What is Aikido?
Beginners are welcome at any time to classes and will be catered for with individual instruction and guidance from the class instructor and other senior students.
Your first class is free, subject to signing an Aikido Kenkyukai Membership Form and Martial Arts Contract. This can be downloaded from the Membership page or just turn up and sign one on the day/evening (make sure you turn up early enough to complete the form before training.) Please come in tracksuit pants and a T-shirt if you don't have a training Gi (uniform). You are also most welcome to come along and watch a training session to see if you like what we do. If you would like to contact us, use the contact page.
Benefits of Aikido
At the basic level Aikido teaches self-defence, as the techniques draw upon centuries of extremely effective Japanese fighting arts such as juijitsu and kobudo. The physical benefits are excellent, as the training process requires you to focus, keep disciplined and is quite aerobic in nature.
However, the greater benefit of the art is learning to resolve conflict positively by moving with your opponent rather than fighting against them, to let go of fear, gain self confidence and ultimately help bring your mind, body, and spirit into harmony. The training process helps uncover the gift of awareness and peace within ourselves, and is indeed a 'Way' to self discovery. Thus the art is really about learning how to live, rather than learning how to fight. You can read through the student resources, such as the essays and interviews to get a better understanding of these greater benefits.
While Aikido makes some physical demands of its practitioners, every effort is made to cater for individual needs. The instructor should be consulted at all times. However, it is reasonably aerobic and not recommended for people with severe medical conditions, such as heart problems. There are no restrictions regarding age or gender.
Clothing and other equipment
It is best for beginners to start training in a tee-shirt and light long trousers, such as tracksuit pants, as some of the training is carried out on the knees. Regular practitioners usually purchase a white Judo-style gi, which consists of a jacket and trousers. As students advance, weapons training is practised, and students are expected to purchase relatively inexpensive wooden weapons, such as a wooden sword, staff and knife.
Note on Religious Beliefs
Aikido is not a religious martial art. Although the art comes from a long tradition of Japanese martial arts that have used concepts from Buddhist and Shinto religions, the practice itself is not religious.
Please note that there is bowing involved. At the beginning and the end of the class students are asked to bow to the front of the dojo where a picture of O-Sensei is placed, and then bow to the instructor. This is simply a mark of respect, not a religious ritual. If your religious beliefs restrict you from bowing to anyone but God, please speak to the instructor and seek exemption from the bowing. In this case you will be asked to sit respectfully to the side of the class while the bowing is conducted.