliver the same experience and flavor whether you were buying a can of their product in New York or Istanbul. Martial arts, however, are transmitted from individual to individual, and the experience is defined by the talent, insight, instructional capability, integrity and character of the individual teacher. Picking a style “brand name” is no guarantee of the quality you will receive.

The most important tip is very simple: Don’t make your decision based on a style or art, or even what your friends and neighbors are doing. Make your decision based on finding the right instructor for you!


1. Find The Teacher Who Will Inspire You

inspireTo make the right choice, start by trying out other live streaming martial arts classes, and interview the teachers and students. Do they seem like the type of people you want to spend time with, call friends, or emulate? Do the instructors seem like they have the ability to inspire you, push you to new limits and motivate you, challenge you, show you how to have fun and passion for what you do, and inspire you to keep coming back to class week after week, year after year? Do you have a strong “gut feeling” about the individual and the school? Ask about what values the teachers promote, and ask yourself if those are the values you want to instill into yourself and your children. Ask the teachers where they themselves train and improve their skills; the best teachers train and study their entire lives, and do not rest upon the ego gratification received from just being a teacher.

With that out of the way, there are some other things that can be useful to consider as well.


2. You Are Joining a Community

communityEven in the case of live streaming classes, there’s usually an opportunity for some kind of connection with the teacher and fellow students. Many live stream classes include some time at the end for participants to unmute their mic’s and ask questions or simply chat.

Some groups have a Virtual Happy Hour or other kind of virtual get together regularly.

Consider the school members and community. Trust your instincts: does it seem like the students are motivated by pride, respect, trust, ego, the need to prove themselves, or showmanship? Ask the members and students what benefits they receive from training there; is there a diversity of ethnicities, genders, and ages in the dojo? Does the school look like it teaches things only young people can do, or do they teach things that can be practiced for an entire lifetime? Does the school convey a sense of community, belonging, teamwork, and mutual support, or does it convey a sense of competition and “everyone out for themselves?”


3. Don’t Let Money Define The Relationship

moneyHow does the school organize memberships and dues? Do you feel like you are being given a hard sale, like at a car dealership or a fitness club? Are you being pressured to sign up for a long-term contract before you feel you have even determined if the dojo is the right place for you? Do you feel that the teacher is focused more on making money than improving the lives of their students? Teachers have to make a living too, but you can usually get a sense of whether or not you mean more than a paycheck to the owner of the school.


4. Cross-Training / Allegiance Policies

handcuffsFeel like popping in at another online class? Want to attend a virtual seminar of a famous instructor? Not so fast! In some dojos, that’s grounds for being expelled! Yes, some schools will actually kick you out if they find out that you attended classes of another organization!

Explanations for this policy will usually sound like this: “Well, we don’t want our students to get confused with a different style.” or “Oh, that dojo isn’t legitimate. They’re not members of xyz organization that we belong to. Only our organization is pure/correct, connected to the founder of our art via abc.”

Before you sign on with an organization, ask them if they have any policies regarding training outside their organization. If they do, ask them why. A teacher who is confident will not feel threatened if you want to attend a class or seminar with another teacher. Indeed, this is the sign of a dedicated student and a teacher should be happy to see this sort of enthusiasm.

It’s one thing for a dojo to ask for a certain degree of loyalty. It’s another for them to think they own you.


5. Don’t Be Dazzled By Rank

dazzleDon’t be too influenced by the rank of the teachers; ranks really are not comparable across styles and organizations. It is much easier to quickly receive high rank in very small organizations, than in large international associations with thousands or tens of thousands of members.

Some organizations give different meaning to the various ranks, and award them based on different requirements, abilities, and experience than others. There are also many very respectable-seeming, international “rank and diploma organizations ” that allow paying members to receive rank certificates in various arts with very little actual training.

Sometimes, junior teachers have a fresh outlook and enthusiasm which can be more infectious and rewarding than instruction from seasoned and tired teachers.


