Arizona Aikido

Arizona Aikido


Arizona Aikido Agatsu Dojo Aiki-Youth Program. Come train with us, we have fun while learning Aikido as Budo.
Guiding new Aikidoka...
First lessons with Shinai.
This year's 2021 virtual Arizona Matsuri features demonstrations from Martial Arts groups across various disciplines including Arizona Bujinkan Ninpo & Budo Kai Dojo, Nansei Dojo, Shinkendo & Aikibujutsu, Arizona Aikido, Arizona Budokan, Meifu Shinkage Ryu Arizona Keikokai, and more!

Check our complete schedule for when you can catch your favorites during our live stream this weekend (Feb 27 & 28) starting at 10am. Watch LIVE via our website, page, or YouTube channel.


Arizona Aikido is a non-profit, Arizona corporation.We are affiliated with Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. We welcome all styles to practice with us.

If you are visiting Phoenix, drop by! New students are welcome to observe and/or participate in any classes. Arizona Aikido was founded in 1968 as Arizona Aikikiai by Jon Takagi Sensei, one of the first people to bring Aikido to Arizona. Takagi Sensei was born in 1942 in Honolulu Hawaii. He began his study of Aikido in Hawaii in 1958 under Yukiso Yamamoto Sensei and lsao Takahashi Sensei. Takagi S

Operating as usual

Harvest moon festival in Phoenix is 'based on thanks for nature.' Here's what you can do 10/22/2021

Harvest moon festival in Phoenix is 'based on thanks for nature.' Here's what you can do

Here is a wonderful event from our friends at the Japanese Friendship Garden (Ro Ho En)!

Harvest moon festival in Phoenix is 'based on thanks for nature.' Here's what you can do The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix is hosting a weekend of moon gazing and other cultural activities during its Otsukimi 2021 celebration.

Photos from Arizona Aikido's post 07/19/2021

We remember Sakakibara Sensei fondly on the eighth anniversary of his death on July 22, 2013. Sakakibara Sensei was very important to Arizona Aikido! After the death of Jon Takagi Sensei in February 1984, Sakakibara Sensei stepped in to fill the role of Chief Instructor. He held the dojo together, brought us back into union with Hombu Dojo, and kept us training. He started the first Fall Mountain Camp in Prescott when he saw the need for us to get away from the Valley, to come together as a family and to grieve the loss of Takagi Sensei. Eventually, he turned the dojo over to Tom Haines Sensei, but continued to teach as as Chief Instructor Emeritus. We still miss him and we honor his memory. Read Sensei's biography here: .

One of the ways we remember him is through the Sakakibara Sensei Memorial Scholarship Fund. If you'd like to donate to the Fund, you may do so using the Donate button on our Website:

Timeline photos 05/13/2021

Timeline photos

Remembering Morihiro Saito Sensei: March 31, 1928 - May 13, 2002

Read now:

Written shortly after Saito Sensei’s death, Pranin, in three parts, pays tribute and remembers Saito Sensei as he remembers him, covering his first meeting with Satio Sensei, Saito Sensei’s first visit to California, and Pranin’s experience moving to Japan.


Thanks for your legacy, OSensei!

Dan Inosanto: On Bruce Lee and Aikido – Aikido Journal 04/22/2021

Dan Inosanto: On Bruce Lee and Aikido – Aikido Journal

Dan Inosanto: On Bruce Lee and Aikido – Aikido Journal FeaturedInterviews Dan Inosanto: On Bruce Lee and Aikido Josh Gold3 mins agoAdd comment18 min read In the world of martial arts, Dan Inosanto is a repository of history as well as history in the making. Most known as Bruce Lee’s training partner, confidante, and the most highly ranked by Lee in hi...


Jamie Leno Zimron Sensei comes to Phoenix on occasion! When she does, she'll often grace us with an opportunity to train with her. This is one of those occasions! Don't miss it!

