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Today's Family Magazine

Aikido teaches self-defense and builds confidence for children and adults

Apr 27, 2017 08:51AM ● By Today's Family

Sensei Salvatore LaCorte, center front row, along with his students from North Coast Aikikai in Mentor.

By Laura Lytle

An affiliate school of the United States Aikido Federation, North Coast Aikikai (NCA) teaches Aikido to children and adults looking to build their skills in more than basic self-defense. NCA martial arts school is based within the Mentor Family Karate / O-Hana Dojo and teaches Aikido as part of the mixed martial arts offerings at the dojo. 

NCA’s head instructor Salvatore LaCorte earned his teaching certification from United States Aikido Federation and holds the official title of (Shidoin) Chief Instructor. He has been training for over 33 years and is a 6th degree black belt.

“As a student at Lakeland Community College I was looking for a self-defense class and chose one at random – which happened to be Aikido. My first instructor Sensei Vecchio was great and the class made such an impression on me that I have not stopped training since,” said Shidoin Sal LaCorte.

“Every day I look forward to coming into the dojo to assist adults seeking to personally improve themselves and encouraging kids as they learn the basics. It’s great being on the mat with the kids, they give me a lot of energy and always make me laugh,” he added.

“Most of all I enjoy helping people accomplish what they are looking for when they come in… confidence, discipline or just helping them find a positive direction in their life,” said  LaCorte.
Aikido is a great form of martial arts for people of all ages, physical conditions and abilities. Founded as a Japanese self-defense form, Aikido does not hold competitions or award trophies; instead it focuses on inner strength being more important than physical strength.

Aikido is also different than other forms of martial arts in that the motions are circular rather than linear and it uses an opponent’s energy against itself. For instance, an attack is not met with force against force, rather the force of the attack is met with a blending motion and then returned upon the attacker.

“While perfecting the principles and spiritual aspects of Aikido can take a lifetime, learning to defend oneself with Aikido techniques takes surprisingly little time,” said LaCorte.

Young students seeking to learn Aikido are encouraged to come to the dojo to watch or try a class first. Classes are held for children (age 8-12), young adults (ages 13-17), and adults (ages 18 and older) on Wednesday and Friday evenings as well as weekend afternoons.

Additional Aikido and self-defense workshops will be held by NCA at Lakeland Community College for kids in June during college for kid’s week and for adults in the fall.

Call North Coast Aikikai/Family Karate at 440-255-7300 to confirm a class time, email questions to [email protected], or visit for more info.