This page aims to help you prepare for your first session.
There is no need to prepare for our introductory class. However, you may feel more comfortable knowing about some basic concepts and practices. This page contains resources to help you get familiar with some of the things you are likely to encounter in your first session.
You can also watch some public videos of Taigis (sets of related aikido techniques performed with an emphasis on harmony and flow, rather than competition between two opponents). Taigis are considered to be the pinnacle of our art form. These videos are intended to illustrate where the way of mind and body unification can lead.
The training resources area contains information to help you continue your practice. This area is password protected because the resources here are intended as a reminder of what you learn during class. To access these resources just ask for the password during class, or contact us.
Please note the following etiquette when visiting the dojo for practice:
- ✅ Arrive at least 15 minutes before the beginning of the class
- ✅ Bow lightly on entering the dojo
- ✅ Remove shoes before stepping on the mat
- ✅ Remove any jewellery
- ✅ Ensure you keep fingernails short and tidy
Sitting in seiza
Seiza literally means "proper sitting" – this position is one of the traditional, formal ways of sitting in Japan. The seiza position offers a stable base for meditation and breathing practice. Getting into and out of seiza is an action that should be performed mindfully.
1. Rise on your knees.
2. Move your shoulders up and down to release tension.
3. Sit down calmly by folding from the hips, while keeping a light, floating feeling.
4. Allow your hands to sit naturally on your lap.
Ai – harmony, coming together, unification.
Aikido – the way of harmonising with ki.
Bokken – wooden training sword.
Choyaku – the exercise where one hops or steps as one executes a movement.
Do – in Japan, any art that is practiced to develop both technical and spiritual maturity is considered a dō – a way or path of development.
Dogi – training uniform, usually made of white canvas or muslin material.
Dojo – training hall.
Fudoshin – immovable mind.
Fudotai – immovable body.
Gyosho – aikido arts done with a full blend at the instant of contact, but not necessarily at full speed (i.e. cursive/joined up writing).
Hakama – black (or indigo) split, pleated trousers worn over the dogi by people who have earned the privilege.
Hanmi – The triangular stance. This position is meant to be relaxed, comfortable, and natural, and should in no way look or feel artificial or stiff. From the correct hanmi position, one can move readily in any direction.
Happo – eight directions.
Ikkyo – first technique.
Irimi – moving to the inside, or moving into (compare with tenkan).
Itten – the central balance point in the human body, located below the navel. All coordinated movement originates from this one point in the lower abdomen.
Jo – wooden training staff. The correct length is indicated by the distance between the palms of one's outstretched hands or from the armpit to the floor.
Kaisho – aikido arts done from a stationary position (i.e. block/printed writing).
Kaiten – wheeling, turning.
Kaiten-nage – the spin throw which makes your partner's body revolve once before they are led down.
Kata-tori – shoulder grab.
Katate-tori – single-hand grab.
Ki – the life-force of the universe itself, which has no English equivalent. An essential element of all aspects of eastern culture – philosophy, medicine, art, physical training – the full significance of ki only becomes clear through firsthand experience.
Kokyu-nage – breath or rhythm throw.
Kote-oroshi – formerly kote-gaeshi, the name has been changed to reinforce the idea that this technique is a downward motion, not a twisting motion.
Koshinage – hip throw.
Kyu – ranks prior to dan rank (6th – 1st kyu).
Munetsuki – strike to the chest/front.
Nikyo – second technique.
Onegai shimasu – please practice with me.
Randori – free-style nage against multiple attackers, usually improvisational.
Sankyo – third technique.
Sayu – a term indicating left and right direction.
Seiza – correct sitting.
Sensei – teacher, one who comes before, one who leads the way.
Shiho-nage – four-directions throw.
Shikko – moving from a kneeling position, also known as "knee walking".
Shin – mind, intentionality.
Shomen – front, face.
Shomen-uchi – strike to the front centre of the head.
Sosho – aikido arts done at full speed with a strong leading of ki (i.e. shorthand writing or a signature).
Taigi – a grouping of aikido arts performed to a specific rhythm and time.
Tanto – wooden training knife.
Tenkan – turning outside or away.
Ude-furi – arm swinging.
Uke – one who is thrown, one who follows.
Ukemi – the art of falling without injury. It is said that one's ability to throw is only as good as one's ability to fall.
Undo – exercise.
Ushiro – back or behind.
Waza – technique or system of techniques.
Yokomen-uchi – strike to the side of the head.
Yonkyo – fourth technique.
Zenpou-kaiten – foward roll.
Zengo – term indicating forward and backward direction.
Zanshin – remaining/continuing mind, a state of relaxed alertness that stops at/on nothing and is maintained before, during, and after any action.