Steele Indian School Park 04/10/2021

Steele Indian School Park

Special Treat - April 18, 2021 - Fitness/Jo/Bokken Class with Jamie Leno Zimron Sensei

Jamie Leno Zimron, 6th dan, will lead this special class outdoors at Steele Indian School Park from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, 2021. Zimron Sensei is a good friend of our dojo and a dynamic instructor. You don't want to miss this class! There is no additional cost for the class, but donations will be gratefully accepted!

We meet on the grassy area on the north side of Steele Indian School Park Road which you can see on this map ( on the west side of the park just off of Central Ave. You may find it easiest to park on the west side of Central Ave. at George and Dragon.

Steele Indian School Park ★★★★★ · City park · 300 E Indian School Rd

Arizona Aikido 03/10/2021

Arizona Aikido

Arizona Aikido participated in the Virtual Matsuri ( in Phoenix this year. View our video presentation on Youtube here:: If you are interested in learning Aikido, reach us through our Contact Us link. on our Website ( or leave a message here.

Arizona Aikido Arizona Aikido, a member of Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, is a community-run school dedicated to the study of the martial art of Aikido


As we said earlier - Waite Sensei was well-respected in the greater Aikido community.

The ASU is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of USAF Shihan, Donovan Waite. This is a huge loss to the Aikido community. Donovan Waite Sensei was a senior USAF instructor, with a home dojo in Philadelphia. He was known around the world, and inspired Aikido students and teachers across different organizations. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his students, teachers, friends and family. Rest in Peace, Donovan Waite Sensei.


We are saddened to learn of the death of Donovan Waite Sensei, 7th dan, USAF, on February 22, 2021. The announcement from the USAF is here:

Waite Sensei was well-respected throughout the Aikido world. He will be greatly missed.


Nice photo of Kanai Sensei, too!

"Yamatogokoro" is the idea that the reason for developing martial arts is to protect those that are unable to protect themselves from aggressors. The proponent of this philosophy devotes himself to development of BUDO in order to protect the security of peaceful people from the victory of cruelty and violence. This idea is at the heart of Aikido. It should be understood that aikido includes a philosophy and ideas that go beyond martial arts defined as the practice of combat techniques.

Therefore, martial arts are included in Aikido, but Aikido goes beyond martial arts. Aikido stands for the idea that Budo, the principle of confrontation, and the principle of non-confrontation can be synthesized without compromising any of their fundamental essence."

Excerpt from "Technical Aikido"
by Mitsunari Kanai (1939-2004)
8th Dan

Lifting the Veil: Aikido Opens to the World - Aikido Sangenkai 02/11/2021

Lifting the Veil: Aikido Opens to the World - Aikido Sangenkai

Lifting the Veil: Aikido Opens to the World - Aikido Sangenkai The story of the first public demonstration of Aikido to be held after World War II, and the opening of Aikido to the world.

Timeline Photos 12/29/2020

We received news on December 28, 2020, that Claire Conway had died. Many of us knew Claire well. She was a presence at our Fall Mountain Camp for many years. She supported our dojo by attending our seminars. She was beloved by all who knew her. Her presence among us will be greatly missed! Rest in peace, Claire!

Today I got the sad news that my friend Claire Conway passed away. For as long as I can remember, Claire was practicing Aikido in Tucson and helping others on their martial journey. She was the kindly dojo "grandmother" who had an encouraging and wise word for all. Our paths first crossed about 20 years ago, and I remember her as an ambassador for the arts who worked tirelessly to bring Aikido to generations of excited practitioners. From kids to seniors, Claire worked quietly to ensure that all had a good experience. Her assistance and administration allowed her dojo to thrive, and she planted many seeds of budo--and of compassion--that will last far into future.

Claire never sought to be "budo famous." She didn't seek out rank or titles or recognition. She sought to further Aikido, selflessly and tirelessly. Tucson martial arts are much better for her efforts, and we are all much poorer for her loss. I will miss her very much.

Thank you, Claire, for your influence and example.

