Frequently Asked Questions
What's involved in training in Aikido?
A normal class is about one and a half hours long and can include:
- Stretching and calisthenics
- Basic rolling and break falls
- Traditional Aikido techniques
- Weapons training
- Bokken (wooden sword)
- Jo (wooden staff)
- Tanto (wooden knife)
- Misogi Breathing
Do women train in Aikido?
Women are encouraged to train in Aikido, we do not discriminate on the basis of gender.
What clothes do I need to wear? Do I need to buy a uniform to start?
We understand that a gi can be expensive for someone who isn't sure they'll want to continue. Acceptable clothing for a beginner is loose, comfortable sports type wear. It should have full leg and arm covering. No shorts or leotards please. This is mainly for safety - the clothing protects you against mat burns, bumps and scrapes. Remove jewellery, watches, earrings, rings, hard hair clips and so on before class. Any cuts or wounds should be covered by adhesive tape. Hands and feet should be clean and washed, nails trimmed if necessary.
You'll find that Aikido is very hard on normal clothes, which is why we wear a martial arts gi which is built to last. The usual type is a judo-style ribbed gi, not the canvas karate-style gi. Either white or unbleached is fine.
Always buy a gi far too large as they shrink when washed! When new the sleeves should cover your wrists. Ask the shopkeeper if you are uncertain. Wash it once before your first class - to get out some of the stiffness.
When do I get to wear the black skirt (hakama)?
The black skirt or hakama is worn when you reach black belt level. The 'skirt' represents formal Japanese clothing that males wore in previous times and was part of their daily wear.
What are the fees?
The training fee is $10/class. Aiki Kai Australia is a non-profit organisation. Our instructors are not paid to teach. Fees cover expenses such as hall hire and administration.
We have a $60.00 monthly fee that lets you attend as many classes as you wish that month - which is great value for the serious student.
We also have a yearly membership/studentship fee that covers insurance, personal indemnity, administrative costs and a travel for our technical committee to instruct across the country.
How long does it take to get a black belt?
A similar question would be 'How long does it take to learn to play the piano?' Having said that, a student who trains seriously might be nominated to attend a black belt grading after five years or so. The gradings are held twice a year at the national events.
Is there a minimum age to start?
Aikido training is very vigorous and can be hard on the joints. If you are younger than about 15 you should speak to our instructor to seek his opinion before starting in an adult class.
Is there a maximum age to start?
Speak to our instructor if you think you may be too old to start training. Obviously you need to have the physical capability to exercise at a reasonable pace but Aikido is suitable to people of most ages.