In a month typically filled with New Year’s resolutions and admirable intentions, it’s a great time to own a martial arts school.

Sensei Todd Roberts loves the enthusiastic learners who walk through the doors of his dojo at 33rd and Pioneers Boulevard and express an interest in losing weight and improving their fitness.

But the refreshing approach you’ll find at Aikido of Nebraska is Roberts’ desire to make sure his martial arts school is the right fit for the prospective student.

“I enjoy the exchange of information and educating them on what we have to offer,” said Roberts, who recently succeeded in testing for the rank of fourth-degree black belt.

It’s probably no surprise that a school that promotes a peaceful martial art school does not believe in a hard-sell approach.

“If their ambition is to become physically aggressive, I will suggest that the mixed martial arts is really where they belong,” he explained.

“But if they’re looking for a peaceful martial art while still learning self-defense, I will show them what we have to offer. I want them to understand what they’re getting into. If this experience doesn’t meet their expectations, no one wins.”

Lifestyle change

Part of the initial instructor-student exchange focuses on determining the newcomer’s goals. Roberts guards against the “quick-fix” and encourages those who are in it for the long haul.

“Not all dreams can be realized by the end of January,” Roberts mused. “We work towards a lifestyle change, not an overnight success story.”

Pay as you go

Roberts’ cautious approach to ensure client satisfaction is also reflected in his payment policy. Newcomers can attend their first class free of charge. Beyond that, Aikido of Nebraska offers a month-to-month payment schedule, protecting new members who may be wary of a long-term commitment.

The dojo also does not require new members to buy a uniform until they feel comfortable and ready to buy.

Four days per week

Aikido of Nebraska offers kids’ and adults’ classes from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Young students usually advance to adult classes when they reach the high school level.

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