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Instructors at Falls Road Aikido come from all different walks of life and bring their experiences in martial arts and in life onto the mat.  Students will have an opportunity to learn from them depending on which classes they attend.

Sempai Cara-Michele Nether. 3rd degree black belt (<em>sandan</em>); lead instructor and founder of Falls Road Aikido.
Sempai Cara-Michele Nether. 3rd degree black belt (sandan); lead instructor and founder of Falls Road Aikido.

Sempai Cara-Michele Nether

“At the age of 35 I started practicing Kinokawa Aikido with Sensei Kyle Olinger in October of 2004 at Aikido of Mt. Airy.  My search for a place to train led me to interview at many of the local Aikido training halls, but I left them all feeling uninspired until I visited the local Kinokawa dojo.

Even though it was 45 minutes from my home, I was hooked. I was drenched with sweat and on the edge of my comfort zone, my spirit forever altered. Over the years all of Sensei’s personas — the marine and police force combat instructor, the martial artist with 26 years of experience, the dedicated and compassionate teacher — guided me to a new interpretation of my perception and abilities. For the majority of those years I trained as only one of two or three women on the mat, with men who were well over six feet tall, and who outweighed me by 50 pounds or more. Sensei Kyle insisted that I never be treated any differently than the other students.  From the beginning it was clear that Kinokawa students trained hard all the time and that I would have to also. I am greatly appreciative of all of my fellow aikidoka for their willingness to loan me their bodies and wisdom.

In 2010 I took on the responsibilities of leading classes in a dojo of my own.  Doing so has caused me to question what I think I know to be true about myself, as well as the people in front of me. I have shared information as an instructor in many different formal teaching settings for many years. I love to find different ways to turn on the light bulb in a student’s head.

In addition to Aikido, I had a two-year experience with Tai Kwan Do in my twenties. I love the fact that Falls Road Aikdio incorporates the practice of effective striking techniques as part of our Aikido training. We believe in the realistic application of Aikido. This means that new students start off with soft lobbing strikes and eventually learn to blend with the movements. As they progress, the attacks become faster and less apparent or telegraphed, just as they would be if you faced with a trained aggressor. There is no doubt in my mind that to manage attacks like these one must have cultivated a relaxed mind and spirit that are difficult to disturb, and an open heart that is light and filled with wonder and curiosity.

To foster this aspect of our practice we choose to create an atmosphere of community and fun. Smiles and laughter are common in our dojo. I continue my formal study of Aikido with Sensei Wirth, our founder, and Senseis Constantine, Pervizpour, and Lepeta, Kinokawa’s most senior active teachers.”

Sempai Peter Smith. 1st degree black belt (<em>shodan</em>).
Sempai Peter Smith. 1st degree black belt (shodan).

Sempai Peter Smith

“Born outside of Maryland and raised in the Midwest, I came to Maryland to complete my training in mental health. I was always interested in self-defense.

“I’ve been studying with Sempai Cara-Michele for over four years and have found the benefits of practice push me to be a better person both on the mat and outside the dojo.”


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What Members of Falls Road Aikido Have to Say:

"My training in Kinokawa Aikido has been one of the most influential experiences of my life. Real and honest budo training has allowed me to become thoughtfully calm and patient in my everyday experiences. Effortless and unexpected power are now regular companions of my being. It is a true honor to share this amazing martial art with the people who choose to show up on the mat week after week and year after year. I welcome anyone who would like to live with more grace to stop by roll around on the mat with us."

Sempai Cara-Michele Nether July 2, 2015

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Falls Road Aikido is a Strength & Vitality Company.
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