Basic Guidline for Training Aikido

Follow these basic guidelines when training Aikido.

  • Terms: sensei (sen-say) – instructor, nag’e – the one who responds to an attack, uk’e – the attacking partner, dojo – training hall
  • Students should prepare the dojo by arranging the mats before the class starts. Sit on the mat until the sensei comes to start class, or you may practice breathing exercises and basic movements.By the class start time, all students should be seated quietly in line. Before class starts, students and instructor will bow to each other. Same bowing at the end of class.
  • Class will start with warm-up exercises and basic movements. The sensei will demonstrate and explain techniques. Observe and listen with full attention. Students will then practice these techniques with a partner or in a group.
  • In beginning aikido practice, attacks are staged and static; techniques are done slowly with emphasis on following the lines of force and leading energy, not to smash uke to the mat. It’s no time to discuss how it would be handled in other martial arts or to list reasons why it wouldn’t work “on the street”.
  • Fully involve your mind (awareness, focus, attitude etc) and body (body mechanics) in the execution of all techniques. Relax your body. Do not be tense.
  • Do not take the techniques as “when attacked like this, defend this way.” Treat the techniques as exercises to develop and coordinate your mind and body. Not all techniques can be practically applied, but training in basics will eventually give you the ability to make an appropriate response in a real situation
  • Do not challenge each other and try to show-off your skills and strength as this may result in serious injury. An atmosphere of cooperation, not competition, is required. Remember that you are here to learn, and not to gratify your ego.
  • Carry out the directives of the sensei promptly. Do not keep the rest of the class waiting for you.
  • Do not stop practicing until you are told by the sensei. If you are tired, sit quietly by the side of the dojo.
  • Always follow the sensei’s instructions and only practice techniques that are demonstrated by the instructor. Do not try other techniques.
  • Do not call the sensei to explain a technique. The sensei will go around the class observing the practice and will explain the techniques if necessary.
  • Don’t worry about committing techniques and their names to memory. Repetition of techniques will take care of that.
  • Some techniques will be practiced in groups. When one group is practicing, the other group should sit quietly next to the mat and observe the practice.
  • When the sensei calls out and/or claps to change techniques or to explain the present practice, line-up at the edge of the mat quickly and pay immediate attention.
  • Keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to one topic – Aikido.
  • If you have any injury that prevents you from practicing certain techniques, inform the sensei
  • Do not leave the dojo for any reason without getting the permission of the sensei.
  • Have respect and courtesy for the other people in the dojo.
  • Bowing in Aikido is done to show mutual respect, trust and acceptance of others. It should be sincere, not mechanical.Before and after practicing a technique, always bow to your partner.
  • The formal sitting posture in Aikido (seiza): sit on heels with big toes touching or crossed right over left. Palms on top of thighs, hands relaxed.
  • If you cannot join to class due to injury or other reason, you are encouraged to come and observe the class.

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