Frequently Asked Questions
When? Where? How much?
We offer a broad range of classes 5 days per week, morning and evening, to suit all levels. We are conveniently located in Chippendale in the inner-city of Sydney, close to trains and buses. We offer subsidised starter parks for new students (uniforms, books and classes) beginning at $99, and we provide a range of flexible fee options for subsequent tuition to suit your needs.
Can anyone practise Aikido?
Yes, Aikido is practised by men, women and children of all ages, all over the world! Our youngest students are 3 years old and people beginning in their 50s and 60s have gone on to become black belts. Aikido’s gentle, flowing movements rely on timing and positioning rather than strength or size, and the techniques can be adapted to suit any ability and energy level. In fact, individual expression is a signature theme of our classes!
Do I need to be in good physical shape to start?
No. Physical fitness is an advantage, however many of our students actually start Aikido as a fun and exciting way to get in better shape. Regular Aikido will improve your fitness, concentration, co-ordination, balance, vitality and energy flow. If you have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions, however, it’s necessary to obtain a doctor’s certificate in order to train.
I’m not very good at sports and I’ve never done martial arts – will that be a problem?
No, not at all. In fact no previous experience is often an advantage! Our dedicated beginners classes will give you a fun and gentle introduction to basic Aikido techniques from the ground up so there’s no need to worry! Our classes are non-competitive which means each of your training partners will be working with you at your level. We all remember what it’s like to be a beginner and there’s absolutely no judgement so come along, give it a try and you might surprise yourself.
I’ve seen some Aikido videos on Youtube and I don’t think I could do the things they do…
Nobody else could when they first started either! Remember that even the greatest Aikido masters were once beginners just like you. We all start by coming to watch a class, asking questions, and feeling a little awkward. With time, lots of practice and the support of our friends and teachers, we gain confidence and develop skills we never thought we could. So just be patient in the beginning, relax, have fun and do your best.
Can I be injured?
Aikido places great emphasis on safety and care for our partners. In 13 years of practice at Aikido Sydney City, we have never had a serious injury. Each of our instructors is fully insured and accredited by the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA), the peak industry body for martial arts in Australia, and we’ve all undergone training in martial arts coaching and risk management. As with any physical activity, however, the risk of injury can never be totally eliminated. If in doubt, please speak to the instructors.
How do I join?
Getting started is really easy! Please refer to our How to get started page for full details.
How often should I attend class?
In the beginning, we recommend you aim for at least 2 classes per week. This will enable you to get the maximum benefits from your training and progress through the AKI grading syllabus at the recommended rate. Having said that, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing, and even if you’re only able to make it once a week, you’ll still make progress. You’ll just need to be patient and realistic about your expectations. Plus, with our flexible class schedule, you can always train more often if and when your situation allows.
What can I expect at my first class?
Your first class is actually a private lesson, making it even easier to get started! You’ll arrive at the dojo 30 mins before class with your completed membership agreement ready for signing and witnessing. After receiving your starter pack and trying on your new uniform, you’ll be shown around the dojo before bowing in and taking part in a group warmup with the rest of the students. After the warmup, you and your instructor will pair off and work one-on-one while the other beginners practise together. During your first lesson, you’ll learn how to yield to the flow of energy and protect your body through various falling and rolling techniques; you’ll be introduced to some basic sword movements and see how these relate to empty-handed Aikido techniques; and you’ll take turns performing and receiving some basic Aikido locks, pins and throws. Once you feel completely safe and comfortable with these movements, you’ll be ready to start working with the other beginners. At the end of the class, everyone will stretch and warm down together, bow out and thank each other, and help clean the dojo before getting changed. On most days, some of us will head out after class together for dinner or breakfast and you’re always welcome to join us!
Can Aikido be used for self-defence?
Aikido is a very effective martial art but it takes a long time to become competent, and the Art has a lot more to offer than just martial skills. If your primary interest is in fighting or you are looking for a quick self-defence solution, we recommend you try another dojo or martial art more compatible with your goals. At Aikido Sydney City, we’re most interested in the exploration of movement and we place more emphasis on softness, sensitivity, and connection with our partners than on self-defence. Effective application in self-defence situations comes much later, and after many years of training.
Are there competitions in Aikido?
No, there are no competitions or contests in Aikido. The practice is about reducing our egos rather than boosting them, and learning to work with, rather than against, each other.
Does Aikido have belts and gradings?
Yes. Please refer to our Gradings page for full details.
Why is everyone bowing all the time?
Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art which begins and ends with respect. Bowing upon entering or leaving the dojo, and bowing to our teachers and partners, is how we acknowledge and thank one another for the opportunity to train. It is not a religious gesture. The calligraphy on the scroll at the front of the dojo reads ‘Aiki’, meaning ‘Harmony’. It’s tradition to pay respect to this concept at the beginning and end of every class, and to be mindful of those teachers who’ve passed down the Art to us over generations. If you’re uncomfortable with this practice for any reason, please consult the instructors and we’ll accommodate you.
There are many different styles of Aikido – how should I choose the right one?
Trust your heart. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to Aikido – only ‘right for you’. Before making a commitment, do your homework and try to check out as many different dojos as you can. Don’t pay too much attention to styles or names as even within a single style, the approach and practice varies markedly from dojo to dojo. Instead, look for a group you get a good feeling from and for people moving in ways that inspire you. You’ll know it when you see it. Also, consider choosing a dojo close to your work, school or home as that’ll make it easier for you to train more often and you’ll get better and get more enjoyment out of your practice sooner. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the ideal dojo right away. It’s definitely worth persisting. Aikido is a rich and diverse Art with much to offer, and someone, somewhere out there, is bound to be offering what you’re looking for!