CAT STRADA SENSEI
Dojo Cho, Co-Chief Instructor
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 Applied Aikido 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 have inspired and do inspire my Aikido especially Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan and Jeff Sodeman Sensei, Frank Doran Shihan, Christian Tissier Shihan, Mary Heiny Sensei, Morihiko Murashige Shihan, Lia Suzuki Sensei, tactical combative & Systema Instructor Ken Good, and Lisa Tomoleoni Sensei.