Yes, You can.

Always wanted to study a martial art, but never did? And now that you’re in your 50s, 60s or 70s you think you’re too old? Well, that’s a misconception. Training in a martial art does not mean you’re training to enter an MAA match. That’s generally a young person’s game, anyway.

You can get a lot out of training in aikido besides defensive skills. You’ll see improvements in mobility, flexibility and endurance. You’ll make new friends, have fun and explore the mind/body connection. Learn in a safe and welcoming atmosphere.

Sure you’re nervous, unsure. So pay us a visit and get answers to your questions. You can also check this website for Frequently Asked Questions.



Above Our Dojo Entrance


In good standing…..

SMA is in good standing with MD Department of Assessments and Taxation.


Class Schedule

Class are being held Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 and Saturday mornings from 9 to 11.
Students attending Monday and Wednesday evening classes have been fully vaccinated. We ask all those wishing to join to get vaccinated. This not only offers protection, but shows respect for fellow students and the dojo. Masks are not required if fully vaccinated, but students may wear them if them choose.

Thank You!

To those who supported the dojo during Covid, thank you! You kept us open. To those forced to drop out, come home.


How We Learn Anything

“…we fight against making mistakes. But mistakes are a natural process; to be alive is to make mistakes. To align with the Tao, try to consider mistakes as nature’s lessons from which you can learn, recover your energies, and forge ahead. According to the Tao Te Ching, setbacks are natural and inevitable. They are gifts that provide opportunities to improve your performance.” — From the book Thinking Body,Dancing Mind.


Our Interview With Martial Arts of the World


Why Study Aikido?

So much media attention these days is given to mixed martial arts. And while the men and women competing are very skilled fighters, the goal of MMA and traditional martial arts can be very different. The aim of traditional martial arts is not to beat another human being into submission. A good program actually can make students less aggressive. It teaches physical and mental discipline, along with respect for others and yourself.
And as you get older, it can take longer to heal. So, youth is a prerequisite for MMA. However, age should not be a deterrent for Aikido and some other arts. In Aikido, you’ll often find a wide age range. Students learn in a cooperative atmosphere where they improve their techniques and the mental aspects that actually make those techniques flow.
I’ve had 50 year old men come into the dojo. Many feel fragile at turning 50, as they reminisce about the days when they did full contact karate. I ask them if they want to do full contact karate now and they immediately say no. But they’re under the mistaken impression that just because they’re not in their 20s or 30s that they can’t learn something new. That’s sad.
Aikido is not based on strength and speed as they know them. And it’s a challenge in the beginning for them to relax as they move. That muscle tension often comes from the mind. It’s counter intuitive for them. Take elite athletes. They’re not tense as they perform. Yet, they appear powerful and fast. But consider their movement is more of relaxation and flow, backed by mental confidence and a good understanding of what can be accomplished when the mind and body are in harmony. That in part is Aikido.
Oh, and it’s fun. Hope you’ll stop by for a visit.
Joe DeCapua, Lead Instructor, South Mountain Aikido.

The “Older” Student.

Some people, as they get older, are wary about learning a martial art. That’s often because of the image martial arts have in this country: One person trying to beat another person to a pulp. When you’re older, that image loses its appeal, especially when it takes longer to heal. Let’s consider what Aikido has to offer the older student.

Moving. Without movement the body rusts. Aikido teaches how to move in a relaxed, flowing manner, while enhancing balance. As students learn to harmonize body and mind, they discover that strength and power come from calmness and relaxation. In the beginning, speed can be a hindrance and physical strength alone inadequate. Remember, when athletes are in the zone, their mind and body are working together for optimal performance.

At first. much time is spent learning how to move in new ways. It’s not hard, but it can be confusing. So it can take a a few weeks or so. A beginner in anything may feel a bit awkward or clumsy. But it’s temporary and everyone on the mat has been there. Best way to deal with it is to practice….and laugh about it.

In Aikido, we don’t compete with others. Instead, we try to improve what we can do little by little. Be better than we were last class. And other students help. By teaching another, you actually teach yourself. Oh, you will m ake new friends.

Today, the West is beginning to learn the benefits of mindfulness. Repetition, without intent or purpose, has limited benefits. Sports psychologists can confirm this. The movements we practice have a specific purpose that will become clear.

The beginner, older or younger, will discover that some beliefs and assumptions have to be discarded because they can be self-limiting. Having an open mind and a good imagination are vital. Self criticism is a waste of time. You can’t learning anything without making mistakes, often a lot of mistakes. Aikido is no different. Remember, it’s said that Thomas Edison tried and failed 10,000 times before he found the right way to make a light bulb. Every mistake teaches us something and the older student is often wise enough and patient enough to understand that.

