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LGBTQ+ In Aikido

Free Community Call

 

Panel Discussion and Q&A session

October 24, 2020

10:00 PST | 13:00 EST | 18:00 BST | 19:00 CEST

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Our Message:

This Free Community Call aims to create a safe space for discussion about LGBTQ+ in Aikido – safe for dojo-cho who want to make their dojo more inclusive and safe for LGBTQ+ participants to share their insights and experiences.

We also warmly invite LGBTQ+ folks who have not yet tried Aikido but are considering it.

Our panel consists of not only LGBTQ+ folks who have been doing Aikido for a long time, but also those who are new to Aikido. They are the ones who can give us a clear picture of how it feels to enter a dojo now. Those who started Aikido long ago bring valuable insights for contrast and comparison.

Registration is free, but donations are appreciated and gratefully accepted.

AKI USA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible and support ongoing programs such as Community Calls and our Youth Scholarship Program. Also 15% of net proceeds from this event will be donated to LA LGBT Center.

Panelists

Meet Our Panelists

Spencer Douglas
Spencer Douglas

No rank yet, Aikido Kenkyukai Los Angeles

Spencer Douglas (he/him) identifies as Bi+ and has dipped in and out of Aikido training since 1998, from San Francisco to Kyoto to LA. Even when not training, he feels a profound continued connection to the practice and applies its principles to most aspects of his life, including job, relationships, politics, and community work for racial and LGBTQ+ equality.

Sarah Harrell
Sarah Harrell

6th kyu, Aikido Kenkyukai Los Angeles / Aikido Centraal, Netherlands

Sarah Harrell (she/her, they/them) started aikido a little less than two years ago with Lia Suzuki Sensei in Los Angeles and currently continues to practice at Aikido Centraal in the Netherlands. Sarah doesn’t like labels but if asked will say she identifies as gay or queer and she enjoys discussing questions of sexuality and sexual orientation. Aikido has given her a community and she would love for others to share this experience and find a safe and welcoming space. Other than that Sarah loves the personal development she gains through aikido and of course the workout.

Sam Taitel
Sam Taitel

3rd dan, East Lake Aikido, Minneapolis, MN

Sam Taitel (she/they) is a mixed, Black, Queer, Jewish womxn, life-long practitioner of Aikido, and racial & social activist. They officially started training in 1999 at the age of 5, and their practice has fundamentally shaped how they move through and understand the world. Aikido is inseparable from their own life growth and relationship building. Sam deeply believes that the practices of connection in Aikido can aid our way forward towards an inclusive future.

Chris Coats
Chris Coats

Shodan, Aikido Kenkyukai Los Angeles

Chris Coats (He/Him) is a Shodan from Los Angeles and has been training Aikido for 15 years. He identifies as Queer. He’s fascinated by the underlying philosophy of Aikido and the way it connects to all areas of life. It’s also a great workout!

Ben Hyclak
Ben Hyclak

No rank yet, Aikido Kenkyukai Los Angeles

Ben Hyclak (He/They) is returning to Aikido after a 7 year gap and has been training with AKI since February. Ben is nonbinary and was drawn to Aikido because of the focus and physical presence training brings.

Jaime Lam
Jaime Lam

3rd dan, Mie Aikido Kenkyukai/Aikido of Madison

Jaime (he/him/his) is a gay/queer man who started his training journey of 14 years (so far) at Blue Heron Aikido in Middlebury, VT. He went on to learn from the late Seiseki Abe Sensei and the late Masao Ishii Sensei, who awarded him his 3rd dan. What keeps him mystified and committed to the practice is Aikido’s subversion of hegemonic beliefs about power.

Tim Kooken
Tim Kooken

Shodan, Nola Aikido

Tim Kooken (they/them) identifies as Queer, Nonbinary, and Pansexual. They train primarily with Brian Levy Sensei at Nola Aikido. In addition to Aikido, Tim practices and teaches Qigong, as well as personal Somatic and Embodiment coaching/training. Tim is inspired by the philosophy of Aikido as a path for self-growth and healing, and by cultivating radical spirituality.

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Or mail a check to:

  • AKI USA
  • PO Box 29621
  • Los Angeles, CA 90029

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

Tax ID: 26-3847946