Lia Suzuki Sensei began Aikido in 1982. From 1987, for nine years, she trained in Kamakura, Japan with her present teacher and top student of the late grand master Seigo Yamaguchi Shihan, Takeda Yoshinobu Shihan, 8th dan. Suzuki was introduced to Takeda Shihan through her first teacher, William Gleason Sensei, 6th dan. In 1996, Takeda Shihan directed her to begin dojos back in the USA. She formed AKI Pennsylvania in 1996 and AKI Santa Barbara, CA, in 1999.
In addition to teaching standard aikido classes in Pennsylvania and California, Lia Sensei also began pioneering work. She has worked with youth and adults with mental health and substance abuse issues, using aikido as a therapeutic vehicle. In this on-going work, the dojo has worked closely with:
- Santa Barbara County La Morada Women’s Honor Farm (minimum security facility)
- Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services
- Bucks County Office of Juvenile Probation
- Penn Foundation for Behavioral Health Inc.
- Penn Foundation Recovery Center
During her 9-year stay in Japan, she also studied the Japanese language and culture, while continuing her practice of aikido. She presently holds the rank of 6th dan.
Suzuki Sensei is available for seminars worldwide. Please contact her directly to inquire about her availability.