About Our School

The guiding purpose of the Aikido of Suenaka-Ha of Bloomington is to continue to spread the understanding and practice of Suenaka-Ha Aikido into the Midwest area. Much as the motivations of O'Sensei when he traveled to Hawaii in 1961 to introduce and spread Aikido, so are our desires to share this wonderful and dynamic art with you.

Our atmosphere is familial and supporting. What sets us apart is our approach to training: traditional, serious, and committed. We seek various ways to enrich our practice by focusing on the world outside of ourselves through commitment to each other and to our community.

The ideal Aikido student

Aikido is practiced by individuals from all walks of life, both young and old. We accept new students on an ongoing and contingent basis, which provides an opportunity to evaluate a mutual fit for continued studies. We encourage individuals of reasonable fitness levels to consider Aikido practice as a key supplement to a healthy and active lifestyle. Please note, the minimum age to train is 16 years with the provision they are studying with one of their parents.

Aikido study is a lifelong journey in which we seek to take a balanced approach to our training in mind, body, and physical development, which benefits us both on and off the mat. Prospective students will find our approach to Aikido reasonable and motivating. Over time, continued and regular practice will lead to increased levels of fitness and participation. Reasonable accommodation will be made in the case of physical limitations, to ensure a safe and productive practice atmosphere for everyone. As the great swordsman Miyamoto Mushasi once said, it may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first.

How to get started

All that is required to join is a decision to visit our school to observe or participate in a free class. First-time students should wear comfortable clothing such as a t-shirt and sweats that allow for comfortable movement. Shorts are not recommended, due to tumbling and groundwork activities.

Classes are on-going and new students are welcome to start at any time. Every class reviews the fundamental techniques of how to fall and roll safely, basic techniques, as well as basic stretching and warmup exercises.
New students are always welcome – after all, we were all beginners once!

Please visit our How to Join page for class times and fees. You will also find our Frequently Asked Questions and Rules & Etiquette pages helpful.

Your Instructor

Senseis Suenaka and Laudeman Paul Laudeman Shihan is currently ranked Yondan (4th-degree black belt) in Wadokai Aikido under Roy Suenaka Sensei and has been training in a variety of martial arts since an early age.

In 2005, Laudeman Shihan began his training in Aikido under Jerome Legions Shihan in Ashland, Virginia. Since relocating to Indiana in 2007 and opening the Bloomington dojo, Laudeman Shihan has continued his studies directly with Suenaka Sensei at camps and seminars.

In mid-2017, Laudeman Shihan celebrated the opening of the Indianapolis dojo by Dusty Blair Sensei, a former student of the Bloomington dojo.

Next, Learn about our Training Methods...