Lia Suzuki Sensei began training aikido in 1982. Through her first teacher, the renowned William Gleason Sensei, 7th dan, she was introduced to the distinctive Aikido of the late Yamaguchi Seigo Shihan, 9th dan and one of his most accomplished students, Takeda Yoshinobu Shihan, 8th dan.
In 1987, only 3rd kyu, Lia moved to Kamakura, Japan to train with Takeda Shihan, known for his highly dynamic, uniquely flowing and physically liberating Aikido practice. Lia Sensei lived in Japan and trained almost daily from 1987 to 1996 receiving her 1st through 4th dan gradings at Takeda Shihan’s dojo during that time.
At Takeda Shihan’s urging, Lia Sensei returned to start dojos in the USA in 1996. Aikido Kenkyukai International (“AKI”) was formed to connect all the dojos around the world that are under Takeda Shihan’s umbrella. AKI now has dojos in various countries around the globe, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and others.
Lia Sensei’s Aikido clearly reflects years of dedicated training with Takeda Shihan and his senior students. It defies typical categorizations of “hard” versus “soft.” She possesses an uncanny ability to draw an attacker into her center and effortlessly redirect, either softly or with huge force.
Lia Sensei directs her energies between AKI USA headquarters in Los Angeles and her other AKI USA dojos. She conducts seminars in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and other countries.
Lia Sensei continues to travel regularly to Japan to train with her teacher, Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan and his senior students.
During her nearly 10-year stay in Japan, she also studied the Japanese language and culture, while continuing her practice of Aikido. She presently holds the rank of 6th dan.
Suzuki Sensei is available for seminars worldwide.
Please contact her directly to inquire about her availability.
In addition to teaching Aikido to adults and children, Lia Sensei has also been involved in ongoing projects employing Aikido in work addressing substance misuse and emotional/behavioral problems. Suzuki Sensei helped develop ACT (Aiki Conflict Transformation © 2002), offering workshops and seminars to psychologists, counselors, educators, etc. She co-taught the first “Aikido for Veterans” seminar in Boulder, CO with the late Tom Osborn Sensei, Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, and others.
Suzuki Sensei’s California dojos are nonprofit organizations. As such, they offer scholarships to under-served populations that would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the programs offered there. Some who have benefited from the scholarship program have been children from low-income families and veterans with PTSD.