So what is Aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art and a form of self defense that uses locks, holds, throws and the opponent ‘s own movements and momentum. It is a Martial Art that suits people of all size, shape and gender and does not require significant physical strength.
It is not a fighting art and does not focused on punching and kicking but has a great emphasis on balance, momentum and the dynamics of movements.
What should I expect if I come to the dojo?
Well first we are at a great location in Erina, there’s great facilities with spacious women and men change rooms and showers. The dojo itself has great judo mats and a sprung floor.
Being in a dojo we always emphasize on respect for the place we train the people we are training with and we definitely leave all our egos and preconceived ideas at the door and always try to come with an open mind .
It is a physical training so it will be a more or less intense fitness training depending on the session, you will sweat and work on your flexibility and your body movement, and on the understanding of your opponent body movements.
What is a typical class like?
We always start with some warm ups and stretching. Stretching our back, warming our joints, shoulders, wrist…It is important to warm up in preparation for the session but also to get rid of all of the stiffness accumulated throughout the day at work,
Then we do some breakfalls, forward breakfall, backward breakfall. It is important for our training so that we don’t hurt ourselves when we are being thrown when practicing and repeating technique after technique. We are lucky here as we have really good mats and a sprung floor so it is not too hard on our body when we fall. Knowing how to fall safely is a key part of aikido but also good for your daily life.
Then the instructor will demonstrate a technique against a grab or an attack to the head or to the body, we then practice the technique with a partner or in a small group. The techniques may be a throw, a lock of the arm, or simply working on unbalancing your opponent.
We sometime also use wooden weapons , wooden knife, stick or sword and we sometime work on multiples opponents.
If it has been an intense session we may finish with some stretching and breathing exercises.
Is there a Spiritual side to Aikido?
Yes definitely and the founder of Aikido Morihei Usheiba had created a strong emphasis on the concept of the connection of mind and body for the practice of Aikido.
Although it is a physical training session , through the technical practice we learn to be more positive, receptive, focused, calm, self centered….
The ‘aikido mind’ is something that each individual will then develop as we practice
Who should consider trying Aikido?
Anyone and everyone, all ages, genders, background.
You do need some minimum level of fitness but we don’t focus on physical strength as such so all levels can practice together , a beginner with an advanced student, someone tall against someone small etc.
It is a martial art that you can continue all your life!
We often see people that have done some other martial art previously and want to find something different, or something that they can continue as they get older.
But we also see beginners interested in a range of aspects: fitness, balance and body movement, self-defense, a martial art with less emphasis on physical strength or less close contact than other arts. We don’t really do any ground wrestling, but the great advantage of our dojo is that if people are also interested in ground wrestling they can do Judo here too.
Is this Dojo part of a greater organisation?
Yes, our aikido dojo here is part of the Australasian Aikikai association which has dojos around Australia including Newcastle, Sydney and Adelaide.
The Australasian Aikikai is an Aikido organization recognized by Hombu Aikido World Headquarter in Japan.
Sounds great how do I start?
That’s easy, we are currently training on Mondays and Thursdays 6.00-7.30pm, Wednesdays 6.30am, and kids class on Fridays 5.00-6.00pm. Come by at any of these times to have a look or join on the mat for a free first session.