Orange County Martial Arts
Aikido is a martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), also known as O-Sensei (great teacher). Aikido literally means "the way of energy harmony".
Sensei Ueshiba had a reputation of being virtually invincible in many traditional armed and unarmed fighting arts, including jujitsu and swordsmanship. O-Sensei was troubled with the way in which the traditional martial arts dealt with conflict. He believed that winning at someone else’s expense did not represent an ultimate solution. He began to study, examine and practice movements that would lead to the development of a new and more harmonious martial art. This new martial art envisioned the right of every living creature to grow and develop in their own way. The result of O-sensei’s study was the birth of Aikido.
In practice Aikido is a flowing art that can be used for defensive purposes (it is used by many police forces around the world) while enabling its adherents to remain balanced and in control, choosing to neither submit nor overpower their oponents. Aikido practitioners literally use their oponents energy against them while protecting themselves.
We were founded as a Martial Arts School by Harry Ishisaka who studied under Koichi Tohei. Sensei Tohei who was one of O-Sensei's star pupils, and was the only one that he ever officially gave the rank of 10th-dan.
After learning and practicing Judo at a young age and then throughout his military career, Sensei Ishisaka began his studies in Aikido after having been introduced to Sensei Tohei. Sensei Ishisaka started the dojo in 1964, making us one of the oldest Southern California Aikido Dojos. After the passing of our founder, the dojo was setup as a California non-profit organization, and we continue as a non-profit today.
Our Dojo combines the traditional feel of a Japanese Dojo with the welcoming “Aloha Spirit” of our founder.
This is some rare footage of the founder, Sensei Ishisaka doing some kokyu nage techniques.
Orange County Aikido is a non-profit organization. None of our instructors are paid; they donate their time and expertise because they love the art and want to share it.
Chief Instructor: Brandon Ishisaka-Guadan
Age: 42 years old
Occupation: Pharmaceutical Sales
Years Studying Aikido: 32 years
Years at OC Aiki Kai: 32 years
Family: Married 8 years with 2 daughters
I am the grandson of the founder Harry Ishisaka, and have been studying Aikido for more than 30 years. When I’m not studying Aikido I like to spend most my free time with my wife and children. Spending weekends at birthday parties and family events. I try to fit in the occasional fishing trip with the gang or working out with my trainer.
Dojo Administrator / Instructor: Michael Padilla
Age: 36 years old
Years Studying Aikido: 11 years
Years at OC Aiki Kai: 10 years
Rank Nidan (2nd degree black belt)
Family: Two children ages 6 and 4
I have been studying martial arts since I was 8. Other styles I have studied are Goju Karate and Iaido. Also by way of my training as an Acupuncturist, I have many years of experience studying and teaching Qi Gong, a Chinese system of energy work similar to Tai Chi. As my office is in the dojo, and I am President of the School’s Board of Directors, I spend a great deal of time at OC Aikido, and I consider it a second home and its members my family
Instructor: Mitch Maeda
Age: 56 years old
Years Studying Aikido: 30 years
Years at Orange County Aiki Kai: 20 years
Rank: Shodan (Black Belt)
My interests are as varied as they are numerous and include skiing, flyfishing, videography, photography, camping, and art. I began my martial arts training as a judoka as a teenager, and began my Aikido training in 1981 with Sensei Rod Kobayashi and joined Orange County Aiki Kai in the late 1970′s. I focus on Ki development and the use of the entire body to generate the energy for techniques.
Instructor: Gary Welborn
Age: 74 years old
Occupation: Project Manager
Years Studying Aikido: 40 years
Years at OC Aiki Kai: many
Rank Yondan (4th degree black belt)
Family: Married with one daughter and a granddaughter
I started Aikido in 1974 as a first generation student of OCAK's founder Harry Ishisaka. Following Harry Ishisaka Sensei's passing I continued to train at OCAK for several years before moving out into the general Aikido world to explore the many learning & training avenues available while keeping a connection with the dojo and many of its members. I recently came back to OCAK to support Brandon Ishisaka Sensei as dojo cho. My interests are the use of internal power through a fully connected body resulting in spontaneous movement appropriate for the moment.
Instructor: Dale Sandberg
Occupation: Product Manager
Years Studying Aikido: 9 years
Years at Orange County Aiki Kai: 9 years
Rank: Shodan (Black Belt)
Family: Married with two teenagers
I actually started my Aikido training in 1978 when I was 13 living in Hawaii. I took Aikido classes just one Summer and I loved it, but then had to quit due to my school class-work. Fast-forward 30 years, I was looking for a martial arts dojo where my kids could attend and I came across OCAK. The kids started and so did I; eight years later I was able to test for Shodan - something I am very proud of. I continue to further my study of this dynamic martial art here in Orange County, and as I travel for work both domestically and internationally. I have had the opportunity to to take Aikido classes in multiple cities in the US including: Las Vegas, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, Orlando, Dallas, and Salt Lake City. I have also been able to take classes in several other countries including: England, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, South Africa, and Hong Kong.
The OC Aikido Martial Arts dojo is available to rent for a variety of events, classes and seminars. Our facility is centrally located in Orange, conveniently between the 55 and 57 freeways, one turn off of either freeway. To rent the dojo please contact us by phone or email at:
(714) 997-4861 or email@example.com