Aikido is unique among martial arts in that it teaches calmness and creativity in the midst of aggression .... compassion and non-violent responses towards violence .... and resolution of conflicts without harming others.  
                                                            Miles Kessler

Aikido Defense
A Website of
Aikido of Gainesville

4 Classes $75

8 Classes $120

20 Classes $200


KIDS 6-11 & TEENS 11-16  CLASSES

Mon, Thu, Fri ..........Aikido for Kids .....2:30--4pm ......Aikido for Teens .....  4--5:30pm
Single class fee $20 per 1 1/2 hour of class

During  Summer
   Mon, Thu, Fri ......Aikido for Kids .....9--10:30am ......Aikido for Teens .....10:30--Noon    

Kids or Teens times are not strictly adhered to.  If the kids want to stay longer
or the teens want to come earlier It's OK. 


  4 Classes / month  =  1/wk or 4  Class Card =  $ 75 / month

   8 Classes / month  = 2/wk or 8  Class Card =  $120 / month

  12 Classes / month  = 3/wk or 12 Class Card =  $150 / month

Unlimited Classes / month = 5/wk  or 20 Class Card = $200 / month

3 extra classes for each new relative or friend who buys classes.

Other Class Arrangements may be Negotiated
Such as buying and tracking more classes by non-expiring punch card.
Family Discount Plan per Month.

Classes may be purchased  at the dojo  or  online via  the
Aikido Lessons Store page under the Classes heading.

Saturday Mornings.......FREE..Aikido for Kids..FREE.......9:00 - 10:30am 
Saturday Mornings......FREE..Aikido for Teens..FREE.....10:30am - Noon

This coming Saturday, Feb. 29th, we will have the party for everybody with a birthday in February.  We will have cupcakes or pastries depending on what they put on the day old cart late Friday night.  By going in late Friday night, I have been finding lots more day old things, so we have a pretty good choice of things for our parties.  We will also have ice cream, grapes, bananas, apples, chocolate milk, orange juice and apple juice.  We will stop practice and set up for the party about 10:30.   After we clean up from the party, we normally play games till noon.                

Saturday Feb. 22nd, we had 9 kids and 2 adults.  Feb. 15th, we had 6 kids and 3 adults.  On Feb 8th, we had 5 kids and 2 adults.  The numbers fluctuate from week to week.  We had 3 new kids on the 22nd.  They came in around 10:30, so I stopped working on the more advanced kids tests and we started practicing some tehodoki, wrist grab escapes.  This is what I am focusing on for the first test out at the Queen of Peace Academy for a number of reasons.  I have noticed over time that when there are no senior students, new students don't get to see or understand working together with each other.  They also don't understand relaxing and not putting up hard resistance to techniques being put on them.   Tension and hard resistance can lead to injuries, which nobody wants.  The tehodoki techniques help them understand the wrist warm-ups, simple get-out-of-the-hold movements, working together with a partner, simple responses to aggressions on the  playground and how to respond to the technique as the effect of the technique comes on.   They are also seeing pretty quickly that these responses can be pretty effective with minimal efforts.  So the first test is made up of 1st, 2nd, 3rd techniques plus simple Kotegaeshi.  I'm seeing reasonably good results from this path, so I will probably change my whole repertoire for how I run the Kyu rank tests. Just today, Sunday the 23rd, I'm thinking I could develop a simple Hiji Kime, elbow focus technique.  This would cover all the wrist warm-up techniques.  The test would have 5 same side wrist grabs and 5 opposite side wrist grabs.  A good start.

This coming Saturday, October 26th, we will have the October Birthdays Party.   We will start with a game at 9am then about 9:30 or so we will bow in and warm up, then do some practices.  About 10:15 -10:30 we will set up for the party.   We will have cupcakes and ice cream unless the day old donuts are a great deal and supersede the cupcakes.   For drinks, we will have chocolate milk, orange juice and apple juice plus grapes and bananas.          

Saturday Oct. 19th.  Another slow start, but soon more kids came in during the morning.  By the time we did the first bow out for those leaving, we had 13 kids on the mats.   One new boy came.   At first he felt overwhelmed with the newness and learning to roll, but over the morning he said he had a lot of fun and learned a bunch, so that was good.  I think what he really enjoyed was the obstacle coarse, which makes learning to roll fun.