Photos from Aiki Shrine's post 12/25/2020

Photos from Aiki Shrine's post

TAM Winter Zoom Seminar, January 9&10, 2021 12/25/2020

TAM Winter Zoom Seminar, January 9&10, 2021

TAM Winter Zoom Seminar, January 9&10, 2021 Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan & Wendy Palmer Sensei Aikido of Tamalpais Winter Seminar Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan & Wendy Palmer Sensei Saturday January 9 & Sunday January 10 10am-12pm PST Where: Zoom Wendy Palmer


This photo is from our last seminar with Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan in December 2019, when we were still able to get together, i.e., before the COVID-19 pandemic. THIS year, we'll train with Ikeda Sensei virtually! Our Annual Ikeda Seminar will be held December 12, 2020, via Zoom! There will be two sessions, one from 10:00 a.m. to Noon (MST), and the second from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (MST). The cost for the seminar is $35.00. Register via Paypal below.

If you need to register with a check, please make it payable to Arizona Aikido and send it, along with your email address, to: Arizona Aikido, 2416 S. Mulberry, Mesa, AZ 85202.

Ikeda Sensei has been teaching weekly classes on his approach to internal power. This seminar will also focus on internal power. This is an essential skill, whether you are a beginner or an advanced Aikidoka.

All proceeds from this seminar go to Ikeda Sensei.

We hope you'll plan to attend! We look forward to seeing you online!

Download a flyer here:

Please register here ( for the Ikeda Sensei Zoom seminar. The cost for the seminar is $35. You'll need to enter your email address and name. We'll send you a link for the seminar before December 12!

Kevin Choate's Syncopated Jo Kata by Marsha Turner 6th Dan 11/18/2020

Kevin Choate's Syncopated Jo Kata by Marsha Turner 6th Dan

Check out Kevin Choate Sensei's "Syncopated Jo Kata" taught by Marsha Turner Sensei of the Chicago Aikikai!

Kevin Choate's Syncopated Jo Kata by Marsha Turner 6th Dan


Our Annual Winter Seminar this year will be a set of Zoom sessions with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei on Saturday, December 12, 2020. Details will be forthcoming shortly! SAVE THE DATE!

This photo is from 2018... when we could actually train IN the dojo!


Letter from the Editor: November 2020

The winds of change are upon us. The United States is transitioning to new political leadership and much of the world is entering winter and facing the most dangerous phase yet of the pandemic. We’ve lost many aikido dojos around the world, and nearly every dojo has lost members. The very soul of our art is human connection, which we have largely turned away from for the common good.

We don’t know what the future holds for the aikido community and what our infrastructure will look like when we emerge from the pandemic. We do know that it will be our generation, those of us reading this editorial now, who will be responsible for the very survival of the art. I’m not a historian, as my predecessor, Stanley Pranin was, but I do believe that our generation will become known as one of most pivotal in the history of the art of aikido.

As we all find our way through this unique time in history, we can use this moment not just to hold our communities together, but to reflect and plan. What can we do through the remainder of the pandemic to best position us for its end? And what strategies will we pursue to preserve our art and create a more meaningful place for it in today’s society?

This is a time to ask the hard questions:

-What does our community look like now- demographically and organizationally? What‘s left of our infrastructure?

-What is the essence of what we are practicing?

-What should the role(s) of aikido be in today’s world?

-How can we best recover from this crisis?

Through the remainder of the year, Aikido Journal will be exploring these questions and looking at ideas and perspectives from both the past and present. We will be republishing interviews with members of the Ueshiba family, editorials from Aikido Journal’s founder, and pieces from others with keen insights into the essence of aikido. We will also be publishing new articles that outline key demographics of the global aikido community and highlight some forward thinking ideas and initiatives that have recently emerged. Lastly, we’ll have some announcements about products we have in development that I’m very excited about.

Now, more than ever, we need knowledge, ideas, and skilled leaders with the conviction to shape our future.

We hope you’ll join the conversation.

