Welcome to Aikido of Northern Virginia

Aikido of Northern Virginia, located across the street from Ballston metro station in Arlington, Northern VA, is a traditional aikido dojo afiliated to aikikai hombu dojo through the aikido schools of Ueshiba.

Aikido of Northern Virginia is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors elected from and by the membership. Instead of paying for individual lessons, students pay monthly membership dues. All students assist in the maintenance of the dojo.

We pride ourselves on maintaining the dojo – not only as a place for serious Aikido training and discipline – but also as a place with a sense of belonging and concern for each other.


Jim Sorrentino-sensei:
Holds the rank 5th degree black belt.

Mike Lasky-sensei
Holds the rank of 6th degree black belt.

All staff and more info...

Quick Info

Aikido of Northern Virginia currently holds classes six days a week, offers seminars throughout the year, and hosts a tai-ji group on Fridays.


We are metro accessible!

Located across the street from:
Ballston-MU Orange/Silver line.

Four simple steps to join

  • Come watch a class
  • Participate in a class for free
  • Decide that you like it.
  • join!

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Aikido of Northern Virginia
4201 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203


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The dojo is located across the street from the Ballston Metro Station (Orange Line), in the Youth Building of the Central United Methodist Church.

DayTimeSkill Level
Monday6:30pm - 8:00pmall skill levels
Tuestday6:30pm - 8:00pmall skill levels
Wednesday6:30pm - 8:00pmall skill levels
Thursday6:30pm - 7:30pmall skill levels
Friday7:00pm - 8:00pmtai ji
Saturday9:00am-10:30amall skill levels
SundayNO CLASSall skill levels

Jim Sorrentino

Chief instructor

The Chief Instructor, Jim Sorrentino, holds a fifth-degree black belt in aikido. He began his martial training in Uechi-ryu Karate-do under Robert Galeone in 1977, and holds a third-degree black belt in that art as well. With Mr. Galeone's encouragement, Mr. Sorrentino began his study of aikido in 1984 under Mitsugi Saotome-sensei. Saotome-sensei was a disciple of O-Sensei for 15 years, and has trained in aikido since 1954. Mr. Sorrentino continues to study regularly under Saotome-sensei.

Mike Lasky

Technical advisor

Mike Lasky, the dojo's Technical Advisor, began his aikido training in 1975 as a freshman at Oberlin College under Frank Hreha-sensei. Mr. Lasky continued his study with Mitsugi Saotome-sensei in 1975, when Saotome-sensei arrived in the United States, and he followed Saotome-sensei to Washington, DC, in 1979. Mr. Lasky served on the Board of Directors of Aikido Shobukan Dojo (formerly known as the Washington, DC Aikikai) from 1981 to 2003. He received his 6th dan in 2001. Mr. Lasky teaches and trains regularly at Aikido of Northern Virginia.

Cyd Curtis Bates


A recent transplant to Arlington (2014), she has practiced Aikido for over 10 years in the Chicago area under the teaching style of Shihan Fumio Toyoda. Dianne Costanzo Sensei Go Dan (5th Degree black belt), has been her primary instructor since 2007. She received the rank of San Dan in 2013. Cyd was honored and thrilled to be invited to join the instructors group here at ANOVA.

Stefan Dromlewicz


Stefan has more than 16 years of training in Aikido, studying under Mitsunari Kanai Shihan at New England Aikikai, and, after his passing, under Kanai Sensei's most senior students. Ranked Nidan in Aikido, Stefan is also ranked Shodan in Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido. Stefan has practiced at ANOVA since 2009 and regularly attends seminars with visiting Shihan throughout the Eastern United States.

Victor Garcia


Victor Garcia began practicing aikido in Mexico City in 2003 under the teaching of Manuel Hernadez-sensei. Upon his arrival to the DC area, he joined Aikido of Northern Virginia and has been practicing at this dojo since. He holds shodan ranks (1st degree black belt) in both aikido and Muso Shinden Ryu iaido.


morihei ueshiba 1939

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba, who is often referred to by his title, ‘O-Sensei’ (‘Great Teacher’). On a purely physical level, aikido technique involves throws and joint controls that are derived from traditional sword and spear arts. Aikido focuses not on striking opponents, but rather on using the force of an attack to redirect the attacker’s movement or position relative to the defender. Aikido practice is not static, but instead places great emphasis on position and the dynamics of movement.

