New and prospective member FAQ

What can I do to learn more about aikido?
The easiest way to get a feel for aikido is to come and join in a practice. To encourage people to try aikido, your first class is free (unless it is one of our Introduction to Aikido sessions), though you should show up 10 minutes early for your first class to complete some necessary paperwork.

Can I just watch a class to see if it is for me?
Most people start by joining a practice, however if you prefer to watch one or more classes, that's okay too. Just sit at side of the room but please respect dojo etiquette: no excessive noise, talking or other distracting activities.

Can new members join at any time?
In September, January and May we hold a two-week Introduction to Aikido which is specially designed for beginners. However, new members are also welcome to join at other times of the year. Just come along to any regular class.

Do you have separate classes for beginners?
As mentioned in the previous question, three times a year we hold a two-week Introduction to Aikido which is entirely devoted to beginners. Also the first class on Tuesday nights focusses on basics and foundations so is a particularly good class for beginners. However, beginners are welcome to attend any class (apart from the advanced class). They will be assigned to work with advanced students who will help them to learn as quickly as possible.

What should I wear to a first class?
Just wear loose fitting clothes such as sweat pants and a t-shirt. Don't wear shorts or jeans and please remove jewelry before class. Or, if you have a karate or judo gi just wear that (with a white belt if possible); aikido gis are interchangeable with judo and most karate gis.

How many classes should I attend per week?
We recommend that you try to attend at least two classes per week in order to make good progress.

When should I buy a gi (Aikido uniform)? Where can I get one? How much are they?
We recommend that you practice for a few weeks before investing in a gi. The club used to maintain a small inventory which we resold to our members at cost, but nowadays most people find it just as convenient to order off the internet. There are also one or two places around town which sometimes sell them. Ask another member if you need advice.

Where can I get my own weapons?
Again we recommend that you practice for a while before investing in your own weapons. The club sometimes has some for resale, but we can also recommend some sites on the web. A good quality jo, bokken and tanto set will generally cost around $100. The club also has a small number of weapons available for the use of those who don't have their own.

Do you have kid's classes?
Yes: Mondays 5-6pm and Thursdays 4:30-5:30pm. They are aimed at children aged 9-13. Youths (13+) are welcome to join our regular classes. Those under 18 require a parental signature on their registration forms.
Further Information
phone: 709-864-4401 (Ivan)
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A typical aikido class
Class starts with 10 minutes of stretching and warm-ups, followed by about 5 minutes of basic body movements (tai sabaki) and break-falls and rolling practice (ukemi).

The class proper consists of the paired practice of techniques that have been demonstrated by the instructor. For more discussion of these techniques see the discussion
The Outer Form,
however the practice generally alternates between throwing and locking techniques with usually about 10 minutes spent on each.

Classes generally end with kokyho (a kind of breathing/throwing exercise) or other breathing exercises and a back stretch.

Sunday starts with a class that focusses on grading requirements. In the last half-hour we study weapons (jo and bokken).
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