Josh Gold
Executive Editor // Aikido Journal


I’ve decided to update my Kiai illustration. My social interaction is seriously affected by wearing a mask. I tend to be sarcastic and I joke a lot, but as long as you can see my smile, you know that I’m kidding. But now I need to be extra cautious with every word that comes out of my mouth… My smile, my necessary social lubricant is gone, hidden by a mask. I can’t go back on the mat yet but some in our dojo are back training with masks… I’m wondering what impact it might have on the way we interact and practice together.


Free Community Call: LGBTQ+ in Aikido | Aikido Kenkyukai International, USA

Free Community Call: LGBTQ+ in Aikido | Aikido Kenkyukai International, USA 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.

Photos from Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix's post 11/02/2020

Photos from Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix's post

Photos from Aikido Sangenkai's post 11/02/2020

Photos from Aikido Sangenkai's post

Choate Sensei Remembrance 10/17/2020

Choate Sensei Remembrance

Choate Sensei Remembrance

Aiki 2-Sword Drills - Waki Dachi and Waka Dachi 10/17/2020

Aiki 2-Sword Drills - Waki Dachi and Waka Dachi

Aiki 2-Sword Drills - Waki Dachi and Waka Dachi Two-sword blocking and entering drills from waki dachi (horse stance) and waka dachi (open stance). Sensei Guy Hagen Ukes: Sensei Jon Posnick Sensei Barry En...


Aiki base 1


On Saturday, October 17, 2020, Jim Carter and Annetta Luce will conduct a workshop called An Introduction to Safe Falling. Download a flyer here: The workshop will be held at the dojo, 939 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85013, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. We are asking for a $10 donation.

Timeline photos 10/10/2020

Timeline photos

We are so happy to receive the graphic contribution of Mr. Francesco Dessi, founder of Budobooks - - as a donation of his company for the IAF, in order to promote Aikido for the new generation, especially now, in the time of the pandemic!

He created 10 cartoons, representing the 7 budo-values connected to the 7 folds of the Hakama, in combination with the values of the IOC (Friendship, Respect and Excellence by Cooperation).

The cartoons will be send to our members in a printable version.


Kobudo demonstration in Asakusa (2019)

Photos from Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix's post 10/07/2020

Photos from Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix's post


10 March 2022

Current Class Schedule

Weapons in the Park: Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at Steele Indian School Park

Classes IN the Dojo

Monday - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. - ZOOM Class with Ikeda Sensei
Tuesday - 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - Children's Aikido Class
Tuesday - 6:30 p.m. - 7:20 p.m. - Aiki-Budo
Wednesday - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Low-impact Aikido
Thursday - 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Children's Aikido Class
Thursday - 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Karate
Thursday - 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Aikido, Supplementary Practice, Open mat
Friday - 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. - Aikido Open Class
Friday - 7:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. - Aikido
Saturday - 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Weapons at the Japanese Friendship Garden (EXTRA COST CLASS)
Saturday - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Aikido - Beginner to Advanced.
Sunday - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Karate

We recommend that you wear a mask. Hand sanitizer is available and should be used regularly by everyone! Mats and surfaces are sanitized regularly.


This is theme based Aiki Shrine event open to all members of ASU regardless of rank. Since 2020 has been a year of major upheavel in all of our lives this theme will touch everyone. Saotome Sensei's message has always been that our daily lives and our Aikido lives are the same and we must adapt to our current conditions.


We knew we had this photo of Thomas Haines, Patty Saotome, and Bob Frumhoff, taken at the Grand Canyon in 1992(?) somewhere, but managed to obtain a copy from Rich Facer yesterday! Thanks Rich!


Wonderful memorial celebration today (Sunday, 9/27) for Patty Saotome Sensei!


Yamaguchi at Honbu Dojo #3

Our Story

Arizona Aikido was founded in 1968 as Arizona Aikikiai by Jon Takagi Sensei, one of the first people to bring Aikido to Arizona. ( Takagi Sensei was born in 1942 in Honolulu Hawaii. He began his study of Aikido in Hawaii in 1958 under Yukiso Yamamoto Sensei and lsao Takahashi Sensei. Takagi Sensei later moved to New York, where he continued to train in Aikido under Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, the head of the New York Aikikai and the Eastem Region of the United Stated Aikido Federation.

