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FAQ - Frequently asked Questions

FAQ for children and women are also available

Question

Answer

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art based on the principle of Ki, that is, the harmony or balance of energy. One seeks to overcome an attacker by first blending with the incoming attack then redirecting its energy.

Taking the attackers balance both physically and mentally and then controlling the movement is important in Aikido, as is the development of the use of Ki rather than strength. Many of the movements in Aikido are based on movements with sword and other weapons. Read more

Can anyone take part?

With Covid risks we recommend participants are fully vaccinated. Our class is only open to those over 16 and adults who take a lateral flow test before a class.

Older people should weigh the risks to make an informed decision. See what our precautions are and how the style of the class else where on this site

Do you need to be physically fit to start?

Classes are coached to suit students' abilities and fitness levels. So the answer is 'No'. But Aikido is an activity where a willingness to try is more important than fitness initially.

Are there any age restrictions?

See our answer to "Can anyone take part"

Mature people are welcome.

We don't currently run a Junior class

Where do the classes take place?

Our class is at Altrincham Leisure Centre, Oakfield Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 8EW

When do classes take place?

Prior to lockdown we ran a number of classes.

We have now opened a class of 90 minutes running from 16:15 on Sunday for those 16yrs + & adults. We hope to run a second class in a evening later in 2022.

What about classes for younger students?

Participants need to be 16+,

The shape of our aikido community has changed considerably since lockdown. The coaching team has shrunk,  has less availability and flexibility to run classes. Also very few of our graded students below black belt have restarted which limits the assistance we previously had supporting the junior class. This means the Junior class is not reopening in the madiunm term.
 

What is the format of classes?

Classes start with gentle stretching and warming up exercises. We then carry out some basic body movement (taisabaki) exercises to practice the basic steps of avoidance and blending which underpin the Aikido techniques.

This is followed by the instructor (Sensei) demonstrating techniques which are then practised by the students in pairs or ability groups.

Lesson plans are varied by our qualified coaches to suit abilities and experience of those present

Do I need any special clothing or equipment to start?

No special clothing or equipment is required to begin with.

We recommend you wear something old, loose and un-restricting like a track suit. Please try to avoid anything with zips/buttons etc.

You can buy judo suits and other equipment at discounted prices once you decide Aikido is for you.

Do I need to do any preparation before attending classes?

No specific preparation is required - a willingness to try is important.

How do I start?

Need to sort forms and other admin matters out before attending a class. We no longer accept people turning up unannounced because of Covid precautions

Do you have grades in Aikido?

There is a formal grading structure in Aikido which takes students from beginner level through Kyu grades to Dan grade (black belt) just like other martial arts. 

As you settle into the club and build your skill level - you will start approaching your first grading between 40 and 60 training hours.

How will I be treated as a beginner?

You will be welcomed onto the mat after registering and will practice alongside and with other students.

During your first sessions you will be taught basic breakfall (ukemi) techniques; blending and avoidance movements. You will also work with other students practising various pinning and projection techniques.

We also provide at your first class our Beginner's Booklet that gives greater detail about us and Aikido.

Are there any Aikido competitions?

Our club practices traditional Aikido which builds defensive skills and so there are no competitions.

We rely on working with partners so that the attacker (nage) and defender (uke) work in unison to develop and perfect techniques.

Do I need a background in Martial Arts?

Absolutely not

I am not very fit - can I practise Aikido

Aikido can be vigorous but classes tend to run at much lower levels particularly so for beginners - it's the quality of the movements that are important and to grasp those the speed of movements is much lower.

Your fitness will improve class on class.

Can I practise at home to improve?

It's really hard to practise at home --- especially when starting out except for some of the turning movements and solo weapon work.

I can't remember what was taught in my first class is this normal?

Yes - It can seem like a fog at first - but gradually you find you repeat items from earlier classes and then have the satisfaction of feeling you know something; and the fog starts to lift. 

Why do we train with Weapons?

Defending against weapons is part of Aikido and is part of our defensive system.

Learning weapons, which we do also, serves to enhance your own Aikido by increasing your spatial awareness and improving body movement and posture. Together with developing an understanding of lines of attack and the defences needed.

What's the difference between a Bo and a Jo

Bo is larger and longer we use jo a smaller variety of stick.

Kokyu throw