Aiki Friendships Beyond Borders was awesome!

Greetings, Aiki Friends from around the world! Were you there? I kind of feel sorry for the folks who missed it. We had a great time.

  • Aiki Friendships Beyond Borders was a global online Aikido conference that happened May 1st-3rd, 2020, during the COVID-19 #StayAtHome orders. It was a fantastic event! Surprisingly personal and highly interactive, with excellent classes all weekend.
  • I taught a class for/about new students. You can see (below) the slide deck (a high-level outline – not the whole class) and the list of books I recommended during my presentation. Soon I’ll have video of the whole talk, too.
  • To see announcements of future events like this, follow Aiki Friendships on Facebook, and check Bogdan Heretoiu’s Arts4Hope site.

Here’s the info about my presentation…

A Bit About Me

Hi, I’m Linda, and I am on a mission to empower people. I’m a writer, a personal trainer, and a nidan in Aikido. I’ve been sharing my experiences as an Aikido student since I first stepped on the mat in 2009. You can find my writing here at, and soon in several books that I’m working on now.

It’s my goal to apply my background in psychology, technical communication, user experience (UX), coaching, and Aikido to encourage beginners to get started in Aikido, to stick with it, and to get the most from their training.

My Class: “Beginning Aikido”

Topic: Beginning Aikido — Getting Started, Sticking With It, & Getting the Most From Your Training — a class for new students (and their teachers, too).

I started training at the age of 46. I was not the brightest student, or the most athletic. Aikido didn’t come easily to me, but I loved it, and I kept at it. I know from long personal experience how hard it is to walk in the dojo door that first time, how frustrating when you can hardly tell right from left, front from back, and how unfamiliar the words and etiquette can seem.

Students often feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Some quit, and that’s a shame – for them, for their dojos, and for the Aikido community.

In my own training, and through years of mentoring and teaching others, I’ve discovered concepts, practices, analogies, cues, and more that can help beginners catch on, hang in there, and feel successful, confident, and patient in their own learning process. In my presentation I shared some of these ideas.

If you were there, I hope you enjoyed my session. I’ll be posting the video here eventually. Everyone can benefit from helping beginners succeed. You should especially check out the video if …

  • You are thinking about training in Aikido.
  • You are just starting out – from a few days, to a few years.
  • You are returning to Aikido after some time away.
  • You are “stuck” and could use a fresh perspective.
  • You are a senior student training with beginners.
  • You are just beginning to teach classes on your own.
  • You are a senior teacher with beginning students.

Hey, that’s pretty much everyone!

Presentation Slides & Book List

FYI: Video coming soon…

Thank you to everyone who came to my presentation! Pretty high-level outline, but they may trigger your memories or ideas.

Here are the books I recommended. They are loosely related to the three sections, but there’s a lot of crossover. They are all relevant throughout our training. Remember, we can learn about Aikido from books. We learn to do Aikido hands-on, from our teachers, in the dojo.

Getting Started

  • In the Dojo — A Guide to the Rituals and Etiquette of the Japanese Martial Arts, by Dave Lowry
  • Aikido Sketch Diary — Dojo 365 Days, by Gaku Homma Sensei (a free, downloadable PDF on the Nippon-Kan dojo website)
  • The Language of Aikido — A Practitioner’s Guide to Japanese Characters and Terminology, by Michael Hacker

Sticking With It

  • The Way of Aikido — Life Lessons from an American Sensei, by George Leonard
  • Horsemanship Through Life, by Mark Rashid

Getting the Most Out of Your Training

  • Mastery — The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, by George Leonard
  • The Intuitive Body — Discovering the Wisdom of Conscious Embodiment and Aikido, by Wendy Palmer

To find more books on some of these books, and others I recommend, check out my article, Aikido Books.

Since you’re here, why not look around?

Here are a few good starting points:

Japanese Words in Aikido — My posts about learning the terminology we use in Aikido, including some of the first words students hear, words about weapons, and more.

Aikido to Zanshin – 26 Essays on the Martial Art of Peace — This series is for anyone with even a casual interest in Aikido.

Deshi Dreams & Tetsudai Tips — How students at all levels can achieve the kind of intensive training experience they might want, and how to contribute to the dojo community.

Speaking of dreams, here’s An Aikido Dream I had a few months after I started training, and had experienced a frustrating class. It’s a vivid glimpse into how utterly lost a new student can feel.

For a personal perspective, here are some of My Favorite Posts.

All the basic info at a glance!
Check out all the classes and presentations!
Subject to change, of course. Be sure to visit the event site for up-to-date info.
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