Welcome to your first Aikido class. The first thing you should notice is the warm, inviting, peaceful space that is your dojo. This is a safe and supportive atmosphere for your exploration of Aikido. You will find a balance between seriousness in our study and joy expressed in our technique.
It is customary to remove your shoes and place them neatly in one of the shoe racks. As with most actions we take in the dojo there is a practical purpose and a metaphorical purpose. By taking your shoes off you will help to keep the dojo floor clean which is important as we are bare foot on the mat. You are also separating the mud and debris, problems and distractions, of the outside world and leaving it at the door as you enter a clean and uncluttered space to explore and safely train.
Clothes to wear
You will want to wear comfortable clothes that you can move freely in. Sweat pants and tee shirt are ideal. Shorts are not recommended as we spend time on our knees. Tee shirts should not have inappropriate messages or logos. As you train you will want to purchase a gi. We use a white judo gi in Aikido. Gi can be purchased from any one of a number of sources. We can help you find one that fits you. You may also find used gi often at second hand or thrift stores, especially in youth sizes.
Students should arrive in time to change and be on the mat 10 minutes before the class start time. Two changing rooms and restrooms are available at the dojo. Eating, chewing gum, and smoking are not allowed. Fingernails and toe nails need to be trimmed so as not to cause injury to training partners. Wear no jewelry and adhere to a policy of personal cleanliness. When entering or leaving the mat we bow to the shomen. This signifies our respect for the teachers that have come before us and also is a formal declaration of our intention to train. If you have any physical limitations or injuries let Sensei know.
What you will see
We start class by bowing in. This is a formal greeting, giving thanks to those that have given us this art and inviting all on the mat to train. We will then spend the first 20 minutes stretching and performing warm up exercises that train the body to move correctly. You will then observe a demonstration of the the technique or movement that we will be practicing in class. This will then be broken down into step by step instruction appropriate for your level of training. Hai Douzo! Find a partner, start your exploration and let the fun begin. Follow what the lead students (sempei) do as best you can. Over time, with thoughtful practice, you will easily learn the routine. Ask questions at appropriate times of sempei. As you progress in the dojo you will become the person that a new student asks questions of, so take it all in. This is the progression and your responsibility. Trust in the process.
My First Day
My first experience in the Roshinkan Aikido Dojo, located in Spokane,
was during the 2008 Fall Aikido Seminar. Out of practice for years, I
was apprehensive about my ability to recall let alone perform my prior
Aikido training (different Dojo). Fortunately the Director, James
Landry Sensei, encouraged me to attend, ensuring me that this would be
a good introduction to Roshinkan Aikido. It was that and more. My
first impression was how friendly and accepting everyone was. There
were no ego trips, superiority complexes, or competition between
practitioners as I’ve experienced in other Dojo’s. From the chief
instructor, Sato Sensei, down the ranks everyone was friendly,
respectful, cooperative, and patient. The knowledge and skill of the
instructors was impressive, and their teaching ability superb. I had
such a good time, and was so impressed with the experience, that I
enrolled in classes and am currently a student at the Roshinkan Dojo.
Thanks to all of you that helped bring me back to Aikido.Charles DeLorenzo Roshinkan Aikido Dojo
My First Day
My first day before going to Roshinkan Dojo I felt a tad bit nervous. Much like starting a new job, one never knows quite what to expect. What kind of people will I encounter? What is the training like? Will I fit in and how might I compare to other students? I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and the Dojo exceeded my expectations! Everyone was friendly and helpful. Sensei James Landry knew exactly how to integrate me into his class. I was able to participate in nearly every aspect of class but was not pressured into techniques that I was not prepared for. I am happy to say I was sold from the very beginning and continue as a student to this day. Aikido is wonderful on many levels and I highly recommend Sensei James Landry and Roshinkan Dojo to all!Matthew Munson Roshinkan Aikido Dojo
My First Day
I found the Roshinkan dojo online and was excited to discover the free introductory class. When I arrived at the dojo the sensei, James Landry and another student were practicing with jo or wooden staffs. After a few minutes Sensei came over and introduced himself. After filling out a standard disclaimer I got onto the mat.
I didn’t have a gi-uniform- so I felt a little awkward on the mat in just my sweats. The older students were quick to introduce themselves. They showed me how to sit properly, and explained that we sit in order of least to most experience. Soon everyone began to do the warm up exercises. I was really excited to hear that the warm up stretches and basic footwork was a part of every class. Sensei demonstrated everything several times explaining what made the move work or why the hand stretches were important. Everyone on the mat was smiling and there wasn’t a huge competition to see who the best was. It was awesome. At the end sensei and some of the older students demonstrated some of the more advanced techniques. It was inspiring to see what you can become after training.
I was thrilled about how well things were explained and how the older students stepped up to help new students. The whole dojo emanated a feeling of active joy that I still feel every time I show up to train. It’s definitely worth trying.Olivia Prehn Roshinkan Dojo