Things To Do
The instructor demonstrates the technique to be practiced first, participants will pair up or practice in groups. Nobody expects perfection. As you practice, the instructor will be giving advice or helping you learn the movements of the technique.
Instruction is carried out in Japanese, and since training is by mirroring and matching the movements of the instructors, lack of language ability in Japanese is no barrier to learning techniques.
Practically speaking, clothing should cover knees and elbows and be loose enough to allow complete freedom of movement.
Dynamic ... Peace & serenity… Energy… Companionship…
Aikido calls to mind these thoughts and feelings for aikidoka, those who practice it. Dynamic practice on the mat. Peace and serenity after practice. Energy through out the practice and lingering on through the pleasant release of endorphins. The easy banter of aikidoka after training when we direct our thoughts to how we might improve understanding and techniques.
Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art that has come to be known as Aikido. Ueshiba came from Tanabe, Wakayama, a small rural city on the Kii Peninsula in Japan. Ueshiba is honored with the term O-sensei, great teacher, as a term of respect by aikidoka.
It is not surprising that Ueshiba would come to develop a martial art dedicated to teaching the us how to peacefully resolve aggression and dissension.
The area around Tanabe is beautiful, the people are laid back and friendly - always willing to help out others. The area is crisscrossed by pilgrimage trails of the World Heritage Kumano Kodo leading to spiritual places deep in the mountains. According to mythology, the area south of Tanabe is the place where the gods came down from the heavens to form the Japanese islands. It is an area with a wealth of environments conducive to fermenting a melding of the old with the new.
Several forms of Aikido have developed over the years. The most widely practiced form in Tanabe is Takemusu Aikido, also known as the Iwama style. It is one of the oldest forms of the art.
Visitors to Tanabe can visit a dojo (practice hall) to see what Aikido is all about or even experience it on the mat. Some come to find a place to continue their practice in Japan. Most will want to pay their respects at the grave of Ueshiba at Kozanji Temple.
Styles of Aikido
There are several forms or styles of Aikido. Styles have developed through teachers who trained with the master O-sensei, each master focusing on a different aspect which has led to variations in style.
Tanabe dojo practice is based on Takemusu, also called Iwama style of Aikido. It is a traditional form.
The standard form of clothing for Aikido practice is the same as in judo. It is called gi or dogi.
Some aikidoka also wear the lighter weight gi that is commonly used in karate. Judo dogi consists of a heavy, thick weaved fabric which helps cushion the body in taking falls (ukemi) and training in techniques.
Aikidoka who have advanced through testing may wear hakama, which looks like a long skirt but is actually pants somewhat like long culottes. Typically in Aikikai federation governed styles, women may wear the hakama from 3-kyu level with permission from their teacher, and men begin to wear hakama after gaining first rank in black belt, 1st dan.
There are five types of practice carried out at the discretion of the instructor.
Techniques for practical skills of (kata), the one initiating a technique and (uke) the one receiving a technique.
Practice for testing for grade examination
Practice for demonstration events
The dojo opens at 7:30 pm
Practice starts at 8:00 pm
Practice ends at 9:00 pm
Lights out is at 9:30 pm
Bow as a sign of respect towards the picture of O-sensei at the far end of the practice hall before entering the room.
Before and after lessons, students show respect again by bowing twice, clapping four times, and bowing again from a kneeling “seiza” position. At the beginning of the practice, after showing respect, bow in the direction of the instructor and say, “Onegaishimasu.” (Please instruct us.) It is also polite after the practice to bow in the direction of the instructor and practice partners before standing up.
When the instructor is showing a technique, refrain from talking, adjusting clothing or adjusting hair.
When practicing, communication should be minimal and only about the technique at hand.
Feel free to help with sweeping the tatami mats after practice.
Feel free to join everyone with a cup of tea at the end of practice.
Code & Ethics
Code of Conduct
Life long effort to pursue the way of Aikido.
Practice the spirit of Aikido in society.
Obey the terms of the Aikikai Foundation following the Founder’s Aikido lineage.
Cherish the dignity of individuals.
Wish world peace and happiness of mankind.
Abide by law and order.
Eliminate discrimination and harassment, and act faithfully.
Eliminate antisocial forces.
Protect personal information.
Ethics Charter of Aikido
The aim of Aikido is to strengthen mind and body accumulating daily training and hard work together with our fellow practitioners.
In daily training it is important to cultivate a mental attitude of understanding and respect for our training partners. In this manner, one seeks that one becomes a well-balanced person of sincerity and devotion.
The Spirit of Aikido: Aiki means Love. To accomplish the mission and responsibility to cherish and protect all things is the true way of Budo. Aiki also means to overcome one’s ego and extinguish your opponent’s will to fight. Thus, Aikido becomes a way to enable an absolute self-improvement by erasing the existence of the opponent itself.
Ethics Charter of Aikikai: http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/pdf/rinri.pdf
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