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Aikido Dojo In Search of New Home


Aikido Kenkyukai International USA (“AKI USA”), a premiere nonprofit Aikido organization headquartered in Los Angeles, will be holding a fundraiser for their future dojo on Thursday, March 21 from 5-7pm at the Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute (“HJCI”) at 3929 Middlebury St., Los Angeles, CA 90004.

After holding classes for 6 years at HJCI, the group has been informed that their training is causing cracks in the ceiling and that they must move out. Funds will go towards a new dedicated space, where they will be able to hold daily Aikido classes, as well as international Aikido seminars.

The fundraiser will include a “roll-a-thon” where kids get pledges from friends and family for specific dollar amounts per aikido roll, kind of like a somersault. On the night of the roll-a-thon, the kids rolls as much as they can, the rolls are counted and kids go back to their sponsors to collect the funds pledged. There will also be a silent auction.

In past fundraisers by the group, some kids have done over 100 rolls!

“Aikido is a revolutionary martial art. It teaches the peaceful resolution of conflict by offering techniques that work via positioning and timing, rather than power and strength alone.”, said Lia Suzuki Sensei, National Director and internationally renowned instructor.

Having their own dedicated training space will allow AKI USA to better serve the community, with more classes, Teacher Training Courses, an International Uchi Deshi (“Live-In Student”) Program, a Youth Leadership Team Program and more.

Aikido training imparts to practitioners not only mastery of self defense techniques, but perhaps more importantly, it fosters empathy and compassion, mindfulness, confidence, fitness, respect and (More…) self discipline. And as a nonprofit organization, AKI USA is able to offer scholarships to those with financial strain so that everyone can train, regardless of socioeconomic status.

One mom in the group stated, “My daughter became a member of Aikido Kenkyukai in 2017. I could never have imagined what a positive impact the organization would have on her. My child who has consistently struggled with academics, coordination, and emotional stability has transformed into a confident member of the Youth Leadership Team, and proudly wears her blue belt. Lia Suzuki Sensei continues to teach her students how to navigate challenges in Aikido, and in life. With diligent training and self discipline, they persevere. I don’t think my daughter would have realized her true potential without such a dedicated teacher and supportive community.”

The organization launched its first Los Angeles branch in 2013, at the historic Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute. The group now also has a Los Angeles dojo in Koreatown, along with its other long-established locations in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Philadelphia, and even England.

“It has been an honor to share space at the long-established Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute.” said Lia Suzuki Sensei, National Director and internationally renowned instructor. “We’ve grown and now we’re told that it’s no longer safe for us to train in the building we’ve been using.”

“We see this as a sign that it’s time to take our next step and get our own dedicated space. And with our own space, we would be able to serve even more people in the community, bringing so many of the benefits Aikido training has to offer.”, she added.

Those wishing to attend or donate, please see our Facebook Event page here:

For questions or to schedule an interview with Suzuki Sensei, please contact us:

Call or text: 424-209-2083

Photos: Rick Wilkinson Phototgraphy

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Aikido Kenkyukai International USA (“AKI USA”), a premiere nonprofit Aikido organization dedicated to encouraging the practice of the Japanese non-violent martial art of Aikido and promoting Aikido as a positive and effective vehicle for self-improvement and spiritual growth. AKI USA was founded in 1996 by Lia Suzuki Sensei. In addition to offering traditional Aikido classes to beginner through advanced level practitioners, AKI USA has been home to the pioneering work started by Suzuki Sensei. She has used Aikido as a therapeutic vehicle for youth and adults with mental health and substance abuse issues, issues, military veterans, and has worked closely with drug rehabilitation centers, probation departments, and jails, offering workshops on Aiki Conflict Transformation, which she co-founded.

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Or mail your check to:

  • Aikido Kenkyukai
  • PO Box 29621
  • Los Angeles, CA 90029

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Aikido Kenkyukai International USA is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Tax ID: 26-3847946

Why Donate?


AKI USA has provided over $25,000 worth of services to those in need. Recipients have included low-income children and veterans and their families. We believe that financial strain should never be a reason to not experience the benefits of Aikido training.

