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New Aikido Dojo Offering Open House on Saturday

The school has moved into a plaza at 500 Talcottville Road.

Aikido Hartford, a martial arts school, will host an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at its new dojo in Vernon.

The school is located at 500 Talcottville Road. Aikido Hartford offers classes seven days a week for men and women ages 13 and up.

Michael Sheahon, seventh-degree black belt and master instructor, will lead a sixth-degree white-belt grading test from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and lead a mixed-levels class from 10 to 11 a.m. He will lead demonstrations at the top of each hour all day.

Sheahon founded Aikido Hartford, previously known as the Greater Hartford Aikikai, in 1994. He is the chief instructor and holds the rank of shihan, the highest rank awarded by the U.S. Aikido Federation and the Aikikai Foundation. The federation is affiliated with the Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo, Japan, and is the aikido world headquarters and parent organization for the development and expansion of aikido throughout the world. The Japanese government officially recognized the foundation in 1940.

Sheahon has trained 19 aikido students to ranks between first-degree black belt and fifth-degree black belt. He began practicing aikido in 1972 in Tokyo at the aikido world headquarters where he trained for 12 years. He began teaching aikido in 1978 when he founded the Nonotuck Aikikai (now known as Aikido of Northampton) in Northampton, MA.

Sheahon later served six years as assistant instructor to Seijuro Masuda Shihan at the International Aikido Club in Tokyo. He founded Aikido-Wichita in Kansas in 1989.

Aikido Hartford is one of more than 200 aikido dojos in the country affiliated with the U.S. Aikido Federation based in New York City.

Aikido Hartford classes are open to people of all levels. Martial arts experience is not required to join. Students can attend an unlimited number of classes per month.

Actor Steven Seagal helped popularize aikido in his martial arts movies.

Aikido is a Japanese defensive martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba, thatfocuses on circular movements to avoid and redirect an assailant's attack. Aikidoists use the attacker's force to unbalance and neutralize an assault.

Aikido includes throwing techniques, arm pins, plus wrist and elbow locks. Aikido does not emphasize strength. The techniques rely on the relaxed projection of energy generated by rotating the hips. For more information, visit www.aikidohartford.com.

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