CAT STRADA SENSEI, 4 Dan - Dojo Cho & Co-Chief Instructor
San Diego Systema 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, and holds the title of Shidoin since 2022. Strada Sensei started training Systema in 2005 under Certified Instructor Sodeman, and currently runs the San Diego Systema 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,
Lisa Tomoleoni Shihan, Jeff Sodeman Sensei, Morihiko Murashige Shihan, Mary Heiny Shihan,
Vladimir Vasiliev and her BJJ coaches at Victory Gym.
"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. 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).