We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Arizona Aikido to offer the Japanese martial art of Aikido to all Phoenix Friends School students. Aikido focuses on harmonizing with your opponent to bring peaceful resolutions to conflict. It’s just one way we create unique student experiences that feed a sense of inquiry, reflection, action, and discovery.

Aikido Instructor Ray Perales shares below the specific benefits Aikido offers to middle school students.

It is apparent by simply reading the newspapers that our nation is facing a challenge to our public sense of acceptable social behavior. Everywhere we look we seem to be confronted with reports of violence and abuse. More recently we’ve experienced an increase in violence against Asian Americans.

There are many paths that lead to a reduction in the destructive behaviors that we see exhibited so blatantly in various media. Solutions range from public safety concerns such as more policemen and jails, to public health measures such as more treatment centers, counseling and education. Still another set of solutions rest in the area of individual and social responsibility, coupled with a greater awareness and tolerance for different cultures.

It is in the arena of individual and social responsibility that Aikido can have a tremendous influence. The Aiki-Youth Program uses many tried and effective tools of personal growth and development (such as self-esteem enhancement and appropriate situational decision-making exercises) and adds a unique approach – participation in one of the traditional Japanese martial arts, Aikido. We do not teach young people to fight but rather teach them a means to non-aggressive problem resolution, self-discipline and cooperative goal achievement. We teach a curriculum-based program that promotes health and personal development.

The “Aiki-Youth” program teaches young people the necessary skills to confront and overcome the various negative influences and stressful situations that they deal with, and successfully respond to these issues in an appropriate manner, thereby developing a mind-set that promotes good decision making and positive social interaction.

In the present time, though influenced by ancient combative arts, the Aikido practitioners no longer use the martial arts of Japan for combat. Through time, they can become reliable self-defense skills. In modern times, they are practiced for educational values, aiming to encompass spiritual, moral, cultural, and physical growth.

For many people, learning the martial arts of Japan is a great way to learn about the country’s history, language and arts in general.

Raymond Perales, Instructor (Sensei),
Tom Haines, Chief Instructor (Dojo Cho)
Arizona Aikido

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