About Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art created during the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba. Morihei Ueshiba was an expert who reached the highest level of mastery in the classical Japanese martial arts.

Aikido is a very dynamic martial art that focuses on avoiding blows and using your opponent's energy to gain control of him. Punching and kicking are not central in Aikido techniques. Rather, the emphasis is on developing a good sense of timing and distance so you can use joint locks and throws to overcome your opponent.


Santa Rosa Aikikai is a member of Aikido UnEnKai under the direction of I. Shibata, 8th Dan, Shihan. Aikido UnEnKai is directly connected to Aikido Hombu Dojo.

Aikido Hombu Dojo, located in Tokyo, is the Aikido World Headquarters. The current director is Moriteru Ueshiba, grandson of the founder.


Daniele Knab, 5th degree black belt, Shidoin

Daniele Knab started Aikido in 1983. She trained in France for 15 years and in Hombu Dojo Japan for one year before joining Berkeley Aikikai where she studied Aikido with Shibata Shihan. She completed the Kenshusei program which is an intensive Aikido training program. She is a shidoin - certified instructor - of Aikido Unenkai.

Spencer Smith, 5th degree black belt, Shidoin

Spencer Smith started Aikido in 1995. He studied Aikido with Shibata Shihan at Berkeley Aikikai. He completed the Kenshusei program as well and is a shidoin of Aikido Unenkai.


Schedule & Fees


5:30 - 6:30 pm: Body Arts & Weapons, all levels

5:30 - 6:30 pm: Body Arts, all levels


Monthly dues (due on the 1st of each month)
Regular: $100
Student and unemployed: $80

Annual fee: $30 (due on January 1st)

Mat fee: $15 (one class, for visitors only)

Free Trial

If you are interested in joining us, we recommend that you come and watch a class.

We also offer free trial classes the last week of every month for those who would like to get a feeling for the practice. A uniform is not required during these classes.



Class Types

We offer the following classes at Santa Rosa Aikikai:

Body Art

Aikido is typically practiced empty-handed and in pairs. In Aikido you always practice with a partner, because the encounter is a key element in martial arts. One person attacks, the other person applies the technique. Roles are then switched.


The weapons used in Aikido are bokken (wooden sword), jo (staff), and tanto (wooden knife). The basic steps and postures used in weapons practice are the same as those used in Aikido. Therefore, practicing weapons gives us an opportunity to focus on these parts of our movement. Practicing weapons is also an extremely useful way to study the notions of distance and timing.

Note : At present we do not offer classes for children. Teenagers 14 years or older are welcome to join adult classes pending instructor approval.

Beginner's Class

During each class we offer separate, dedicated instruction for beginners until the falls and basic movements are understood. This means beginners can join the dojo any time. Students are integrated into our mixed classes when the student and instructor agree they are ready.

Rank System

There are 2 types of grades. Kyu grades, which go from 5th kyu to 1st kyu, and dan grades which start at 1st dan. All kyu grades wear a white belt. Starting with 1st dan (shodan) you wear a black belt and a hakama.

You need to have the required number of practice days before applying for an examination. For reference see the Aikikai Foundation Grading Examination System.


The Aikido uniform is a white gi, it is required for practice. A Judo gi is fine, but Aikido gis have shorter sleeves which is more convenient during practice. After 1st dan a hakama is needed.

Aikido gis, hakamas, and weapons can easily be found online for different prices and quality. For convenience here are some websites, but we don't particularly recommend any.

  • Tozando (this is a Japanese company, but delivery is fast)
  • E-Bogu
  • HSU

    Contact & Location

    Contact Us

    Don't hesitate to call or email us if you need further information.

    Tel: (707) 595-8877


    Practice is held at the Valley Oak Room of the Finley Community Center.

    2060 West College Ave
    Santa Rosa 95401