What is Aikido?
Aikido is often called “The Art of Peace”. It is a non-violent martial art that originated in Japan in the early 1900’s. The founder of Aikido is Morihei Ueshiba or O’Sensei (Great Teacher). Ai means harmony or love, Ki means energy or spirit, and Do means the way or the path. Aikido translates into “the way of harmonizing your spirit with that of the universe”. Practitioners learn to blend with the energy of an attack and effortlessly redirect it in a way that protects both parties. Because it is non-competitive in nature it is ideally suited for people of all ages, sizes, and athletic ability.
How do I get started in Aikido?
Classes are ongoing and may be begun at any time. A Basics class is offered three times a week. See our schedule for class times. This class is open to all students, however it’s emphasis is on basic movement and is therefore ideal for new students.
Do I have to begin in the Basics or Beginners Class?
This is not a requirement but it is recommended. Fifty percent of Aikido training requires some kind of falling. For many, learning to fall in the slowly paced Basics class is a more comfortable option. We realize however, that your schedule may not be such that attending these classes is a viable option. In this case we will work with you in the General Practice classes so that you may learn how to fall safely.
What do I wear during class?
Students wear a white martial arts Gi. It is quite acceptable to take your first few classes in sweats or other workout clothing, however long pants and a shirt with short sleeves are required. If you are serious about your training, we recommend that you get your Gi sooner rather than later.
Don’t people prefer to practice with advanced students instead of beginners?
One of the most difficult aspects of being a beginner is dealing with the awkward feelings that tend to surface. Aikido is very difficult to master and it is important that all students maintain a “beginners mind”. It is important to remember that every person in Aikido was at some point a beginner. Senior students hold a sincere desire to help beginners in large part because we have all been there and know how it feels. Part of the tradition of Aikido involves being of service and helping others in their training!
How long does it take to learn Aikido?
There are a couple of ways that people approach their practice. Aikido is for some people a life long study. It is a very difficult art to learn and is full of many layers of complexity. In order to gain significant accomplishment, one needs to practice several times a week on a regular basis. Other people are simply interested in learning the principles of Aikido and are less interested in advancing in rank or putting in such a significant investment of time and energy. In this case, there will be many benefits from training however progress will be somewhat slower.
Is Aikido Self Defense?
Yes it is. Aikido techniques are definitely useful when self defense is required. Aikido principles of awareness, presence, and conflict resolution are also useful tools of protection. Many people report that they were able to get out of dangerous situations before they became physically dangerous by paying attention to their environment and trusting their intuition. It is also a powerful practice for dealing with one’s own “inner critic” so that a feeling of internal harmony becomes a possibility.
Are there injuries in Aikido?
As is the case with any form of movement, the possibility of injury does exist. There are remarkably fewer injuries in Aikido than you might imagine. This is in large part because it is an art that is based on cooperation and the premise that we are practicing the “the loving protection of all beings”. As mentioned above, Aikido students learn early and often how to fall and move out of harms way safely. Falling and moving safely is a powerful form of self defense. Safety and ongoing awareness of all things is continually emphasized!