Gary Webber is the Program Coordinator for the Adams Institute in the Department of Chemistry and a 3rd-degree black belt in Ki-Aikido.
Why are you interested in Ki-Aikido?
I have wanted to learn a martial art since junior high school, but never found anything I liked. In 1997 a friend introduced me to a young Japanese art called Ki-Aikido. I joined a school in Lawrence, Obiji Ki-Aikido, and have earned the rank of Sandan, which is 3rd-degree black belt. There is an active Ki-Aikido community in Lawrence, with two schools and a KU club.
The art is unusual, as it is purely defensive, and teaches a form of self-defense in which the attack is neutralized with no one, including the attacker, getting hurt. I like it because it teaches many valuable skills that are applicable to daily life, as well as a meditation technique, and a very effective healing acupressure massage technique. Rarely a day goes by that I do not use some aspect of this art. The art also teaches balance, stability, and the ability to fall without injury, valuable skills for someone nearing retirement!
How long have you been a martial artist?
I have been studying Ki-Aikido since 1997. I attend a 90-minute class twice each week, two or three weekend workshops each year, and occasionally teach.
What’s your favorite part of Ki-Aikido?
My favorite part is the performance of the Aikido technique, especially weapons. We are taught to use a sword, staff, and knife, and to defend ourselves against attacks by someone wielding these weapons. My second favorite part is the meditation technique, called “Ki Breathing.”
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