You may start your training at any time by attending a four week basics program.
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.