Free Community Call: LGBTQ+ in Aikido
October 24 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am PDT
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
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.
Meet Our Panelists
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Registration is free.
If you would also like to make a contribution. Your contribution will be tax deductible and 15% will go to LA LGBT Center.