Lia Suzuki


7th dan Aikikai

Chief Instructor

Aikido Kenkyukai International USA


Lia Suzuki

Shihan, 7th dan Aikikai

Lia Suzuki Sensei is a senior student of Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan and National Director and Founder of Aikido Kenkyukai International USA, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, USA. She's also the author of the book, "The Teacher" from (The Aiki Dialogues).

Suzuki Sensei began training Aikido in 1982. Through her first teacher, the renowned William Gleason Sensei, 7th dan, she was introduced to the distinctive Aikido of the late Yamaguchi Seigo Shihan, 9th dan and one of his most accomplished students, Takeda Yoshinobu Shihan, 8th dan.

In 1987, only 3rd kyu, she moved to Kamakura, Japan to train with Takeda Shihan, known for his highly dynamic, uniquely flowing and physically liberating Aikido practice. Suzuki Sensei lived in Japan and trained almost daily from 1987 to 1996, receiving her 1st through 4th dan gradings at Takeda Shihan’s dojo during that time. Suzuki Sensei's experience in Japan also gave her the opportunity to train with the late Yamaguchi Sensei and other notable masters.

At Takeda Shihan’s urging, Suzuki Sensei returned to start dojos in the USA in 1996. Aikido Kenkyukai International (“AKI”) was formed to connect all the dojos around the world that are under Takeda Shihan’s umbrella.

Suzuki Sensei’s Aikido clearly reflects years of dedicated training with Takeda Shihan and his senior students. It defies typical categorizations of “hard” versus “soft.” She possesses an uncanny ability to draw an attacker into her center and effortlessly redirect, either softly or with huge force.

Suzuki Sensei directs her energies between AKI USA headquarters in Los Angeles, her other AKI USA dojos, and even dojos outside of her own organization. She has conducted seminars in Great Britain, Germany, China, the Netherlands, Australia, and other countries.

Suzuki Sensei continues to travel regularly to Japan to train with Takeda Shihan and his senior students.

Suzuki Sensei's personal mission is to foster inclusion in the Aikido world and to increase Aikido’s popularity among youth and those in their 20's and 30's.

Suzuki Sensei is available for seminars worldwide.

The Teacher

Interview with

Lia Suzuki Sensei

by Simone Chierchini

Book contents

  • From Horse Riding to Budo
  • The Japan Experience
  • Back Home
  • Building Intuition
  • Morihei Ueshiba and the “Little Invincible Warriors”
  • Attracting New Students to Aikido
  • Non-Violence in Aikido
  • Leading by Example
  • Women Who Forget Femininity
  • Arrogance
  • No to Homogenisation in Aikido
  • Aikido and Distance Teaching
  • Body Alignment
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My Story & My Mission

What people are saying...

"I came looking for exercise I wouldn't get bored of and self defense skills, and while I still get plenty of training in those areas, the reasons I come to Aikido have expanded.  I now find aikido training helps with emotional strength, mental clarity, spiritual growth, confidence, and even communication (or as we call it, verbal aikido)."

Ellis Bahl


"Lia Sensei changed my life. Her teachings in Aikido have had a profound impact on who I am today and continue to shape me everyday into a stronger, more grounded person.

Lia Sensei is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She is passionate to no end about Aikido which comes through in her thoughtful though very Japanese style of teaching. Her Aikido classes always leave me drenched in sweat by the end which I have almost never experienced anywhere else (except Japan!) They are intense, dynamic, and feel the way a martial art should truly feel, like a sacred practice."

Chris Coats


"I started training aikido in early 2009. Aikido was a good match for me as I wanted a martial art that I could continue doing my entire life. Unfortunately, I've moved around a lot since then - and while I've kept my Aikido up I haven't had one dojo as a "home base." On the other hand, I've worked with many instructors and seen a WIDE range of teaching styles.

Finally, once I arrived in LA I signed up for some intro classes with Kenkyukai to see if the dojo would be a good fit for me. A few classes later, I signed up for the year. Suzuki Sensei embodies many of the principals of Aikido and comes from a direct lineage of Aikidoka. What this means for the layman is she's "close" to the source. She's very skilled and deeply cares about the art."

Marc Falzon


"I've found Suzuki Sensei to be a very effective teacher and martial artist. She combines quality of communication, technical proficiency, and a sense of joy in her teaching and technique.

I am also very impressed with her drive and commitment to improving access to Aikido programs for youth, especially those who might otherwise not have the opportunity to receive the benefits of Aikido training."

Charles Colten

Director/Chief Instructor, Aikido in the Schools

"Lia Sensei spent years in Japan absorbing the essence of Aikido training and Japanese perseverance and grace from great teachers, and in turn she now transmits that depth of feeling to her students. Her fundraising and charitable works are exemplary, and she does lots with very little. She is admired from far and wide."

Nat McCully

Senior Engineering Manager, Adobe Systems Incorporated

"Lia Suzuki Sensei is a highly qualified teacher of Aikido. She is one of the senior women in the United States in the art. Her training history is top notch and her instruction is powerful, clear, and personable. Very professional."

George Ledyard

Chief Instructor, Aikido Eastside

Kenshusei Program

Immersive Apprentice Experience


Lia Suzuki Shihan


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