Aikido may be translated as the way of harmony of spirit. O-Sensei emphasized that the study of aikido was a moral and spiritual discipline as well as a physical one, and he placed great weight on the development of a noble and peaceful character. While aikido (like any other martial art) offers the practitioner the immediate opportunity to study self-defense technique and improve his or her physical health, in the long term aikido offers spiritual discipline and peace of mind. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.


How do I join the dojo?

If you have not trained in aikido before, you must watch at least one full class. Visitors are always welcome, and no appointment is necessary. The largest classes tend to be on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Watching a large class will give you the opportunity to see a wide variety of ages, body types, and levels of experience. After you have watched a class, you must meet the chief instructor or the technical director for a brief, informal interview. The purpose of the interview is to ensure that the expectations of the prospective student mesh with those of the dojo.

What do I need to begin training?

Gym clothes, such as sweats, which cover your knees and elbows, are all you need. It is not necessary to purchase a uniform [gi] or wooden weapons before you start, but you should do so soon after joining the dojo.

Where do I get a uniform and weapons?

Please see our resources & links page for recommended suppliers.

What does it cost?

Dojo dues are $75 per month, with a slight discount available for full-time law enforcement, active-duty military, full-time students or teachers, and family members or significant others. Dojo members should own at least two uniforms, as well as a complete set of weapons (wooden long sword [bokken], short sword [shoto], and knife [tanto], staff [jo], and bamboo-and-leather sword [Yagyu-style shinai]). The total cost for uniforms and weapons will be approximately $250, depending on their quality.

How often should I attend class?

Attending class at least three times a week will tend to produce visible progress. If you are able to attend more often, you should do so.

Do you have children’s classes?

No. Prospective dojo members must be at least 16 years old. Please see our Children and Aikido page for a discussion of this subject.

I have old injuries or a chronic condition that interferes with ability to move easily. Will I be able to practice?

It depends on the nature of the injury or condition. Generally, if you are capable of walking without assistance, you should be able to train at some level. Of course, you should consult your doctor before you begin training, and discuss your condition with the chief instructor.

Can aikido be an effective method of self-defense?

Yes. Aikido forms the basis of many law enforcement and correctional systems unarmed self-defense programs. The key to effective self-defense training is cultivation of the proper attitude. Physical technique alone is not sufficient to prevail in a conflict. The student of aikido learns through practice that attack and defense are really one thing.

How long will it take me to earn a black belt?

The typical student takes four to five years of consistent training – three to five times per week – to test for black belt. First-degree black belt (shodan) means that the student is now ready for serious study.


Other Local ASU Dojos

Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Located in Washington, DC (about 2 blocks away from the Takoma Metro station), students of Aikido of Northern Virginia can be found supplementing their training at "Takoma."

Baltimore Aikido Club

Charles Page & Chuck Weber

Other Dojos in the Area

Aikido of Arlington
Yvonne Thelwell. An Iwama Style dojo also located in Arlington.

Aikido Eibukan
Dwayne Bolt. King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Okinawa Aikikai US Dojos
Michael Veltri

Northern Virginia Aikikai
Gordon Sakamoto. The USAF dojo in Arlington.


Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. This site provides information regarding the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, an international federation of more than ninety dojos, of which Aikido of Northern Virginia is a member. Two thousand students train through these ASU schools. Mitsugi Saotome Shihan is the master instructor for ASU. The ASU is affiliated with World Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

ASU Handbook. The third editon of the ASU Handbook is available as a .PDF file in low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth version. (NOTE: The handbooks require Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Yudansha Application Forms. Students testing for Shodan need to submit a Application for Dan Grades and Application for International Yudansha Card (Passport) to ASU. Further details are contained in this letter from ASU Headquarters. (NOTE: These are fillable forms and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.)


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