Sunday Oct 13th.  On Saturdays in the past month we have had some new kids come in.  The numbers dropped off quite a bit at the beginning of September, but the past two weeks we have had 11 and 10 kids on the mats.  Thursday two new girls came with their Mom.   There has been a new woman coming on Sundays and another woman came in Thursday evening.   On Tuesday, Oct. 8th we had 15 female college students with the UF Empowerment group in for a Women's Self Defense class.  5 of our most advanced teens and kids students helped with teaching and taking falls with the college ladies helped out.  The students wanted to see a demonstration of what these kids know, so I had them do some 20 second free-style one-on-one attacks on each other.  The ladies were pretty impressed with these demonstrations.
I have taught these kids a lot and they have learned well. 20 seconds usually works out to 3 throws.  The time for a throw includes the time for the attacker to get up and get to the thrower and the time for the thrower to respond.  About 5 seconds per throw is a very respectable time.  That is about the same time for everyone who knows what they are doing.  One of the throwers here was able to get 4 throws in the 20 seconds.

Saturday Oct 12th.   At the beginning of September I received word that one of my most advanced families would no longer be coming to practice.  I have grown to love these kids so much it put me into a funk for the whole month.  I found they had been practicing too much (not just with me) and they were getting tired and the mother was thinking she didn't get to see a portion of her family enough.  I can understand that.  If you are not planning on teaching, Aikido is not something you should be doing every day.  My thought is that when you come to practice, it's to come and have fun, not think of it as a chore you need to go do.   I also don't want people to feel so driven that they must master any particular technique at every practice.   Come and have fun.  Enjoy the camaraderie. Have fun learning something that may enhance or even save your life at some point.  I have had lots of techniques that were hard to get over the years.  You need to relax and keep hitting these hard techniques now and then and one day it will just click and you will have it.  Sometimes you get epiphanies.  Those are exciting. 

Saturday August 31st. The Labor Day Weekend August Birthdays party was a bit of a bust this time. We only had 4 kids and two adults show up. We did sing Happy Birthday for Aedwyn cause we know her birthday is in August. I have a lot of sweet left overs now. The good point was they all got a lot more close instruction. Four of them now have all their stripes to take the Blue belt test, but they need to do some more practice before they test. Christopher is now working on his Green belt test. He starts learning the weapons in this test. So we worked on his Bo (long staff) katas; Bo 1 and Bo 2. He is coming along pretty good on those. They aren't memorized yet, but he is moving better and better all the time.

Saturday August 24th. Slow morning today, we only had 6 kids and one adult. That's OK, we have slow days. Gavin came Friday afternoon and I ran him through his purple belt test. He tested this morning with Christopher as his Uke. Gavin started out really well, but as he progressed to the more advanced techniques he started having memory troubles. So instead of the circle grade he started out showing, it ended up as a triangle grade for the test. A pass is a pass. Once you leave the university, most often, nobody cares if you had a 4.0 GPA or a 1.5 GPA. You graduated. I will start teaching on Wednesday afternoons out at the Queen of Peace Academy this week on the 28th. That will continue for 15 weeks. I have 3 students signed up out there so far. Since we have a number of students advancing up on Saturday mornings, and their techniques are becoming more complex, I am starting to do partial stripes on their belts to show that we worked on a technique but it's not yet understood. That gives me a better idea of what to concentrate on the next time they show up. It also shows the students that I am paying attention to how they are progressing even if I don't give them a stripe every week.

Saturday and Sunday Aug. 3rd & 4th.
    This was a terrific weekend. Here in Gainesville, there were 14 kids & teens on the mat, with two adults. Mr. Herron was teaching along with Judith, Joy, Martin, Sandor and Simone, the most senior of the kids and teens students. They actually developed a new routine that the students feel is like another game. Wonderful! We will try that again next time.  
    Sensei Keith, his son Alex and I, along with Ian Phillips from the Aikido Orlando Dojo were up in the Fredericksburg area of Virginia at the Aikido in Fredericks Dojo for the first Nishio Style Aikido seminars East of the Mississippi since well before Nishio Sensei died in 2005. Arisue and Nakamichi Sensei's taught as a team for two seminars on two weekends, the first in New York and the second in Frederiksburg, Va.
     I trained often with these men for about 4+ years until the USS Independence got out of dry dock in late 1994. The last two years of my 6 years, I was out at sea for about 9 months of the year, so I would see them when the Independence was in port. I think Nakamichi Sensei was on 3 or 4 tours I gave my friends and I think Arisue Sensei was on at least one tour. If he didn't tour the ship, it was certainly not a slight. I loved showing everybody my ship! Nishio Sensei was on at least two tours. Nakamichi Sensei was at my retirement ceremony on the ship.
    The seminar was terrific! I learned more in depth about so many things, Aikido, Iaido and various people I know of in Japan. Many things I have been teaching for years were again verified as authentic and correct.
    Also new friends and connections were made with these students who have retired to the eastern U.S. after serving and studying Aikido in Thailand for many years.

