Getting started

Over the years, we’ve noticed that people follow a number of different paths to our Dojo. Some are looking for self-defense, others are just looking for a bit of fun, and some have previous experience or have done other martial arts. If you are unsure about what to expect, come and watch any of the classes.

Aikido is about developing yourself. With regular training, many find improved balance, fitness and self-discipline. Rather than learning to fight, we strive to manage the aggression presented by others.

Clothing

Normal clothing is a white Karate or Judo suit called a ‘Gi’. New students can train in any comfortable, loose, clean clothes, though it is recommended that you get a Gi if you are going to continue training.

Once you have a Gi, you will be wearing a belt that shows your grade:
5th Kyu to 4th Kyu: White belt
3rd Kyu to 1st Kyu: Brown belt
Shodan above: Black belt

You will notice senior students wearing black or blue ‘overpants’. They are called ‘Hakama’.
Women wear Hakama from 3rd Kyu (brown belt) onwards.
Men wear Hakama from Shodan (black belt) onwards

Rei (the bow)

The bow is a sign of courtesy:

  • Make a standing bow at the inner doorway of the Dojo on entering and leaving.
  • Make a sitting bow before stepping onto the mat.
  • The class makes a sitting bow together at the beginning and end of each session.
  • Bow to each partner you train with when you start and finish your training.

Dojo Etiquette

As a traditional Japanese martial art, you will notice that training is conducted within the bounds of Japanese etiquette and words. When we begin class, we start by sitting in “seiza” (sitting on your knees) and bowing. The bowing is a gesture of politeness and respect, to the founder, the school, our teachers and our fellow students. Let’s face it; we cannot practice Aikido by ourselves. Showing respect and looking after each other goes a long way towards creating an environment where we can all learn.

  1. Be punctual – Try to be ready to train on the mat in plenty of time before the start of class. Give yourself time to get changed and warm-up.
  2. Personal hygiene – Keep your Gi clean and in good condition. Remember to keep your nails short and remove jewelry during training.
  3. Observe etiquette – When an instructor is demonstrating or explaining a concept, please listen carefully.
  4. Injuries – Your instructors and senior students will do everything they can to keep you safe from injury, but it is a martial art and accidents do happen from time to time. If you sustain an injury, please notify the instructor immediately.
  5. Remove socks and shoes before stepping onto the mat.
  6. No food or drink is allowed on the mat.
  7. Visitors are always welcome. We appreciate that they will have questions, and will endeavor to talk with them either before or after class.

Getting Started

Our classes are open to the men and women of all ages and backgrounds. To start, contact us prior to attending your first class or come and see us before training sessions. We’ll hope to answer any questions you might have.