Now, of course, an older student will not move like a 20 year old. Sigh. But we learn to move better and better with the body we have.

However, one of the best things is to realize the mind’s relationship to the body. This was known to martial arts masters centuries ago and it’s a major component of Ki-Aikido. You’ve heard of chi? In Japanese, it’s Ki. It’s the part about Aikido you can study for the rest of your life.

So, the welcome mat is out. Believe in yourself….and don’t get rusty.

Please check out our Facebook page. Feel free to contact us there or at


Why Basics are Important

KIHION O MANABU – From the book Flashing Steel

There is always a great temptation, particularly for beginners, to learn the flashy, fancy, or difficult techniques of any martial art. It is natural for you to feel this way. Especially if you have a desire to excel…and truly master it. However, your primary emphasis must be on the fundamentals.

It is true with any martial art that a practitioner who has truly mastered the basics will handily defeat one who has trained in advanced techniques after having only cursory knowledge of the fundamentals. If you understand the true nature of basic techniques, it is easy to see why this is universally true.

Basics are no more or no less than the ideal technique as it would be performed under ideal circumstances. Fundamentals demonstrate the perfect method of maximizing power, balance, self-protection, and effectiveness of technique. It is only after you have mastered performing under such ideal conditions that you can learn how to best adapt basic techniques to less than ideal circumstances.

It is also a mistake to assume that basics are only for beginners. Emphasis on fundamentals must be a lifelong habit. Anyone who has studied the lives of the great martial arts masters has observed that, without exception, they have shared a continuing passion for improving their basics.


Learn a Skill That Will Last a Lifetime. Beginners Always Welcome!!!

Pay us a visit and learn more about Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. It differs from many other styles of Aikido by demonstrating how the power of the mind influences the body and makes techniques more flowing and powerful. So practice is not only good for the body, but the mind as well.

Come and watch a class or take a free class. Ask plenty of questions. We have a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Aikido helps us live in harmony, not only with others, but ourselves, as we learn how thoughts and feelings affect our movements and our daily lives. The goal is not to harm others or gratify one’s ego.

Learn a skill that you can keep for a lifetime. Read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to learn more. Feel free to write or call us to ask any questions. South Mountain Aikido is a member of the Midland Ki Federation of the Ki Society. Our Chief Instructor is Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei, 8th Dan. See the pictures from our October training camp in Frederick.

Our teaching philosophy:  “Spare no effort when you teach. You advance as your students advance. Do not be impatient when you teach. No one can learn everything well at one time. Perseverance is important in teaching, as are patience, kindness and the ability to put yourself in your students’ place.”Tohei Sensei.

South Mountain Aikido

500 West Patricxk Street

Phone: 301-514-3415


Kokyunage Drill with Kashiwaya Sensei






Be Humble

Ego can be the biggest obstacle to learning. It’s not always about you. Help others learn. They are just as part of creation as you. Accept that you don’t know, but be willing to learn. Realize that you may not understand a concept or a throw in a single class. It may take a week, a month, a year or a lifetime. Best to figure on a lifetime. Don’t blame others if you don’t understand. Maybe your mind just isn’t ready. The epiphany will come in due time and it will mean so much more. Be joyful in your practice. Play. The world benefits more from your joy than your black belt. You’ll be remembered by how you make others feel, not by your rank.


Please Visit Our Facebook Page!!!!

Click on Link  at Top of Page.


Time to Give It a Try!!!!

 The time has come to take a free class or at least watch a class. Besides learning new skills, you’ll meet some great people. And it’s very affordable. Stop by and say hello. No obligation. Our students range in age from 13 to 71. Where do you fit in? Hope to see you soon!


Our article in Be Well magazine.

The 2013 Fall edition contains an article on aikido by Joe De Capua, head instructor at South Mountain. It’s a general overview of the martial art.

You can also read the article online at by clicking the link below.

Magazine article


New South Mountain T-Shirt!!!


Also comes in Sport Gray and Carolina Blue


Learning to throw with the jo or staff.


Bringing Aikido to the U.S



Passing of Dan Frank Sensei

Dan Frank Sensei, 7th Dan and Chief Instructor for Maryland, passed away Friday, July 27th, 2012 following a long illness. Frank Sensei, true to his nature, waged a courageous battle. His many students, past and present, owe him much and we are grateful for both his teaching and his friendship. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family. Thank you for sharing him with us.


May the New Year Bring Health & Happiness!

See you on the mat.