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A Place for Deeper Training... Traditional Martial Arts, Cultural Classes, Mind and Body Fitness


Anybody can train

Aikido does not require youth, strength, flexibility, or size. It is well-suited for men; women and children of all ages. It's great for families! Nationwide and worldwide, 40% of Aikido practitioners are women. Steven Segal has popularized Aikido through his movies (although he shows a more street-fighting style).

We have had students ranging from 3-1/2 to almost 70. Adults classes are great for aerobic exercise, stretching and flexibility, constructive social interaction, learning new skills, challenging self-imposed limits, managing stress, and all-around fun. It can be exhilarating! Despite of (or because of) the intensity of training, people come to feel the dojo space is a pleasant, peaceful environment - a sanctuary in contrast to their often stressful and chaotic lives outside.

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a non-competitive Japanese martial art that emphasizes the integration of mind, body, and spirit. Rather than meeting aggression with aggression, the defender blends with the attack, redirecting the energy back to the attacker.

Techniques end in a throw or pin, and may include defenses against either empty-hand or weapons attacks. Benefits include increased coordination, flexibility, and aerobic conditioning, as well as greater self-confidence, focus, and discipline. Students learn self-defense skills, and with consistent practice, are better able to manage stress, conflict, and anger.

Benefits of Aikido

Benefits of Aikido

Increase flexibility and aerobic conditioning, as well as greater self-confidence, focus, and discipline.

Close to Origins

We are fortunate to train with instructors closely associated to the origins of Aikido.

Our Chief Instructor, Elisabeth Menning started her training as Uchideshi (traditional live-in student) to Fumio Toyoda Shihan.


Students are members of Aikido of Northern Indiana Onshinkan Dojo, which is a member dojo of the national organization Sosei Aikido Kyokai. Our Kyu certifications are recognized by Hombu Dojo in Japan. Each class consists of hands-on training in basic stances, movement, falls, and technique, as well as an introduction to the principles and philosophy of Aikido, and how it can apply to daily life.



Sensei Menning Elisabeth Menning is ranked godan (5th-degree blackbelt). She has been training in Aikido since 1993. Many years were as a personal student of Fumio Toyoda Shihan, the late founder, president and chief instructor of Aikido Association of America (AAA) and Aikido Association International. First as uchideshi (traditional live-in student), then as professional instructor trainee, Ms. Menning lived, trained, and worked at AAA national headquarters, Tenshinkan Dojo, in Chicago, Illinois.

As a professional instructor, she taught at Tenshinkan Dojo as well as at her own dojo in Northern Indiana. While affilated with AAA, she was a member of the AAA national headquarters testing committee and held national instructor certification from AAA. When Andrew Sato Sensei and AAA parted ways at the end of 2004, Onshinkan Dojo became one of the three founding dojo's of his new organization, Aikido World Alliance (AWA). Menning Sensei and Onshinkan Dojo hosted the first national AWA seminar, Kangeiko, in February 2005. Onshinkan Dojo was an independent dojo from May 2006 to September 2008; at that time we joined a new organization, Sosei Aikido Kyokai, formed by Bob Garza Sensei, also a former student of Toyoda Shihan.


We have been teaching introductory and ongoing courses for adults, youth, and families in northwest Indiana since 1999.

Our courses introduce traditional Aikido as developed in Japan by OSensei (the founder of Aikido), and are taught in the tradition of the late Fumio Toyoda Shihan.

Sensei Sharon Sharon Halfman is the current dojo-cho, holds the rank of Sandan in Aikido and is still our very dedicated office manager. She is a patient instructor for Aikido of Northern Indiana-Onshinkan Dojo. She is Dojo cho for Onshinkan Dojo's Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsualso where she holds the rank of Shodan.

Lonnie Amico, MD Lonnie Amico, MD and his daughters began training years ago with the late Fumio Toyoda Shihan in Chicago, where he first met Menning Sensei. He even remembers when she arrived at Tenshinkan Dojo to begin the uchideshi program! Since Toyoda Shihan's death in 2001, Dr. Amico has been training at Onshinkan Dojo and is ranked shodan (1st degree black belt). He is very interested in understanding the roots of the art, maintaining the integrity and tradition of the art, and upholding the teachings of Toyoda Shihan.

Lonnie Amico, MD Valerie Friesema became interested in Aikido at the end of 2012. She came to the dojo for a general self-defense seminar and became fascinated with Aikido, training at Onshinkan Dojo under Menning Sensei, student of Fumio Toyota Shihan. Aikido keeps her fit both mentally and physically helping with core strength, balance and limber muscles. She feels Aikido is a life-long journey no matter when in life you start and rewarding in ways beyond the mat both mentally and physically.

She gained her Shodan rank in August of 2018 and continues learning, refining techniques and teaching the art to others. Her experience in business and personnel management brings a diversified voice to the board of directors to help support with the continuance of a strong and healthy dojo.

Lonnie Amico, MD TL Morrow started his Aikido training at Onshinkan Dojo on 11/22/2013 and received his black belt, Shodan rank 8/12/2018 under Sensei Menning. He says he is still learning by helping and assisting other students with their training at our dojo. Aikido is the Martial art of peace, "Assertive and not Aggressive". It has a core value.

"Come to our Dojo even when you don't want to come and leave with a sense of fierce joy". -See you soon, on the mat.

Monthly Rates Adult $75 Youth $65
Annual Dues Individual $25 Family $40
Ask about our family discounts!    

You are always welcome to come visit or try a class!

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Phone: (219) 736-7854

Email: info@shugyoculturalcenter.org

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9117 Indiana Place, Merrillville, IN 46410

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