Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make contact with the club or an instructor?
You can use the form provided on this website. We also have a Facebook page, later we shall add you to our emailing list and you can make direct contact with individuals. If you decide to go directly to a class, please arrive well before the class starts, so that the teacher has a chance to talk to you.
I am not very fit - can I still practise Aikido.
Please talk to your teacher and work within your limits. It is your responsibility to make the teacher aware of any health conditions, injuries or illness that you may have (Especially High Blood Pressure or Heart Problems), please contact your local GP should you have any concerns before hand. As a general rule Aikido is an art that can be practiced by ANY age or capability. Aikido emphasises correct technique over muscular force.
I have a disability – can I still practise?
As above please consult your doctor first to make sure, the art can be practiced by almost anyone, but a Doctors letter stating that you are fit to practice will be required.
I’d like to go and watch a session – is this possible?
You are welcome to watch a class without having any obligation to join. You can always talk to the Teacher first. Most people watch one or more classes before deciding to start practicing.
I want to start Aikido - when should I arrive for my first class?
You will need to complete membership registration and go through a few formalities.
You should arrive well before the class starts to ensure that your ready.
Now that I am a member, when should I arrive for the class?
The majority of clubs require the students to arrive early to lay out the mats. (Ren Sei Kan Dojo has a permanent matted area).
Arrive in plenty of time to get changed so that you can step onto the mat feeling calm and not rushed.
It is also wise to warm up and practise basic principles.
What if I arrive late?
If it is your first class please wait and watch until you have spoken to the teacher.
If you have already joined the Club, and arrived late, just get changed quietly and wait by the side of the mat until the teacher calls you on.
The club has lots of black belts and I am a beginner - should I worry?
No don’t worry. The nature of aikido is to work in harmony with your partners.
Higher grades are expected to treat lower grades with respect (and vice versa).
You will be made to feel welcome and will benefit from practice with the higher grades.
It is best to train with a higher grade so that mistakes are avoided.
I need to leave the mat (go to the toilet, turn my mobile off etc) - what should I do?
First ask the teacher in charge for permission to leave the mat.
When you return, wait by the mat until you are asked to come on.
What should I do when the class finishes?
It is helpful and shows respect when students help to tidy the dojo by putting mats away or generally tiding up etc.
Get changed promptly and keep your belongings arranged neatly.
Bow and show respect when you leave the mat or the Dojo.
I want to start Aikido - What is the minimum age?
8 to 10 years of age depending on the individual
must be accompanied by an adult.
How much does it cost?
Please see our classes page for membership and class prices
What kinds of people do aikido?
We have members from all walks of life - aikido is not limited to any one sex, sexuality or ethnic group.
Do you have any female teachers?
Yes. Please look at the teachers link and gallery above.
Can i come along and watch?
Of course! Please feel free to come along on any class and watch, ask questions, or better still, have a go.
What do i wear?
If you've done a martial art before then feel free to wear your existing suit, we only ask that you use a white belt if possible, if you've never done a martial art then wear something loose fitting such as gym wear.
How much does an aikido suit (dogi or keikogi) cost?
Generally most people wear karate or judo type suits in order to practice aikido, they cost from around £15 upwards. There are a few companies who produce aikido specific dogi's and they are available from around £30 or so. please see our web shop where we receive a discount off our local retailer.
Can I have a checklist of clothing to bring for my first session?
Soft comfortable clothing. Whether you wear a kidogi or soft clothing make sure it is clean.
Flip flops or slippers to wear to the matt.
You may bring a towel, or handkerchief in case you get hot and sweaty.
A bag to keep your belongings neat while you are on the mat practicing.
Warm clothes to wear home after practicing.
Can I have a checklist of things to do for my first session?
Don’t forget some money or a cheque book to join or pay for lessons.
Cut your toe and fingers nail so that they are short and clean.
Ensure that you are clean and hygienic, poor personal hygiene will not be tolerated.
Arrive early so that you can complete your membership registration and get changed.
Turn your mobile phone off.
Relax and enjoy the class.
Etiquette, if you're unsure of something then please ask or follow the other students.
· When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper etiquette to bow in the direction of O Sensei's picture.
· You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat.
· If you arrive late for a class then simply sit on the edge of the mat until the teacher is aware you're there.
· If you need to leave the lesson for any reason then please let the teacher know.
· Remove watches, rings and other jewellery before practice as they may catch your hair, skin, or clothing and cause injury to yourself or your partner.
· Please keep your fingernails (and especially your toenails) clean and cut short.
· Keep your training uniform clean, pressed, in good condition and free from offensive odours.
· Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to Aikido. It is impolite to talk whilst the instructor is addressing the class.
· It is usually considered polite to sit in seiza (knelt down) and to bow upon receiving assistance or correction from the teacher.
· Whoever is teaching is referred to as sensei only whilst they're teaching, if you are speaking to a Japanese teacher on or off the mat that you should always use the term sensei when addressing them.