6. Great Schools Attract Diversity

Finally, one of the best measures of the quality of an organization is the diversity of the students who train there. Do their students frequently participate in seminars of different organizations and dojos? In more “open” schools, you are less likely to hear “that is wrong, this is right” and more likely to hear “explore this, keep what is useful.” Environments that attract and tolerate a wide variety of experience and knowledge are more likely to provide high-value, high-quality instruction.

Selecting and organization can be a tough process. But a little detective work, trusting your instincts, and knowing what questions to ask yourself, the instructors, and the students of the schools you’re considering can help you be confident that you are making the right decision!


Also, pretty much every school offers some sort of discounted or free Intro Option with little or no obligation. Try a couple classes before you commit to a long-term agreement.


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What Others Are Saying

"Lia Sensei changed my life. Her teachings in Aikido have had a profound impact on who I am today and continue to shape me everyday into a stronger, more grounded person.

Lia Sensei is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She is passionate to no end about Aikido which comes through in her thoughtful though very Japanese style of teaching. Her Aikido classes always leave me drenched in sweat by the end which I have almost never experienced anywhere else (except Japan!) They are intense, dynamic, and feel the way a martial art should truly feel, like a sacred practice."

Chris Coats

Film Maker

"Once I arrived in LA I signed up for some intro classes with Aikido Kenkyukai to see if the dojo would be a good fit for me. A few classes later, I signed up for the year. Suzuki Sensei embodies many of the principals of Aikido and comes from a direct lineage of Aikidoka. What this means for the layman is she's "close" to the source. She's very skilled and deeply cares about the art.

Aikido is a great place for me to "reset" on the mat. It certainly does that for me."

Marc Falzon


"I came looking for exercise I wouldn't get bored of and self defense skills, and while I still get plenty of training in those areas, the reasons I come to Aikido have expanded.  I now find aikido training helps with emotional strength, mental clarity, spiritual growth, confidence, and even communication (or as we call it, verbal aikido)."

Ellis Bahl

Film Maker

"So much enthusiasm and dedication from Lia Sensei! Thank you for teaching our kids so superbly!"

Carlos Barrios MD

Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist

AKI USA National Headquarters: Los Angeles

AKI USA Headquarters

Head Instructor: Lia Suzuki Sensei, 6th dan Aikikai

    • Contact
    • Mailing Address
      • PO Box 29621
      • Los Angeles, CA 90029 USA
    • Dojo Address:
      • AKI Los Angeles
      • 2936 W. 8th Street
      • Los Angeles, CA 90005 USA
      • (Free parking on the corner of W. 8th St. and Westmoreland Ave.)
AKI Bristol

AKI Bristol

Instructor: Nick Barnett Sensei

AKI Cape Cod

AKI Cape Cod

Instructor: Glenn Pacheco Sensei

  • Contact
    • Phone: 508-444-2949
    • Email:
  • Address
    • 233 Hatchville Road
    • East Falmouth , MA 02536 USA
AKI Los Angeles

AKI Los Angeles

Instructor: Lia Suzuki Sensei

  • Contact
  • Address
    • 2936 W. 8th Street
    • Los Angeles, CA 90005 USA
  • Free parking on the corner of W. 8th St. and Westmoreland Ave.
AKI Pennsylvania

AKI Pennsylvania

Instructors: Matt Bridi Sensei

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I upgrade from one Intro Package to another?

All our Intro Packages are greatly discounted so you're limited to just one choice. After that, we go over our ongoing, monthly Membership Options for your consideration.

What's the schedule?

How much does it cost if I want to continue after I've completed the Intro Package?

Monthly dues vary, depending on your length of commitment. Adult prices start at $99/month. Kids start at $109/month.

There are also a one-time registration fee, and yearly affiliation fees from $50 to $65, depending upon your length of commitment, and your dojo location.

Testing fees range from $40 to $55, depending on level. Testings are held no more than 3 times per year, depending on the dojo and you will not always be invited to test.

We are happy to go over all details in more depth.

Please call or text 424-209-2083

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes! AKI USA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. We offer a limited number of scholarships each year to deserving candidates. You can fill out an application here:



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Don't take our word for it. Try a class and experience first-hand the benefits of Aikido!


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