I’ve been training at Brooklyn Aikikai for about five years and was very excited when my daughter was old enough to start. She can be quite shy, and I hoped aikido would be a way for her to work on that. My wife and I have both seen her grow in confidence, focus, and assertiveness in her time at the dojo. Kate Sensei’s level of experience not just with aikido, but also working with children is an impressive thing to see in action. There is a simultaneous sense of disciplined focus AND fun humor that permeates the kids class. I think that’s an invaluable, and special environment and I’m excited to have my daughter be a part of it.
Over the four years that our boys, ages 9 and 11, have trained with Sensei Kate at Brooklyn Aikikai, they have progressed from beginners to green belts, but more importantly, they have gained self-knowledge and self-discipline. Sensei has taught them to achieve focus and respect for the practice and their fellow students, while also building confidence in their physical abilities. Attendance at the dojo, which is a lovely and calm space, is a highlight of their week, and they have particularly enjoyed summer camp, with its combination of cultural and physical activities. It’s been a privilege to be part of this wonderful community.
My son Linus (9) has been training at Brooklyn Aikikai with Sensei Kate for the past two years. Linus is not a “sports kid”, (he doesn’t love soccer or baseball) and prefers chess and card games. However, he loves aikido! The classes are structured, yet at the same time are fun for the kids. Sensei Kate does an amazing job teaching, always encouraging them to better themselves, being more aware of their surroundings and focused, as well as being respectful of others. As a parent, I have personally noticed a HUGE improvement in Linus’ ability to focus, his physical strength and control, self-reliance as well as an improvement in his overall self-confidence. As a budo practitioner, I appreciate the authenticity that Brooklyn Aikikai offers. The dojo is a transformative and welcoming space, everyone is greeted with a warm “Onegai shimasu" (お願いします) and learns proper dojo etiquette. Most importantly, the kids learn proper technique from real practitioners. Classes are taught by Sensei Kate and usually assisted by one or two ranked adults. They are extremely patient and explain the techniques in fun ways the kids can relate to (ex: Crazy Monkey!). Every class ends with a fun game and with a bit of meditation. I am extremely proud of what Linus has accomplished in the past two years with their guidance and we are very happy to be part of the BKLYN Aikikai family.
BETSY F. AND LISA M.
Our son Theo, 8, has trained at the dojo for almost a year now and it's proved to be a very important place for him to not only learn excellent aikido techniques, but also to learn about his own energy—how to find his center, create balance and expand his awareness. In his own words, “Every day Sensei says you're receiving a new rank. You're working up by practicing a lot. You work towards your goal in aikido and it builds off how much you practice... You have to practice and practice for months, but eventually you get there and when the tests come you are ready because you've been practicing.” I feel confident, having practiced aikido myself for many years, that Theo's training is already helping him with many of life's tests—both on the mat and off. We're very grateful to be part of the dojo community.
Brooklyn Aikikai is the real deal! Our intuition brought us here more than a year ago and we’ve become increasingly grateful to witness Sensei’s positive effect on our son (now 7), the students, and the broader community. Saturday morning trips to the dojo have become a delightful ritual in and of themselves. Kate Sensei and the energy of the dojo strengthen this ritual, providing a supportive environment where disciplined progression of skills and technique adapts to all levels in the class. Beyond the physical training, Sensei’s guidance provides an even more important message uniting all students - respect for self and each other, and a principled pursuit of kaizen. We’ve witnessed Dylan’s undying and humbled commitment to aikido and the dojo like no other activity and believe it has honed his self-awareness and enhanced his leadership skills inside and outside the classroom. Kate Sensei and Brooklyn Aikikai lean into the concept of struggle and harness this energy to communicate the importance of commitment in each class. We sought an authentic experience for our children that prepares them for life beyond the mat. Brooklyn Aikikai is it.
My son, Shaylem, has been coming to Brooklyn Aikikai for over four years now. Kate and the other teachers have been such gentle, clear-minded guides for him on this path. He has gained agility, confidence, a sense of discipline and commitment to this amazing martial art. And most importantly, he loves it. He insists on coming, even on cold rainy Saturday mornings. Kate runs a tight ship, but is unerringly fair and light-handed in her relationships with each child. We are so grateful that this program and community exist.