CAT STRADA SENSEI, 4 Dan
Dojo Cho, Co-Chief Instructor
Cat Strada- 4 Dan started aikido in 2007 under Jeff Sodeman Sensei, a student of Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, at Jiai Aikido Dojo in San Diego where she has been Dojo Cho since 2011. She is a Member of Aikido Shimbokukai, on their Weapons Committee, and holds the title of Fukushidoin since 2017. Strada Sensei started training Systema in 2005 under Certified Instructor Sodeman, and currently runs the San Diego Systema training and study group. She has traveled extensively in her aikido career including to the Aikido & Systema Bridge Seminar in Moscow, Russia.
Some of her influences include her students, and Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, Jeff Sodeman Sensei, Lisa Tomoleoni Shihan, Morihiko Murashige Shihan, and Mary Heiny Shihan.
"I started Aikido at Jiai in 2007 under Jeff Sodeman Sensei. The dojo let us explore Aikido without boundaries, visit other dojos, and cross train other arts. Classes were fun, tough but safe, and the dojo was welcoming. O'Sensei's philosophy of harmonious resolutions to conflict was an idea I never heard, and needed.
So, I spent the following years immersed in aikido, dedicated to my dojo,
training systema, and seminar traveling.
My classes teach clean, traditional waza and fundamentals first, while learning what a new student's interests & needs are. There are so many reasons to do Aikido... 'Self-defense' is one small aspect, and an immaterial one at highest levels of Aiki which can take years to attain. So, if a student is also interested in physical defense quickly, its important they aren't misled into false confidence. For those students I push hard with elements uncommon in many dojos, like safely receiving strikes, kicks, ground & wall work, or falling outside. I feel those students interested, deserve an ability to protect them self and others using basic natural techniques, while they work on traditional aikido refinement and principles. Our unique 'No-Gi" (no-uniform) aikido classes and Systema / Aikido hybrid classes aid us in this."
We also train psyche and dynamic ukemi, learning how to connect to people and move through fear/tension as ukes being thrown freely with no expectations. This makes it possible to understand ourselves and others better,
open our hearts & minds, and work freely as nages (throwing).
Many inspire my Aikido especially Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan and Jeff Sodeman Sensei, Frank Doran Shihan, Christian Tissier Shihan, Mary Heiny Sensei, Morihiko Murashige Shihan, coaches from 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu and systema seminars, and my students.