Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Aikido?
- I trained a little bit at another dojo and then stopped. Should I take your beginners' class?
- I'm not very athletic. Can I still train in Aikido?
- I'm over 40. Can I do Aikido?
- What's the meaning of bowing in Aikido? Is it a religious thing?
- How long does it take to get your black belt in Aikido? Once I have my black belt, can I use Aikido as effective self-defense?
- Is Aikido effective for self defense situations?
Q. What is Aikido?
A. Aikido is an art of conflict resolution and fosters harmony with oneself, others and the world. Instead of meeting force with force, we use strategies to unite opposing forces. One way is to join them together into a spiral motion. Aikido is characterized by graceful spirals movement. The term Aikido is comprised of three Japanese words: ai (love, harmony), ki (energy, spirit) and do (path, way). It is translated in many ways, including "The Art of Peace" and "The Way of Harmony with Life-Energy." As an art of non-violent conflict resolution, Aikido helps develop discipline, awareness and personal growth. Aikido was created in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba, or O'Sensei, who lived from 1883 to 1969.
Q. I'm not very athletic. Can I still train in Aikido?
A. Yes, you can. No previous athletic experience is required. Our beginners' classes incorporate slow movements at first, and you will naturally gain strength and endurance through the practice itself. Everyone progresses at their own pace.
Q. I'm over 40. Can I do Aikido?
A. Of course you can. Our dojo includes members of all ages, from 4 to 70+. Again, everyone progresses at their own pace.
Q. What's the meaning of bowing in Aikido? Is it a religious thing?
A. We bow in Aikido as a way to focus our attention and show respect to our training partners and is part of the Japanese culture. Aikido is not religious, per se, but it is, at its core, a spiritual discipline.
Q. How long does it take to get your black belt in Aikido? Once I have my black belt, can I use Aikido as effective self-defense?
A. It's a bit subjective how long it takes to attain your black belt at any dojo. Different dojos have slightly different standards. This is equally true of two dojos in the same city, or in two different countries. Often, it takes between 4 and 7 years. But black belt is typically considered the *beginning* of your Aikido training, the point at which you've been given permission by your teacher to explore the depths of Aikido, because she or he feels that you've mastered the basic building blocks and are ready for the next level.
Q. Is Aikido effective for self defense situations?
A. Aikido techniques are very effective for self-defense. In addition, Part of the way Aikido works as a self-defense art is that you learn how to prevent conflicts from happening in the first place, or to dissolve them quickly in a non-harmful manner once they have started. Although an attacker could get hurt by being thrown or put into a wrist lock, you will not learn anything that anyone could go out and instigate with.