Benefits of Practice
Why study Aikido? Aikido offers practical self-defense, but more as a by-product of general martial training. It also offers a flexibility training with a chance for aerobic interactions as a student's skill set improves. What makes Aikido unique from other martial arts systems or body movement systems is the partner effect. It not only emphasizes self-improvement, it also teaches an awareness extending beyond your own care to that of your partner as well, eventually extending out to the mat area with other sets of training partners, and so on.... Aikido is much more than the study of physical techniques (including a skill set of falling and getting back up from the ground and neutralizing an attacker), proper etiquette, attitude, and behavior are also emphasized.
Aikido classes help practitioners to improve the following developmental skills:
Flexibility: All Aikido movement is derived from natural range of motion of the body. From the warm up stretches and exercises that begin a class, to the techniques and the falling skills, the body’s major muscle groups and joints, are constantly developed. Included in our practice is the act of sitting in seiza (on our knees) and meditating, sometimes for extended periods of time. Adaptive measures can be implemented for those with knee challenges.
Posture: Good body posture is taught from the very beginning of practice and reiterated throughout training. Proper posture is essential to good agility. We train using wooden swords and staffs that require attention to posture and serve to translate much needed physical input relating to retaining healthy posture long into adulthood.
Mobility: Integral to our training regimen is a warm up routine that includes yoga like stretches and some unique to martial arts, including joint locks. While care is taken to keep injuries to a minimum, these are meant to render an attacker neutralized and can cause serious harm. Training the body to receive this information load is helpful to keep safe while practicing some of the more damaging and therefore dangerous techniques.
Ukemi (the art of falling): No other exercise in Aikido provides more useful training than the study of ukemi. When we study the loss of balance, we learn to generate conscious awareness within the fight or flight response. Progressive, methodical skills are practiced to create a thorough understanding of how to release the body to the ground without receiving injury. Adaptive measures can be implemented for those with an express inability to fall forward or backward to the ground, but these must be reviewed on a case by case basis and consented to by the training partner.
Etiquette: Aikido’s philosophy of nonviolence, compassion, and cooperation are expressed through the study of etiquette. Elements of traditional Japanese martial art culture are also introduced and explored. As we practice how to care for our fellow dojo members, we learn a way of conducting ourselves in the world in a responsible and considerate fashion. Since Aikido stresses etiquette during class, many state that their concern for others increases. Some claim that they become better listeners. As a result, Aikido can improve one's relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Aikido also has an ethic: to defend oneself without vengeance, to forgive enemies, and to harmonize with any attack of any description. Aikido technique is a metaphor for a way to lead your life, avoid confrontations, harmonize with unavoidable ones, and maintain grace under pressure through good times and bad.
Basic self-defense skills: The three basic principles of Aikido are to entering directly into an attack (irimi), turning to understand the attacker’s point of view (tenkan), and a tactical retreat to gain perspective and reassessment (tenshin). As we practice Aikido we increase our awareness, generate confident movement, and gain an understanding of conflict resolution. All of these skills provide a powerful alternative to direct aggression, whether physical or verbal. Since Aikido originated from battlefield tactics, it also teaches defense against multiple aggressors.
Technique: Aikido techniques are generated through the application of natural balanced movement. The practice of these techniques develops strong, agile, balanced bodies with emphasis on a sturdy upright posture and relaxed efficient use of the arms and legs.
All classes focus on personal development, as well as technical achievement in Aikido. We believe that it is very important for members, especially children, to enjoy themselves and succeed in integrating into the group and observing the rules and etiquette of the dojo. Of course, students all progress differently. Therefore, we allow each student to focus on his or her personal development rather than comparing him/herself to others. We believe that learning is easier in a non-competitive environment. Suggestions and corrections are individualized for each practitioner based on their unique characteristics and progression. We also believe that students can improve themselves by helping others. We work on this skill, with students taking responsibility to help in a patient, non-judgmental spirit of partnership.
Ages 6 through 12
Consistent Aikido practice helps kids improve:
physical coordination and balance
ability to resolve physical conflict effectively
ability to remain calm in a crisis
Children may enter the adult classes once they have reached the age of twelve.