Think martial arts is about the fight culminating in death to the defeated, as we are so delightfully shown in the 1980s cult classic ‘Bloodsport’? Well, aikido doesn’t subscribe to such aggression. ‘I like to think of aikido as a conflict resolution martial art where there is no winner or loser, but through the conflict, a new direction is recognized that both the attacker and the attacked can follow to create resolution,’ says Kahlil Johnson, an instructor at Truckee Aikido and thirddegree black belt. In a noncompetitive atmosphere, aikido focuses on creating harmony and cooperation to redirect or dissolve forces of attack.

If you’re feeling a little fight or flighty this New Year, there’s no better time than now to get into this fast-growing practice. Truckee Aikido is currently offering an intro course that runs Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., through February 10 at the Vets Hall. No experience is necessary, or any special equipment. You’ll leave with self confidence, awareness, balance, and inner strength.

Take it from Luther Dulaney, a Truckee Aikido student and Squaw Valley ski patroller, who picked up the practice in college. ‘After my first class I was hooked,’ he wrote. ‘I came out feeling like someone had energized my whole body. My wrists and arms felt like I had done ten yoga classes at once.’

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Dulaney has translated Aikido, which he calls ‘yoga on steroids,’ to the slopes, and considers the practice off-mountain ski training. ‘Aikido took my flexibility to a place beyond what yoga was doing for me. I was learning to move in a way where my body was forced to stay in balance and centered. The art was giving my flexibility a purpose, adding a dynamic component that I found directly correlated to all my athletic pursuits.’  

So forget all the Hollywood hullabaloo of chase scenes and hot fighting action. The best way to deal with conflict — and ski better, to boot — is somewhere in between.

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