Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect in my first class?

After a warm-up, the instructor will demonstrate and teach techniques. Students will pair up and practice together under the guidance of the instructor. In your first classes you can practice at a slow and easy pace.  We will teach you how to fall down and roll safely, an essential part of Aikido practice. As you learn to fall expertly you will be able to practice at full speed.

How is Aikido different from other martial arts?

Aikido is a defensive art. The techniques are performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. Kokikai philosophy is “Minimum Effort, Maximum Effect” so using the opponent’s momentum makes a lot of sense. We practice defense against grabs, punches, kicks, chokes and holds from front or behind, as well as single attackers, multiple attackers, knife, stick, and sword.

Am I too old or young or uncoordinated for Aikido?

Aikido can be practiced by people of all ages and athletic abilities. Through regular training you can build flexibility, stamina, coordination and balance. Always let your instructor know if you have health issues, physical limitations, or injuries that may affect your ability to practice.

Are there competitions?

No, Aikido is not a sport; there are no pads, weight divisions, rings, or specific restrictions.

What should I wear to my first class?

Wear comfortable clothes such as sweat pants and a long-sleeve t-shirt or sweatshirt. Remove all jewelry such as necklaces and earrings.

What does “aikido” mean?

The word aikido is composed of 3 Japanese words: Ai (harmony) Ki (spirit or energy) Do (the path or the way). Aikido is the way of the spirit of harmony, or the way of spiritual harmony.

How do advanced students and beginner students train together in the same class?

This is a common concern for beginners, particularly if you feel you might not be ready to work with advanced students yet. Don’t worry, our advanced students enjoy teaching and they get a lot out of working with beginners. With the mind open, one can learn as much from the novice as from the advanced student. Our goal is to help you get good at aikido so that you will be an asset to the class and fun to practice with. We all remember our awkwardness when we started. We remember how patient our partners were with us and how valuable that patience was. We also learn by teaching as well as being taught.

Helping new people is our duty, our learning, and our pleasure. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, try to find them amusing, and allow yourself plenty of time to progress.

How will I remember everything taught in the class?

Good news – you don’t have to. Your body will learn faster than your mind. We are conditioning your subconscious and your muscles to learn and remember over time by working on material that overlaps and reinforces the previous lessons. We expect your mind to forget much in the beginning. Trust the process to bring it all together later.