Before approval, all scholarship candidates are carefully reviewed by our Board of Directors. All of our scholarship recipients are on partial scholarships, rather than full scholarships. Thus, they are are fully a part of our community, sharing in the realization of our dreams.

Peaceful Resolution of Conflict

Aikido, "The Art of Peace", offers tools for the peaceful resolution of conflict, helping to put an end to violence in our communities. Aikido techniques do not utilize strikes. Instead, the attacker is subdued, using deflection and timing.


Taking Aikido "Off the Mat"

Since 1999, we've been involved in ongoing projects employing Aikido in work addressing substance misuse and emotional/behavioral problems. We've offered workshops and seminars to jail inmates, recovering addicts, mental health patients, veterans with PTSD, and other under-served populations. The dojo also has collaborated with Probation Departments, by creating Aikido programs for At-Risk youth.

Our Impact

"I want to explain a little about what training Aikido has meant to me and how it has made a positive change in my life.

I had been training with Lia Sensei for about six months. I was 15 years old and I was starting to drink and do drugs - mostly marijuana.

To make a long story short, I was eventually apprehended by the authorities and charged with possession of marijuana and mushrooms.

Lia Sensei told me I could continue to be a member of the dojo if I agreed to train every day, no exceptions - six days a week for six months. I would have to attend all special trainings, even the 6 A.M. early morning trainings. That meant waking up before 5 to get to the dojo to set up and clean the mats. I also had to agree to be there and help with the kids classes. I said I would do it.

Lia Sensei, my parents and I met with my probation officer and he recommended to the judge that our dojo agreement be one of the conditions of my probation. It was hell. Well, at first anyway.

I think the whole experience really changed me. I think I have a lot more self confidence and focus now. I know that I can get through tough challenges because I proved to myself that I can keep going when I have to.

To this day, more than five years later, I’m still realizing the benefits of Aikido and the challenge that Lia Sensei gave me."


At-Risk Youth

"Hello. I am Justin, an aikidoist who was once diagnosed as having acute schizophrenia.

Through encouragement from Aikido Kenkyukai and its Pennsylvania dojo, I have found My Aikido - training my mind and my will to move beyond hardship and toil.

From Lia Sensei's helping me start Aikido, through Kirisawa Sensei, and now with Steve Sensei, I have learned many difficult meanings lost within a sickened mind, at which there is much undoing to be done.

I feel unable to speak of the joy and wonder I can achieve, together with the support of my fellows.

Now my future ahead at least, looks promising.


Aikido practitioner diagnosed with schizophrenia

"I was an inmate in the La Morada Women's Minimum Security Jail in the summer of 2000. During that time I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in some workshops given by Lia Suzuki. Lia Sensei was teaching something she called ACT (AiKi Conflict Transformation)."

"I would like to tell you how, on several occassions, Lia's teachings were incorporated into situations that might have otherwise become volatile. Anger was met with kindness and even the guards commented on how well we handled our conflicts."

"I have been a productive member of society for six years now and still incorporate Lia's teachings, when necessary, into my life."


Former Jail Inmate, La Morada Women's Jail

"As a founding member of the Aikido for Veterans Project ("AFV"), Lia Suzuki Sensei and Aikido Kenkyukai International USA are committed to helping military veterans returning from war ease the transition from military to civilian life through the practice of Aikido.

In August, Suzuki Sensei traveled to Boulder, Colorado to volunteer as a guest instructor at the first Aikido for Veterans Seminar targeted toward military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD").

The seminar successfully introduced veterans to breathing and mindfulness techniques and Aikido techniques focused especially on centering and balance while moving, as well as Aiki Conflict Transformation principles.

Suzuki Sensei also serves as an active Advisor to AFV and is helping the group coordinate additional seminars for veterans in the future."

Dave Drake

Executive Director, Aikido For Veterans

Make a Difference.

Donate Today.

Donate Now

Or mail a check to:

  • PO Box 29621
  • Los Angeles, CA 90029

~ ~

Aikido Kenkyukai International USA is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Tax ID: 26-3847946