After riding his motorcycle across the United States, Takagi Sensei settled in Phoenix. He came here with his wife, Linda, whom he had met in Hawaii. Wanting to bring Aikido to the area, he became the founder and first sensei of Arizona Aikikai in 1968. The dojo's first location was the downtown YMCA. There, he met Judo instructor Tsuneji Sakakibara Sensei. The two men met when Takagi Sensei visited Sakakibara Sensei's Judo class. Sakakibara Sensei became interested in Aikido and went to see the class. He joined the class as one of Takagi Sensei‘s first Aikido students, and later became one of Takagi's associate instructors.

Within a year, Arizona Aikikai moved to a new location at 817 N. First Street, fondly remembered by those who were there as," The First Street Dojo." Takagi Sensei had a house in back of the dojo, where he lived with his wife and children. He also ran a business, Takagi Imports, out of the front of the dojo.

At the First Street Dojo, classes were held six days a week. There were 30 or 40 members in the early 70's. There were day classes and kids' classes in addition to the usual evening classes. Takagi Sensei encouraged teaching by kyu-rank members and was especially fond of having these students lead warm-ups and ki exercises.

At its start, Arizona Aikikai reported directly to Aikido Headquarters, Honbu Dojo, in Japan. The head instructor under O'Sensei at Honbu Dojo was Koichi Tohei Sensei, who was largely responsible for bringing Aikido to the United States, beginning in Hawaii.

When O‘Sensei died in 1969, his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, became Aikido's Doshu, meaning "master of the way." Tohei Sensei continued on as head instructor for a while under Kisshommaru Ueshiba. In 1974, Tohei Sensei left Honbu Dojo to found Ki No Kenkyukai, also known as Ki Society. At that time, out of allegiance to Tohei Sensei, Arizona Aikikai and Takagi Sensei followed and became part of Ki Society, as did many other sensei and dojo. Arizona Aikikai was a Ki Society dojo for several years, under Rod Kobayashi Sensei, then head of the Western Region. By the early 1980’s, Arizona Aikikai had left Ki Society when Takagi Sensei, along with Fumio Toyoda Sensei of Chicago, founded a new organization, Aikido Association of America.

Jon Takagi Sensei led Arizona Aikikai successfully through many changes over sixteen years. His life suddenly and unexpectedly came to an end on February 5, 1984. He was riding his bicycle with one of his students, Janice Dee, when they were both hit and killed by a drunk driver.

After Takagi Sensei's death, Tsuneji Sakakibara Sensei took the position of chief instructor. During reorganization, we adopted our current name, Arizona Aikido. The dojo was also forced to move, and found a temporary location at 7th Street north of McDowell Road. Widening of 7th Street made another move necessary. We spent the next 30 years at the Asian Arts Center at 5th Avenue and Van Buren. In October 2016, we moved into our current location at 939 W. Camelback Rd.

Another change for the dojo was reestablishing our connection with Honbu Dojo in Japan. We affiliated with the United States Aikido Federation (U.S.A.F) under T.K. Chiba Sensei in 1985. By 1990, we decided that our interests would be better served in maintaining our connection with Honbu Dojo under Mitsugi Saotome Sensei and Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (A.S.U.). Saotome Sensei is a direct student of O' Sensei and was an instructor at Honbu Dojo for many years before establishing A.S.U. in America. A.S.U. reports directly to Honbu Dojo and the current Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, O' Sensei's grandson.

Sakakibara Sensei served as chief instructor from 1984 until 2010. He was a 6th degree black belt. Sakakibara Sensei died July 22, 2013. Tom Haines Sensei took on the role of chief instructor in 2010 and also serves as President and as a member of the Board of Directors of Arizona Aikido. Haines Sensei holds a 6th degree black belt.

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