So you are thinking about learning Aikido, but you have a few questions or concerns.
Here, we’ll try to give you the answers you need.
“Can I come and just watch a lesson?”
You are welcome to come to any of our training session and watch, as long as you behave in a quiet and respectful manner. For more details, view our beginner’s guide.
“Can I try before I buy?”
Yes. We believe it is the best way to make your mind up about Aikido and the way we train. The first session is free and there are no obligations. For more details, view our beginner’s guide.
“What style do you practice?”
We practice primarily Tomiki aikido, though the principles of all aikido styles are explored during the training sessions. We have links with both Yoshinkan and Aikikai clubs for instance.
“Are you affiliated to any organisation?”
We are members of the British Aikido Association.
“What can I expect from my first lesson?”
After a bit of warmup, you’ll be shown some basic breakfalls so you can train without hurting yourself. Then, you will join the group where you’ll be training with everybody. Do not worry, we will take it easy and you won’t be asked to do difficult or dangerous techniques. You do what you can, relax and have some fun.
“Do I need to buy some of those white pyjamas?”
To start with, some loose and comfortable clothing will be enough. If you decide that Aikido is your thing, then we’d recommend that you get a gi (or dogi).
“I’m a bit unfit, will that be a problem?”
You don’t have to be fit to do Aikido. It’s a matter of technique, not brute force. That said, as you train regularly, you’ll see your level of fitness and stamina improve. During our warmups, we always try to give the students a good workout. Then again, don’t panic, just do what you can. There is no competition and if you need to stop, do so.
Nobody will look down at you.
“Do you have a beginners only class?”
No, we have a very mixed bunch with abilities ranging from white to black belts. We all train together so you may end up training with a fellow white belt or a black belt. The higher grades always aim to help the lower ranks. We are here to learn together.
“How much will it cost to train?”
The first session is free. In effect, you try before you buy.
After that, the fee is £6 for two hours of instruction (£3 for juniors).
After a few weeks of training, you choose to stick with it, you will need to get a license, which we arrange via the club. This includes your insurance certificate.
“How long will it take me to get a black belt?”
It’s very hard to tell. It depends on your abilities, commitment, how often you can train, etc….. Some people might be able to attain 1st dan within 4 or 5 years, others will take 10 years or more! We are not a black belt mill, in other words, if you get your black belt, you know you will have earned it honestly.
Remember, the higher rank you get, the faster and the harder you will be thrown!!
Also, the black belt is not the end, but the beginning of your training.
(view syllabus here).
“Do you do weapons training?”
Yes. We train regularly with rubber knives. We also teach how to use the jo (4ft staff) and the bokken (wooden sword). The use of weapons helps aikidoka with their distance, centre and avoidance.