What is Aikido?
Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art which was developed in the early 1900s by Morehei Ueshiba or O' Sensei as he is also known. Ueshiba combined the body movements of swordsmanship with the locks and throws of classical Jujutsu to create Aikido. We focus on concepts like internal strength and using an attacker's energy rather than relying on your own physical power alone. Aikido aims to foster cooperation and understanding in people, rather than encouraging victory at all costs so there are no competitions or sparring.
What do I need to wear?
At first you can wear loose fitting clothes such as a t-shirt and jogging bottoms - clothes you would be comfortable to work out in. Please also bring a pair of sandals or similar footwear to allow you to easily walk to the mat without getting your feet dirty. After you’ve been practising for a while, we recommend buying a keikogi - the white jacket, trousers and belt typically worn in Japanese martial arts.
Do I need to be fit?
A certain level of physical fitness can help your practice but it isn’t necessary to start practising Aikido. We believe Aikido is for everyone and is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. You will be encouraged to practise within the safe limits of your own physical ability.
From a safety perspective, always remember, it is important to be aware of your body and your physical capabilities in any physical activity at any one time. Make sure your doctor supports your participation in Aikido if you have a medical condition or you are recovering from one.
What age can I start?
You can train at Bath Aikido Society from age 14 years and up. If you aren’t quite old enough but are still interested, please get in touch as we may be able to work something out.
How much does it cost and how do I pay?
Your first session at Bath Aikido Society is free. If you’d like to continue practising after the first session, each class is £7. We charge on a class-by-class basis rather than a monthly fee. We accept both cash and card payments. There is also an annual membership fee of £10 which includes your insurance against injury and enables you to practise Aikido elsewhere.
What happens in an Aikido class?
Class begins with everyone lining up and bowing to the shomen - an area at the front of the dojo - then a series of warm-up exercises led by the instructor to prepare students for the class.
The instructor will then begin demonstrating techniques, often based around a theme, which students will then practise with each other. In Aikido one partner takes the role of tori (the one performing the technique), and the other takes the role of uke (the one receiving the technique). You can think of these roles as defender and attacker. During this practice, both partners work together to develop their understanding of the technique, both how to perform it, and how to receive it, which is just as important. During this time, the instructor will observe and offer guidance to students.
If you are worried about not being able to fall safely, don’t be. We often devote time at the beginning of class to practising break falls and if you’re new to Aikido we will take special care to make sure you can fall safely.
At the end of the class, everyone lines up as they did at the start and bows to the shomen again and then to each other to thank one another for the practice.
Why do you bow in Aikido?
The Japanese bow is a traditional greeting and way of showing respect (rei) similar to shaking hands with someone. It doesn't have any religious meaning. We generally bow when stepping onto the mat, at the beginning and end of class and towards our partners when we start and finish a technique.