Aikido - Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can I expect when I begin classes?
You can expect to be guided carefully and safely through the introductory process and to proceed at your own pace. You will be encouraged to listen to your body’s current limitations and respect them. There may be some movements or activities that you will not do at the start or for some time. With patience and diligence anyone can learn and benefit from Aikido.
And you can expect to have a great time!
2. Do I need to be in shape before I start Aikido?
No fitness level is required to begin since everything is approached slowly, carefully and methodically. Eventually, your capacities will increase naturally with time and there are no pre-conceived notions as to keeping up with others or certain time standards. Each person’s path and progression is individual.
3. How often should I attend class per week?
All classes, including the weapons classes, are open to everyone. It is highly recommended to aim for twice a week as a minimum average. Attending more frequently brings even greater rewards and satisfaction. Above all, consistency in attendance will ensure steady progression and health benefits.
6. Are there competitions or tournaments?
In traditional Aikido, there are no competitions or tournaments. There are both philosophical and practical reasons for this. Philosophically, the practice of Aikido provides an environment for people to train and learn together, helping each other grow and develop along the path of Aiki (conscious harmonious living). Competition in Aikido takes the form of striving to do one’s best, forging one’s mind, body and spirit through the heat and pressure of continual practice, commitment and focus.
There is also a vitally practical reason for having no organized competitions. Competitions and tournaments have a valid place in the arena of sport. In the actuality of self-defense or survival, rules and proper conduct have no meaning or value. Aikido, as a Budo, prepares one for life … whether that be carrying out life’s daily activities and demands more effectively or successfully dealing with life’s more pivotal moments.
8. How do I start?
Call to arrange a time to watch a class. This will provide you an opportunity to overview the different levels of students practicing and give you an idea of how classes are structured. Then you are welcome to try a class to see how you like it. Bring sweats or comfortable workout clothes … and feel free to bring a friend or family member along to try a class with you!
4. Who can practice Aikido?
Aikido is an art that can be adapted to any particular situation and condition. Regardless of age, fitness level and physical ability, anyone who has the desire and motivation can practice and enjoy Aikido.
5. Are there strikes or kicks in Aikido?
As a traditional Japanese Martial Art, it’s roots stemming from battlefield reality, Aikido does indeed include strikes and kicks, as well as any strategy required for survival or self-defense. The Abundant Peace Aikido School is a traditional Aikido dojo. As such, we maintain Aikido’s Budo (martial) roots as it’s source of integrity and vitality.
7. Why do we practice with weapons?
The traditional weapons in Aikido are the bokken or wooden sword, and the jo or wooden staff. These are used as tools to help us understand key principles and techniques so that we can improve and deepen our Aikido. Concepts and principles such as focus, timing, distance, body alignment, connection between attacker and defender, become more apparent when we are working with these tools and these understandings then transfer directly to our empty-hand techniques and movements. The bokken and the jo also become useful for solo training, greatly enhancing our level of Aikido.