The head instructor at the Aikido Peace Education Center school (dojo) is Rob Staveland, who began practicing both Aikido and Tai Chi in 1978. Rob's practice is gentle – emphasizing practices and principles that do not rely on size, strength, age, or gender, and can be practiced by almost anyone and that apply to everyday life.
Among those methods and principles are:
· alignment – including both our own structural alignment and our alignment with the current that circulates between heaven and earth
· centeredness – developing an awareness of our hara (the physical center of our body’s mass) and its connection with the physical center of the earth. The hara, also known as the still point, is the point from which the movements of Aikido are generated.
· balance – learning not only the sensation of balance in ourselves, but how to find the balance point between polarities that bring them into wholeness.
· listening – the practice of entering into a particular quality of attentive awareness in which we become more present with others and the world (the realm of listening).
The movements of Aikido embody these principles and bring vitality to the body, calm the nervous system, and soothe the soul.