Information for Beginners - How to Get Started
The best way to find out which martial arts style is suitable for you is to jump right in and participate in a typical class.
All schools generally offer at least one free class for beginners, we offer 2 FREE classes so there’s no reason not to give it a go.
All our regular classes are suitable for beginners so you can come along any time, unless specifically stated otherwise on our Timetable. Our instructors take into consideration who is attending and make sure that all levels and abilities are catered for.
It’s generally a good idea to contact the school in advance of your first class to confirm the class time and let them know you’re coming. If you’re unsure which age group is right for you, or have any other queries at all, don’t hesitate to phone the listed contact person for advice.
As a guide there are Children’s, Colts and Adult classes - Juniors and Seniors are often referred to by their belt rank and should not be confused with age.
Our boys and girls children's class is for 5 to 10 year olds.
Our colts class is for 11 to 14 year olds who currently train in the adults class but may train separately.
Our men's and women's adult class is for 15 to 65 year olds.
At your first class you can just watch - or join in - bring mum or dad into the dojo (without shoes), come 15 minutes early and get some printed info or Registration Forms and have a chat to Sensei (teacher) and see how things work.
What to Wear
Wear something loose fitting and comfortable, e.g. track pants and a t-shirt or rugby jersey. Don’t wear anything precious, as it’s (remotely) possible it may get torn or damaged. Should you wish to purchase a uniform you can purchase these through the club and you can view the apparel Here.
Because we wear bare feet on the training mat, and we sometimes end up face down on the mats, please come with clean feet and wear footwear right up to the door. Keep your toenails trimmed as the mats are very soft and will tear easily.
Remove any necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings or other jewelery, as these can potentially cause injury to you or your training partners.
What to Expect
Classes typically begin with a period of light warm-up exercises, sometimes followed by exercises in the basic stances and footwork (Taisabaki) central to most Aikido techniques, and/or practice in falls and rolls (Ukemi). As a beginner just do your best to follow along with the exercises, you will be given individual tuition on ukemi if required.
Once the preliminaries are over, the class typically alternates between demonstrations by the instructor and periods of partner practice. As a beginner it can be intimidating to approach the senior grades, but these are the best people for you to train with as they have the knowledge and control to perform the techniques at a level you can safely receive and learn from. Seek them out.
How to Behave
To ensure the dojo is an enjoyable, safe and effective place to learn and explore the Martial Arts, we observe a few basic rules of Etiquette. For the most part these are designed to encourage us to respect our instructors and training partners, to ensure that everyone knows what they should be doing, and to ensure the instructor can safely orchestrate the activity in the dojo.
Unlike some dojo’s we have a more relaxed attitude at times - but keep in mind that playful challenges or comments between certain students may be acceptable only because they have trained together for many years. Verbal disrespect will not be tolerated.
At the start and end of class we line up in seiza (kneeling/sitting) in order of seniority from right to left and bow once to the front of the dojo (in the Japanese tradition), then once to our instructor. This signifies respect and gratitude to the Masters of the various arts, the many teachers who have carried on the art, and to our instructor. It is the only time you need to line up according to grade.
We bow to each training partner before commencing training. This reminds us we are offering each other a chance to train and that we should value the opportunity by training with respect and care for each other’s safety.
When receiving techniques that involve joint locks or holds, we slap the floor, or our thigh if standing, to signal to our training partner that the technique is effective (yelling is just as effective if you forget). Always respect this signal and release a lock or pin when your training partner ‘taps-out’.
When the instructor is demonstrating everyone else should sit silently in seiza and pay close attention. This helps maximise our learning and ensures everyone is clear what they should be doing when they get up to practice.
When practising it is OK to discuss the technique with your partner where necessary, e.g. if you are unsure how to proceed with the technique, but generally practice should take precedence over conversation. When the instructor claps or shouts Yame! (pronounced yah-may) stop training and return to seiza.
Training safely is our number one priority. If you have any injury or health condition that you think may affect your training let your instructor know.
You are the best judge of what’s right for you. If you are uncomfortable with an exercise or technique, discuss it with your training partner or instructor. It’s always your right to sit it out if you’re not comfortable.
Our 10 colour belt rank system can be split into 1/3:
Beginners: white, yellow, orange, green, gradings 30-40 hours apart
Intermediate: Blue, purple, red, gradings 60 hours apart
Seniors: brown, black stripe, provisional black to black belt, grading every 6 months
Go here for Frequently Asked Question.
Please take time to view our Terms & Conditions.
Click here for a full list of Etiquette & Rules.