Question: What is Aikido?

Aikido is a form of Japanese self-defense martial art that is based on harmony. There is no enemy in Aikido. It is wrong to think that having an opponent or an enemy, or trying to be stronger than him and trying to overpower him is Aikido's purpose. Unlike other common martial arts, Aikido does not emphasize competition against others or winning. We train to learn perfect movement and timing so that we may safely accept and offer techniques to keep control over oneself and the attacker. Practitioners learn to "assess" their partners (is this person new? shy? big? little? injured?) and adjust their techniques accordingly. Respecting our partners is an integral part of the spirit of Aikido because our partner is as much our teacher as is everything.

Question: What is the significance of bowing?

In many Asian cultures, bowing is a sign of respect, similar to the American handshake. More importantly, when we bow, we are not just bowing to our partner, but we bow to the whole universe at the same time. We also bow to the shomen (the front of the room toward the photo of O Sensei, the founder of Aikido) as a sign of respect. We thank and bow to each other at the end of class to show our respect to fellow classmates and instructors.

Question: What should students wear? Are they always required to wear the white uniform (gi)?

Students on the mat are welcome to wear comfortable sweat pants and a t-shirt, especially when coming to us for the first time to try the intruductory class. The uniform, however, offers better protection while rolling and helps to unify us as a community. Wear flip-flops and put them by the edge of the mat - this makes it easy to slip them on when getting on and off the mat. no shoes are allowed on the mat at any time in order to protect the mats from wear.

Question: What is the minimum age requirement for children participate in the class?

Our current classes are offered for children 5 and up, who should be able to pay attention and participate in a 45-minute class. Parents are encouraged to join their children for the classes and observe. Contact us to request a preschool class, which would place more emphasis on games and shorter, fast-paced activities.

Question: Can teenagers participate in kids classes?

Teenagers of all skill levels are welcome to participate in the adult classes, which place more emphasis on technique. Click here for the schedule.

Question: Is Aikido too strenuous for individuals who don't exercise regularly?

Aikido is one of the best ways to slowly and safely start exercising while gaining flexibility. Aikido includes stretching exercises, fun conditioning activities that are related to the CA Content Standards for Physical Education, traditional Aikido techniques, and related games. Children and adults enjoy being part of a supportive, energetic community - and don't realize it's "exercise".

Question: What if I have an injury? Can I still take classes?

Safety is always #1, then Aikido is always fun! When you take classes for the first time or inquiring about starting, it is important to let us know the nature and location of any injury you may have. From there, our students are easily able adjust their techniques to accommodate for any limitations related to your injury. Our stretching exercises are a theraputic way to relax muscles, so you may in time see some improvements in mobility, flexibility, and strength.