This is a video of Saito Sensei teaching a seminar in Japan.  Maybe it's a university aikido club or perhaps multiple universities cause the average age looks like college student ages.  Probably you won't be able to understand the words, but you can still understand the teaching cause it goes more by demonstration than exactly what he says.  I linked it, so you should be able to just click on the url address here.

I stumbled onto an old demonstration by Nishio Sensei.  It's the 11th All Japan Aikido demonstrations.  I think they are up to around 57 now so this must be back in the 1960's  I'm about 85-90% certain the Uke's are Nishimoto Sensei and Masuda Sensei.  Everyone is so much younger than when I practiced with them.  Nishimoto Sensei was my Uke and tested me for Sankyu at the old Matsuo Dojo.  He just called me up near the end of class and had me do techniques.  I didn't even know I was being tested.  How many white belts have a 7th Dan test and Uke for you at the same time.   That was special and I didn't even know it at the time.  I was still pretty clueless at the time.   This is the link to the video:                   

I received this wonderful Thank You from the woman who requested and coordinated bringing the children with Tourette Syndrome to the Saturday morning classes.  She said posting this was great with her.       
Simpson, Heather N.
Mon, March 2019
to Sensei Tom,
Thank you so much for welcoming our group this weekend.  I know that the children loved it and really enjoyed learning the activities.  In particular, while the kids were learning, the parents were bonding and connecting, which was a real bonus to Saturday.
I have taken your flyer and will hand it out whenever possible.
Your program is truly remarkable and I appreciate your kindness to the group.
Most sincerely,
Heather Simpson, OTD, MOT, OTR/L
Tourette Clinic Coordinator
Southeast Regional Centers of Excellence
UF Health Rehab Center at Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases

I received this great email complement from Nathaniel after his first class in Jodo, walking staff, last Thursday evening.  It's so nice I asked him if I could post it on the website.  He said he would be honored.  
Dear Sensei,
        Thank you for writing and for teaching a wonderful class. Having dabbled in various martial arts and numerous dojo’s over the years I have developed a good sense for quality instruction and found it in abundance on Thursday. And I feel very fortunate to be able to receive such a level of instruction within a small class (although I do not expect the class to remain small for long). The commute is a challenge but is what it is. I look forward to seeing you again on Thursday.
Best regards,

This video explains how to perform the first kata of the Aiki Toho Iaido developed by Shoji Nishio Sensei. I also explain about the cutting draw I was taught right from the start of my practice of Iaido. I did not need to change anything when I was introduced to Tasaburo Tokutomi Sensei, master of the Morinaga line of the Toyama-Ryu style of batto-jutsu, cutting of rolled rice straw matting.   Here is the URL of the first Aiki Toho kata

The senior Kids students are not asking to play games at the beginning of class anymore.   They now realize that the Aikido is the "play" and they have graduated to a higher level of play.  I'm  hearing "I love this technique."  or  "This is my favorite Bo kata".    And just a few months ago the statements were "This is hard."  Now it has become "This is fun." 

I have decided to offer extra discounts of extra classes for parents or students who help clean the dojo while their kids or teens are in class.   I'm swamped so much of the time with keeping track of the dojo financially, keeping up the websites, doing maintenance, processing new videos and such that the cleaning is not up to snuff.   I think this can work out as a win-win for the dojo and the parents.  

The Aikido of Gainesville Dojo will be closed on Tuesdays during the day.   I might be there to do maintenance, but I will not be teaching on Tuesdays.  There will regularly be a Free Community Service Aikido Class on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8pm.  Tuesday Evening practices may not always be open.   Please call ahead of time to determine if there will be a class that evening.  Call first Jun Evangelista 352-222-0872.  If no answer or Jun is not teaching, call Keith McInnis rd352-258-4725.