Aikido is a self-defense art which may be practiced by men and women of all ages. The focus of our training is focused on self defense and personal improvement. Aikido is a non-violent and non-competitive martial art.
In order to decisively neutralize an attack we blend with the energy from an attack and in turn use it against them. The goal of the response is neither to harm your attacker or defeat them in the traditional sense; rather it is to get the aggressor to realize that attacking does not lead to anything.
Classes begin with the senior student calling all students to attention by clapping twice and lining up and kneeling in front of the shomen. The senior student, facing 90 degrees towards the class will then say:
“KO-TSUKE” (attention) — then — “MOKUSO” (meditate)
The instructor then says:
“YOI” (good; or ‘enough’)
The senior student turns to face the sensei and then says:
“SHOMEN NI REI” – (bow to the ‘shomen’ or front) “SENSEI NI REI” - (bow to the instructor)
Then everyone says “ONEGAI SHIMASU” (please may I have the honor to practice with you).
At the end of class, only the “Shomen ni Rei” and “Sensei ni Rei” are used, along with everyone saying “Domo Arigato Gozaimashita” (thank you very much for having practiced with me).
Students will address persons of rank according to their title; i.e., “Sensei” or “Shihan”. Note that Suenaka Sensei is always addressed as “Sensei”!
When you pair off to perform techniques, always bow to your partner first, and say “Onegai Shimasu”; when you finish with your partner, “Domo arigato”, noting that a junior to a senior will maintain the bow slightly longer. When you accidentally bump into someone, bow and say “gomen-nasai” (excuse me).
Please note, bowing to the shomen when entering or leaving the mat area, or when working out with your partner, is simply a outward display of respect. As such, we require all students to follow this protocol, irrespective of personal beliefs that may conflict.
When the instructor claps his hands, he wants your undivided attention; stop what you are doing immediately, and sit or kneel in seiza at the edges of the mat. Sometimes the instructor will interrupt the taiso to explain a point; students should sit or kneel also at that time or, generally, any time the instructor is addressing the entire class.
If you have a question, please feel free to ask by raising your hand. If you need to leave class early, or step off the mat for water or bathroom, ask the senior instructor, for it is their responsibility to supervise all those on the mat. No one is permitted to answer phone calls (cell phones turned off during class, please) during class, or go outside the dojo and come back in.
After class beings, we will go through vigorous warm-up excercises and stretching to prepare the body for the
workout to come. The basic class format follows:
In addition, we observe and practice the four basic principles (yon dai gen soku) of Aikido technique: