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Information for Newcomers to Aikido

Visitors are always welcome to come and ask questions, observe or try out a class during scheduled training sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )


What is Aikido?
Aikido, a Japanese martial art, controls a physical encounter from the beginning through timing and motion, rather than by subduing an opponent by sheer force or speed. Unlike most other martial arts, training is always cooperative. Instead of sparring, partners take turns throwing and falling, developing their own skills and helping the partner learn to do his/her best throw or fall.

Who can study Aikido?
Aikido is for everyone. All over the world ordinary people, ages 7 to 70+, regardless of physical ability, enjoy Aikido training. The art is especially appealing to people who do not like participating in competitive team sports, although athletes enjoy Aikido as well. Aikido is particularly well suited to women since it does not depend on size or upperbody strength.

Classes are open to people with or without previous physical training. There's no need to get in shape before joining. Students work at their own level of physical ability and stamina, resting when necessary and challenging themselves when appropriate. Training can also be modified to work around existing injuries or disabilities.

Why do people study Aikido?
Aikido is an enjoyable, weight bearing, aerobic activity which gradually improves strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Regular training reduces stress and fits very well into a work/life balance program. Never boring or repetitive, Aikido is a form of exercise that is easy to sustain over time through enjoyment of the art and camaraderie with others. Because Aikido is never competitive, the training is purely for personal development. The physical training develops the physical, social and intellectual aspects of one's self and integrates mind and body. However, the most important reason to do Aikido is to enjoy it!

Do people get injured doing Aikido?
There is always some risk with any physical activity. However, we focus on smooth, low-impact movements that keeps the risk of injury far lower than with other martial arts, sports or gym workouts. Since all learning is self-paced, nobody trains beyond his or her skill level. There's no sparring, and the emphasis is on blending with your partner's movement, not opposing it. Beginners learn the Aikido falls gradually and safely, starting in a low position on a very soft surface. We are very safety conscious, and instructors guide students so that each always works at his or her own skill level, not beyond it.

Is there a class for newcomers or beginners?
Newcomers can join either the Aikido for Beginners course or start a full membership at any time. You may start our one-month beginners course at any time, and continue for a minimum of 10 sessions. Beginners receive both small group and individual instruction, and are gradually integrated into the regular class as they continue Aikido training. Regular membership is continuous training with no set beginning or end. In fact, Aikido can be lifelong practice.

Everyone's training is self-paced, with each developing at his or her own rate. We introduce the fundamentals in the first few sessions, while the more experienced students learn additional techniques and concepts as they progress. All ranks and abilities train together, with the instructors and more experienced students helping the newer members learn the basics. Training with different partners at various skills levels, including beginners, actually is enjoyable and beneficial for all.

Can I just observe a class?
Visitors are welcome to observe any scheduled class, and talk with instructors or other students before deciding to join. You may also try out a class without charge before committing to membership. To sign up, just arrive at the training center about 10 minutes early to introduce yourself and sign an insurance waiver.

What if I'm not in shape?
No need to get in shape first. Any adult can join, regardless of age or physical ability. Training is self-paced, with students working at their own level of physical ability and stamina. Aikido is great exercise that will help you get in shape gradually in an fun, healthful way. Training is easy to sustain because of the enjoyment of the art and camaraderie with others.

What if I'm not athletic?
Again, Aikido is for everyone! In fact, the art is especially appealing to people who are not motivated by competitive sports or gym workouts. With consistent support anyone can do Aikido well. Typically practitioners improve their balance, strength and coordination well beyond their initial expectations. Each person gets much personal attention to develop their physical skills from instructors and more experienced students, according to individual training objectives.

How often should I train?
Your Sierra Aikido membership entitles you to train up to five days a week in any scheduled class at Sierra Aikido

Most people train one or two days per week. Depending on your schedule, you can train up to 5 days per week by coming to either one or both of our training locations. Since Aikido is a self-directed, lifetime study, missing classes from time to time is not a problem. The instructors take a long view of everyone's training and tailor learning objectives to each member's interest and level.

What should I wear?
Wear comfortable, loose clothing, such as sweats or loose pants and a T-shirt, or a gi if you have one. Or, when you decide to continue training, the instructors can tell you how to purchase a training gi.

How do I sign up?
You can sign up for Aikido lessons at either dojo location:
  • Come to the dojo of your choice about 10 minutes before the start of any class; and,

  • Sign a waiver of liability form and pay the dues, preferably by online check payment or personal check ( We can't handle credit cards and don't carry change for cash payments! )

Still have questions?

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