The Waialae Dojo

Aikido instructor Robert Aoyagi holds court every week at the Waialae Dojo.

Photo by Dana Edmunds

The Waialae dojo was the first building constructed outside of Japan specifically for the practice of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of the martial art, traveled to Honolulu in 1961 to witness the grand opening himself. The place’s best attribute these days, however, is 87-year-old chief instructor Robert Aoyagi. He and his wife, Dora, were among the handful of people to put their names on the dojo’s original mortgage. Amazingly, Robert still teaches four morning classes per week. “It’s what keeps him healthy,” says Dora. “He has a joy for it and it gives him endurance, both physically and mentally.”

3224 Waialae Ave., 737-7133,