Suginami Aikikai San Francisco, California started as "Skidrow Dojo" in the back of a photo studio on Sixth Street in San Francisco February 1986. A group of artists asked James Friedman to teach them self-defense shortly after the violent murder of a loved one. Classes began in the shadow of tragedy, and Aikido in a small way helped heal the suffering these people were going through. Beginning as a club for that group of around ten friends, the dojo soon outgrew the Sixth Street studio. In 1986 we started with two classes per week and ten students. That quickly progressed, and presently we have 24 adult classes per week, 3 kids' classes per week, two classes per week for mentally and physically handicapped adults, as well as Thai Kickboxing .