On Jan. 16, the aikido program at Colorado Mountain College will step into its fourth year. It's something that the founder of the program, Brad Manosevitz, is particularly happy about."Anything that lasts four years in Aspen is pulling off a feat," he said, "whether you're a restaurant, T-shirt shop or martial arts program. More than anything it speaks to the dedication of the continuing students that we have now."Manosevitz began studying aikido about 15 years ago, when he was living in Santa Cruz, Calif. While there, he began teaching young students the martial art, and soon moved up to teach older students, and eventually he administrated the entire program at Aikido of Santa Cruz. In the summer of 2000, Jazz Aspen offered him a job, and he worked there for about a year and a half before beginning a job at GrassRoots TV. In the winter of 2002, he began offering a beginning aikido class at the Aspen campus of Colorado Mountain College. There were other programs in the area, but none offered a class strictly for beginners. Since then, Aspen Aikido has closed down, making Manosevitz's class the only aikido in the upper valley. He said that at least 100 students have gone through some part of the program, with a great many people continuing on to retake classes time and again. He spoke passionately about the ideas behind aikido, saying that it differs greatly from other martial arts."The idea behind aikido is peaceful conflict resolution," he said. "Rather than block or stop the momentum, the philosophy is to get out of the way, let the punch go by and continue the momentum of the attacker. Through body movements in aikido that attack is redirected and neutralized."He talked about how a very strong spiritual philosophy about anger and fighting guides aikido, mentioning that one saying is, "true victory is one over oneself.""It's not what people usually think about when they think of a martial art," he said. "It's totally noncompetitive. There are no trophies in aikido. It's as much a spiritual practice as it is a physical one."Joel Stonington's e-mail address is email@example.com
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