Frequently Asked Questions
No. Aikido is truly an art for all ages, and for all people—big or small, short or tall, younger or older . Many students began to train in Aikido later in life, and techniques can be modified as students get older, or as physical restrictions arise.
While many martial arts like Karate, Taekwondo, Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BBJ), Kung Fu, or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) teach offensive techniques, Aikido focuses on de-escalating conflict. Aikido incorporates techniques to neutralize the attacker. Punching or kicking are incorporated only to unbalance an attacker if other techniques do not make them powerless to attack.
Yes, though because it’s a purely defensive martial art, it may take longer to learn and apply technique effectively in the real world. Still, many Aikido principles can be brought to bear effectively in many real-world circumstances, including situations requiring physical self-defense. Greater situational awareness, remaining calm, moving purposely out of the line of attack, unbalancing attackers—all can be effective, but this is not the sole aim of practicing Aikido.
As a rule, no. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba, believed competition fostered an unhealthy desire to ‘win’, so competitions are discouraged. He believed the art’s purpose is to restore harmony and peace, not winning a fight. During class, we encourage cooperation, not competition, so everyone can benefit from training with others. Generally, two people train as partners, each taking turns as ‘nage’ (applying technique), and ‘uke’ (receiving technique). Still, Aikido is a serious martial art, so we diligently train to make sure everyone learns to protect themselves from injury.
For many beginning students, just learning to fall and roll properly (ukemi), and with confidence, is among the most satisfying early experiences. Over time, it becomes second nature, and many Aikido students have avoided injury after falling in real life— from climbing or descending steps, or hiking over rough ground.
We practice a variety of techniques and movements that can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the attack. We begin with basic techniques, and continue to practice them as we learn more advanced techniques. Basic Aikido principles apply to all techniques, whether basic or advanced, so as a student’s skill progresses, the more effective every technique becomes.
While everyone is different, most people who practice Aikido over time find it highly enriching. Many find that what is practiced on the mat benefits many other aspects of life—a greater sense of confidence, greater dedication to other pursuits, personal sincerity, and respect for others, among other things—all become more evident. Maybe more than anything else, finding a greater sense of peace, even in the midst of chaos or difficulty, is especially satisfying.
Our school is committed to providing instruction without discrimination to age, gender, ethnicity, religion or health – so long as you do not have a medical issue that would require a doctor’s permission or would create a hazardous environment for yourself or others.
The most important requirement is a good attitude – the willingness to focus, pay attention, and set a goal for yourself. We train to have fun, to help each other get better, to push each other to new levels of ability, and to cultivate a family of friends and peers. Please show up with the commitment to train hard, be humble, smile, learn amazing things, have fun, and to persevere past the sweat and effort that is necessary to become amazing yourself! You’ll find that if you stick with us, you will want to keep training!
While good aerobic fitness and youth can be a benefit, you do not have to be in athletic shape to start Aikido. The primary requirement to excel in Aikido is a commitment to keep training and improve. We have all started as beginners, and we are very welcoming and encouraging.
If you are not currently an active member, please print, sign, and bring in the appropriate waiver for adults or for minors (Participation Waiver). You can give it to one of the instructor, or we will provide a printed waiver for you to complete when you arrive.
Mostly, you will pick up on the terminology and etiquette just by participating. However, there are a few things to know:
- Bow when you enter or leave the room, and when you step on or off the mat.
- The “bowing in” ceremony at the beginning of class has the students lined up in order of seniority. If you are new, you will join the left side.
- If you are late and class has started, warm up and wait by the side of the mat until the instructor invites you to join. It is not polite or sensible to join the class more than 30 minutes after it has started, unless you have previously discussed it with the instructor.
- If you have to leave early or are injured, please notify the instructor.
- Do not step on the mat with street shoes or dirty feet.
- Please do not lean on the walls, speak loudly during class, or be disrespectful.
- For more information
Uniform and Dress
The preferred uniform for training is a clean, plain white Judo or Karate uniform (dogi). New students and visitors can wear a t-shirt and sweatpants, or any martial art uniform that they have to start with. We recommend that you do not wear any earrings, necklaces, rings or other jewelry that may be broken, come off, or injure you or your partners during training.
We have uniforms available in nearly all sizes.
The Dojo owns weapons which are available for beginners and visitors to use. Eventually, you may choose to buy your own weapons.
Since we train in close physical proximity, all members are expected to maintain high levels of hygiene. Please keep your fingernails and toenails closely trimmed, keep your uniform clean and free of stains, and yourself odor-free.
If you have any open wounds, they must be securely covered. If you have any communicable illness – including colds or influenza – please come watch but do not train! It is important to thoroughly wash your hands with soap up to your elbows before and after class, and to carefully not touch your own face, eyes, ears, or mouth with your hands until you have had the chance to wash again. If you get a cut or begin to bleed on the mat, ask your partner to help you get your injury covered and disinfectant to clean any blood on the mat. To avoid contamination, our policy states that it is your responsibility to clean up after any blood you spill.
We use Kicksite to record and track the progress of Aikijuku students. All active members are expected to use this system to record their attendance each time they train. This ensures that the instructors always have up-to-date contact information for all students, and can monitor the progress of each student and track their readiness for promotion. When you join the Aikijuku Dojo family, you will be told how to register and log into this website, access the database, and access your profile and update your training record.
Information from the training record database is also used to fill the attendance leaderboards and recent promotion lists on this website, and provide students with the up-to-date status of their progress toward their next rank.
At Aikijuku Dojo we have a colored belt system to correspond with Kyu ranks.
Note regarding children’s ranks: The standards for adults over the age of 16 differ from the standards for children’s ranks. Members who graduate from the Children’s Program into the Adult Program will have a placement test for rank assignment in the Adult Program.
They are as follows:
White Belt with Stripe, 6th Kyu (Rokkyu)
Yellow Belt, 5th Kyu (Gokyu)
Orange Belt, 4th Kyu (Yonkyu)
Green Belt, 3rd Kyu (Sankyu)
Blue Belt, 2nd Kyu (Nikyu)
Brown Belt, 1st Kyu (Ikkyu)
First Degree Black Belt, Shodan
Second Degree Black Belt, Nidan
Third Degree Black Belt, Sandan
Fourth Degree Black Belt, Yondan