Sierra Aikido  

Sierra Home  


Japanese + Aikido Program

Japanese culture and language learning can combine with Aikido training, primarily, but not exclusively, for children age 8 and up. Our integrated program comprises:
  • Immersion in Japanese speaking and introduction to reading and writing

  • Custom online learning Japanese tools, including:

    • A dictionary "app" for creating and editing vocabularies according to each student's interest;
    • Page displays organized by individual parts of speech (Adverbs, particles, verbs, adjectives, etc.);
    • Verb and adjective conjugations;
    • A growing Japanese <=> English dictionary, with currently nearly 1,200 frequently used words and phrases in Kana, Romaji and English, etc.

  • Aikido training, also in Japanese, and fully coordinated with the Japanese language curriculum.
Note: Japanese language learning is also available separate from, or without, Aikido!

About Active Language Learning

Learning through the body is a powerful way to build language comprehension and fluency--for all ages. Repetition and recombination of grammar and vocabulary in motion is far more effective, and certainly more motivating, than memorizing rules and lists.

Enjoyable Aikido training in a small, friendly group provides a meaningful way to use, and retain, Japanese over the long term. At the same time students build physical competence, self-confidence and positive social skills. The Aikido win/win mindset supports self-paced, non-competitive learning throughout the program.

Our Approach:

Active, holistic teaching for natural language learning and long-term retention, through:
  • Immersion in Japanese for both language and Aikido study. We begin with bilingual study for those who need it and move everyone toward 100% immersion as their comfort level and language skills improve.
  • A comprehensive curriculum, across language, culture and Aikido study.
  • Real, memorable contexts for vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation:

    • Practical, day-to-day conversation
    • Meaningful social interactions
    • Cultural studies and arts
    • Traditional games, crafts and songs
    • Aikido class interactions, as well as Aikido concepts and technique

  • Physical movement, both fine- and large-motor activities, for comprehension, practice and longterm retention:

    • Active Learning through physical and verbal role playing
    • Aikido training and Aikido-related physical activities
    • Japanese arts & crafts: Origami, Harie, Sumie and calligraphy ( Shodo )
    • Japanese reading and writing

  • Class sizes limited to 3 to 6 students for optimal individual attention and practice, with instruction tailored to each student's best learning avenues.
  • Open enrollment throughout the year.
  • Age-appropriate grouping, with lessons adapted to the students' levels of language, social and physical development.
  • Other, personally-tailored programs, such as just Japanese language or culture, available by request and arrangement.

Class Information

  1. Enroll at any time. Each applicant will be evaluated and placed in the appropriate class for age group, language experience, etc.
  2. Members of Sierra Aikido are eligible for a 'credit' discount for participating in multiple Sierra programs.
  • Class Location: Sierra Aikido, Suite B, 2134 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View 94043

  • Contact Info:
    • Email: Sensei
    • Telephone: 650.493-1074

Teaching Staff

The teaching staff coordinates the entire program closely. Each individual portion is handled by:
  • Reiko Takahashi

    Reiko studied Japanese and Linguistics at Foothill College, and majored in Japanese and minored in Linguistics at San Jose State University. She served as a professor's assistant in various Japanese courses during her schooling. She has experience in tutoring college students, both individually and in groups, for more than four years. She also tutors adults and elementary, middle and high school students privately.

  • Julie Levenbach

    Julie has practiced Aikido since 1993 and has taught both children and adults since 1996. She is Chief Instructor for Sierra Aikido, with particular focus on children and teens ages 5 and up, including those with special needs.

    Julie graduated from Stanford University and is certified in teaching classroom and individual E.S.L. She taught English conversation and writing in the Peace Corps and at the San Mateo Adult School for 20 years. She also tutors Middle and High School students in writing and composition.

    Her Aikido specialty is adapting training as a vehicle for personal development, physical skill building, reduction of bullying, language learning ( and other objectives by arrangement ). Close collaboration with parents, other educators, therapists and community partners is key to this endeavor.

Sierra Home