Frequently Asked Questions

1) What do I need to get started?

Just come to our dojo whenever there's a class scheduled. Bring with you a training suit (keikogi) like the ones used in Judo (white color) and a pair of flip-flops to avoid carrying dust from the surroundings to the mat. Also you're welcome to take seat and watch quietly an ongoing class, or to try and take part in a class, wearing a common sweatsuit if you don't have a keikogi yet. You're not required to make an appointment or phone us in advance, simply pop up one day at our dojo, that's all.

2) Is there any age limit?

No. Although most of us are adult people, up from 35 years of age, there are aikidokas of all ages, men and women, from children to pensioners. A large part have started the practise of Aikido after their forties.

3) Can women practise Aikido as well as men?

Yes. In Aikido we aim at guiding our opponent, not by force but gently, without violence. Although men are stronger in general, and tend to take advantage of their physical superiority to resolve the situation, just because of that it will be more difficult for them to learn the true Aikido. Their own strength will turn out to be a severe handicap. Therefore normally there are no separate men's or women's classes, as it is far more beneficial for all to practise together.

4) Might I get hurt when practising Aikido?

A lasting damage is practically impossible, but it is possible to feel some level of pain during the execution of a technique, and if you haven't trained for some time you may feel that pain still several days later. Therefore you might find yourself a bit awkward for a couple of days, on the mat as well as in other everyday activities, until it goes away.

In Aikido as we practise it, and as it is practised worldwide, competition doesn't exist. Contests or fights are forbidden. The techniques are executed in sequences of four, playing the roles of Tori (the one who studies the technique) and Uke (the one who helps Tori in his study), then swapping roles and over four times again.

Tori must guide Uke's attack, not by whichever means, but by the impeccable execution of the technique that is being studied, and Uke must attack loyally, always within the limits set for our study. Each of the opponents is victorious and defeated four times, by turns. Injuries are rare and are often caused by clumsiness or rivalry (“ego”).

5) What's the schedule?

To be elaborated

6) And the prices?

To be elaborated.

Usually the monthly fee gives you the right to use the changing rooms and other facilities of the dojo, and to attend as many classes as you can, of the ones scheduled.

Important: We are not a business company. We are just a group of people who are interested in practising Aikido together, and are not selling products or services for benefit. There's no relationship among us other than fellowship.

Anyways we have expenses. Don't forget that we have to pay the rent for the premises, from time to time we have to buy mats and/or training weapons, paperwork to be done, regular fees to be paid as affiliates of larger Aikido organizations, etc.

7) What about festivities and holidays?

Although some dojos may close during the holiday periods (summer, Christmas, etc), in our dojo we consider that Aikido is practised for personal cultivation, and therefore we practise all the year, with the exception of only a few very special days.

8) Any other expenses?

Beyond the cost of the classes themselves, there's also the obligatory Kai Shin Kai (or other officially recognised British Aikido association) annual membership fee, which includes an insurance and also allows you to grade. Other international organisations also have their own annual membership fees, but there's no obligation to become members unless you want to grade also within those other organisations..

9) For how long must I practise until I get my black belt?

If you ask that, it means that there's still a long way to go.

The time will depend on your aptitude for learning, on the regularity of your attending to the classes, on your attending to courses given by high-level masters, on the strength of your endeavor. By the time your level gets close to that black-belt goal, you already will be thinking less on the goal than on the way.

When you become a black belt (1st dan), the only thing that changes is your uniform, to indicate that you have completed your initiation phase, but you are just one level above an absolute beginner, and you have just completed the first steps of a way that is for a lifetime.

For those who want figures: An average adult beginner training regularly two to three times per week, usually will need about three years to get his 1st dan. But some get it in just two years, and some others may need seven years.

10) Clothing

Our custom is that beginners wear a white keikogi with white belt and keep wearing this uniform until they get their 1st dan, which is when they'll change the white belt for a black one and will start wearing a black hakama covering the trousers. From then on the uniform won't change anymore.

11) Weapons

Although it is fairly common that, in Aikido courses and training sessions organised by other groups, the participants be expected to bring their own (wooden, for training) weapons: tanto (knife), bokken (sword), jo (stick), in our group we don't ask our members to buy any weapons as we rarely study with them and, when we do, we use the ones that are the property of the dojo. The weapon with which we practise most is the bo (a longer stick) in the way known as Masakatsu Bojutsu, which was developed by the Founder, and further transmitted by master Michio Hikitsuchi.

12) I have practised Aikido before with other instructors. Can I practise with your group?

Yes. All aikidokas are welcome to practise with us. Also, whether you are traveling or just passing by, you are welcome to take part as a guest in our training.

13) I need more details. Will one of your representatives call me on my phone?

No, we won't phone you. As it has been said already, we are not a company looking for clients, so don't expect us to go after you. Our schedules and all the rest of relevant questions are answered in the present FAQ-page. If you have more questions you can use our contact form, and if you are really interested in Aikido, just go to one of our training sessions and then ask there as much as you wish.