FAQ

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW TO BEGIN?

  • Arrive punctually, ready to learn and with an open mind
  • It is acceptable for beginners to wear loose-fitting clothing or a tracksuit. Later it is recommended that you purchase a “gi” as this is the traditional clothing and is designed to be both practical and comfortable
  • Shoes are to be stowed on shoe racks before stepping onto the “tatami” (mat)
  • “Kaigan” means enlightenment and a “dojo” is a training hall or place of enlightenment
  • It is traditional to bow (rei) before stepping onto the tatami. This is to humble yourself and demonstrate respect for the training area
  • The dojo is no place for ego or aggression and this philosophy should also continue outside the dojo
  • Before the class begins the students may stretch, practice or sit quietly in contemplation. It is important to ensure your feet are clean and that the mat has been swept before class
  • Before the instructor steps onto the tatami, the most senior student will signal the class to line up in rank (at Kaigan Aikido Dojo, this means that the most senior student furthest from the door, most junior student closest to the door)
  • Once lined up, sitting in seiza (on knees), this is an opportunity to relax and clear one’s head. It is poor etiquette for the sensei to wait for the class to line up
  • The sensei will sit in front of the class near the kamiza (picture of the founder of aikido) and initiate and bow respectfully to the kamiza, the class follows suit. Then the sensei will turn and exchange bows with the class and everyone says “one gaishimasu” (please teach me). This has no religious connotation but is purely a sign of respect. The class ends with a similar bowing ceremony where everyone says “domo arigato gosaimasu” (thank you very much)
  • After some breathing exercises, stretches, warm up techniques and foot movements are performed to prevent injury and make one’s movements and techniques more fluid. Pay attention to these fundamental practices as they are designed to create awareness and control as well as an understanding of the finer aspects of a complete technique
  • Besides being a functional system of self-defence, it is also an effective and enjoyable way to stay supple, fit and healthy
  • It is practiced by men and women of all ages
  • Aikido emphasises self-development
  • Aikido is not a religion, however it is a way of life that spontaneously co-exists with nature and echoes the teachings of all major world religions
  • Aikido was derived from sword and spear techniques. Today these form one integrated whole with the emphasis on tai-jutsu, open-hand practice. It is standard practice that the bokken (wooden sword), jo (wooden staff) and tanto (wooden knife) are used or referred to during practice.
  • It is appropriate for students to carry their own weapons but as initial beginners, there are Kaigan Aikido Dojo communal weapons for students to use until they acquire their own weapons
  • Aikido is a wonderful way of forging the mind, body and spirit