Getting Started

Observing a Class

Our dojo welcomes new students year round. If you are not sure if you would like to train in Aikido but would like to find more out, we suggest you come to a class and observe, talk to the students and teachers and even try it out. Please come a few minutes early so you can ask question before class.

A beginners class with new students learning to roll and observing.

A beginners class with new students learning to roll and observing.

You are welcome to observe part or all of the class. Please make sure to wear comfortable clothing (like sweatpants and a t-shirt) if you are considering joining practice.

What is Class Like?

Although class format can vary, there is a standard pattern we follow most of the time. At the start of class, students line up on the mat sitting in seiza (on their knees) and the instructor (Sensei) bows in the class and begins it. After bowing in, the Sensei then leads the class through stretching. Then we practice the Aiki-Taiso; these are basic movements found in Aikido. Next, there is time to practice your rolls. Classes with new students, will allot extra time to explain the mechanics of the front roll and the back roll.

Students of all ages and rank can enjoy Aikido.

Students of all ages and rank can enjoy Aikido.

After this, the Sensei will then call up a student and begin teaching technique. He or she will show the technique and explain it before bowing to the students. The students will then pair up and train taking turns being practicing and receiving the technique. Students do not train solely with people of their own rank. During your first few classes especially, upper ranking students will help guide you through the technique and help you learn it as well as how to take a fall from that technique. A complex move may be broken down to its fundamentals to help you learn as well.

Some classes will contain weapons work in addition to empty handed technique. Our dojo teaches kata- a series of movements- with wooden staff or sword, disarming weapons and throws using weapons. Beginning students without weapons of their own may borrow from another student.

Finally, we will warm down and close class. Depending on the Sensei, they may verbally summarize what you practice or leave you with something to ponder on. Students then help put up the mats and tidy up the dojo as needed.