There are no prerequisites for Aikido – no age limits, no size requirements, and no specific levels of fitness, flexibility or coordination required. By virtue of training, you will improve your fitness, flexibility and coordination, as well as developing other skills.
Our students range in age from seven to 60 and come from all walks of life – students and professionals, mums and dads, police, security personnel, film makers and wanderers – all are made to feel welcome.
To try and ensure the safety and proficiency of our students, beginners are at first restricted to participating in beginners’ classes, which are offered six days per week.
Newcastle Aikikai offers dedicated beginners’ classes six days per week.
At these classes, you will be encouraged to learn at your own pace, with individual attention and instruction to help ensure you have a positive training experience.
Our beginners’ classes are designed to introduce all of the elements of the art of Aikido in a clear and precise way, from the basic stance and attacks, to the core techniques, and most importantly, how to take Ukemi, or be on the receiving end of the technique, in a safe way.
Each class is tailored to the level of experience of those students present, and senior students work happily with more junior students to help transmit the techniques and the Ukemi.
Beginners’ classes usually incorporate some body conditioning, an important aspect of the Aikido practised at Newcastle Aikikai, with a range of movements designed specifically to build on students’ core strength, coordination, flexibility and centeredness.
The etiquette at the dojo may seem confusing at times but if you carefully observe and follow the examples of the chief instructor and senior students you will soon pick it up.
Awareness is the important thing. Be conscious not only in your training on the mat, but in the way you walk into the dojo, the way in which you align your shoes, and the way in which you speak: all these things are Budo as well.
Bowing is appropriate on the following occasions:
i) When entering and leaving the dojo. (Standing)
ii) When stepping on and off the mat. (Kneeling)
iii) At the beginning and end of class. (Kneeling)
iv) When asking or thanking a partner for practise. (Kneeling)
v) After receiving special instructions from the teacher. (Kneeling)
The cleanliness and purity of the mat and dojo are essential. Remove your shoes upon entering and place them neatly on the shelf. Do not walk in the dojo in shoes or outside in bare feet. Make sure your feet are clean before stepping on the mat. Junior students should take responsibility for cleaning the dojo following class. Please be considerate of your training partners by practicing good personal hygiene. Nails must be kept trimmed.
While training remove all jewellery: watches, rings, earrings, body piercing, necklaces, bracelets, etc. or cover those items which cannot be removed. Injury is at a high risk without the removal of the various types of jewellery.
Be on time for class. If you are late, enter (per #1) and go to the changing room (wait if a technique is being demonstrated). Re-enter, sit at the corner of the mat until the instructor indicates you may join the class. Bow to the Kamiza and instructor in that order.
If you or someone else is hurt, tell the instructor at once. If you need to rest, request permission from the instructor. If you have a problem during practise, let your partner know (wear red tape on injured body parts). Do not leave the mat without permission of the instructor. If someone is injured and blood is exposed they should cease training immediately. NO ONE is to touch or try to clean blood up. Only a Newcastle Aikikai staff member is to handle this situation. A fully stocked first aid kit is available for use at all classes. Please see the Instructor if you require any first-aid items.
At the beginning of class and when asking a partner to practise with you, say “O negai shimasu”. At the end of class and when thanking your partner, say “Domo Arigato gozaimashita”, or “Thank you very much”.
Do not talk during class. Learning the art is done primarily through observation. Ask questions after class.
New students should seek out partners and not wait for someone to choose them.
Weapons and/or gi should always be carried in a bag or covered when outside the dojo. They should be clearly labelled. Do not leave your gi in the changing room.
Never use another person’s weapons without their permission. Every member must have his/her own weapons. Questions concerning the availability of weapons should be directed to the Instructor.