Today we’d like to introduce you to Lia Suzuki Sensei.
Hi Lia, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was studying the martial art of Aikido in Boston in the 1980’s. I decided to take my training to the “next level”, so I moved to Japan. I spent nearly ten years there, training with the masters.
When I returned to the USA, I established dojos on the east and west coasts. In addition to teaching at those dojos, I also began traveling globally, teaching seminars in such cities as Berlin, London, Shanghai, and many others.
When the COVID lockdowns started, my students trained via Zoom for 15 months. We are now fully vaccinated and loving being back in our dojo in Koreatown!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a bumpy ride at times, but worth it. My students and I renovated an old machine shop back in 2002, turning it into a dojo that was a beautiful, serene oasis in the city.
When the economy tanked in 2007, the landlord announced that he would be increasing our monthly rent by five times! We lost that dojo and were homeless for a time, training in parks and such.
We finally found another group of martial arts instructors who welcomed us. We shared space with them for a number of years.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a professional Martial Arts instructor. I offer weekly classes in Los Angeles and I lead seminars in cities throughout the world for martial arts students and instructors.
I also offer online courses for Martial Arts students and instructors.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I have sought out those who have come before me and who display the traits and skills I want to attain. I do everything in my power to be around that person as much as possible. When I’m with them, I try to ask questions and listen when they answer. If they’re kind enough to give advice or critique, I do my best to not make excuses but rather take their advice to heart and try to implement any suggestions they may have been generous enough to give me.
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Some photos by Rick Wilkinson Photography