Aikido of Madison

Aikido of Madison is a member of Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, an organization headed by Master Mitsugi Saotome, a personal student of O-Sensei for 15 years. Saotome Sensei has been teaching Aikido in the United States since 1975. We who practice Aikido in Madison consider ourselves fortunate to be able to train under an inspiring teacher who was so close to the founder of Aikido.

Aikido Schools of Ueshiba is in turn associated with the International Aikido Federation, whose headquarters is in Tokyo, Japan, and whose current head is Moriteru Ueshiba, the grandson of the Founder.

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art with deep roots in samurai tradition. On first seeing the art many people are surprised at how dance-like it looks. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that Aikido, like dance, involves blending with someone else’s movement and energy. In Aikido the purpose of this blend is to use the attacker’s force and intent as a means to subdue and control him or her. To accomplish this Aikido uses joint locks, hip throws, sweeps and projections. In the traditional art, punches and kicks as you might expect to see them in karate are not used defensively, though strikes to anatomical weak points (atemi) are sometimes employed as a means of disrupting an attack or distracting the attacker, and students do learn to defend against strikes.

Because Aikido is based on traditional samurai arts, it also contains weapon forms using the sword, wooden staff and knife. However, weapons practice is strictly subordinated to empty-handed practice: students learn to use weapons primarily as a means of increasing their understanding of body arts, since many empty-handed forms and movements are derived from sword and staff techniques.

Chief Instructors

John Stone, Rokudan

Robin Cooper, Rokudan

General Classes

General classes are for all skill levels, from several months to many years. Cost for general membership is $70 per month.

Starting out

We conduct special introductory classes two or three times a year, but you may join any time. If you’re interested in learning more, we have a page about starting your Aikido training. If you have any additional questions, please contact us.