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To begin the study of Aikido is to begin a long and exciting journey with yourself and the art. As you progress, the journey may take a different path, which will reflect the changing of your goals over time.
Long term practice
Like any art, it requires dedication and persistence in order for you to gain maximum benefit from it. There will be times when it feels like you are not progressing or indeed, that it feels like you are going backwards, but to push through these periods and continue training will go towards your personal development. It is a journey that can last a lifetime, as you can constantly hone your skills and learn about yourself whilst in an environment which encourages and allows this to occur.
Aikido Shudokan emphasises the basics in order to develop a strong foundation, which takes
Stages of Mastery
SHU – learning stage, Year 3-6 (
HA – breaking the form, learning how it works, beginning to apply it naturally, Year 6-10
RI – moving away from the form, approaching true mastery, Year 20 +
Shudokan Belt System:
Students of Aikido are ranked by experience and skill. A beginner starts at 8th kyu (8th rank) and gradually makes their way to 1st kyu. The next level up is ‘shodan’ or the first level when the student is no longer a beginner. At this time the student is awarded their black belt.
Attributes to Develop as a Student
Junanshin (flexibility of mind) which is composed of patience, trust, humility, a supple
Mushin (no mind) refers to an inner emptiness, which is what is left after eliminating the unnecessary as created by the ego.
Focus, to stay present in the moment and disregard any distractions.
Mixing & Matching
Most competent martial artists agree, it is best to become grounded in one art before adding more. There are strengths and weaknesses in all martial arts but it is best to learn one very well and understand it before supplementing it with other arts.
Some arts are incompatible, choose carefully.
Gradings At the Shudokan
For each grading at the Shudokan, students must learn and memorise a series of techniques, including basic movements (Kihon Dosa) basic techniques (Kihon Waza). As you progress through the levels the level to which you are expected to perform the techniques lifts, and there is the addition of self-defense (Goshin Jitsu)
The Syllabi change yearly, and are downloadable in pdf form from this page.sam.
Aikido Shudokan has world-class male and female senior instructors, each with a vast amount of experience behind them.
Dojo (training hall)
A training hall implies much more than simply a place to exercise. Literally meaning place to study the way’, upon entering the Dojo a higher standard of behaviour and awareness is required. When entering and leaving both the dojo or the mat area, one bow’s to show not just respect for the space, but signifying one’s transition between the outside world and the dojo.
Uniforms (Dogi & Hakama)
When training in Aikido, one wears a thick white uniform known as a Dogi (lit: uniform for studying the way). Additionally, teachers or senior students may also wear traditional pleated trousers known as Hakama . These two garments are training versions of traditional samurai wear, and are uniquely suited to training Aikido techniques.
Aikido training also incorporates the use of Tatami (safety mats), Bokken (wooden sword), Tanto (wooden knife), Jo (wooden staff) and Tanjo (short wooden staff). Instruction in weapons are only taught to students of appropriate level.
Regular Adults Class Structure
- Before each class, a basic warm up takes place readying students for practice.
- Students sit upright in a row, facing the front. A senior student calls out ‘Rei’ and everyone bows with respect for the art, for their teachers and fellow students.
- Practice begins with Kihon Dosa. These are the basic movements of Aikido and are considered the building blocks of techniques.
- From here practice includes Kihon Waza (basic techniques) from the Aikido syllabus. The Kihon Waza are set techniques that teach students the underlying principles of Aikido. It can be said that the effective use of Aikido in battle relies upon intuitively applying principles to create techniques to fit the circumstances, rather than trying to fit circumstances to techniques.
- In class, students take turns practising techniques on each other. In addition to learning how to apply wrist locks and throws, students learn how to receive techniques safely by learning how to fall in different ways.
Childrens Class Structure
- Students arrive 15 – 30 minutes before the class starts and participates in games and activities until the class is about to begin.
- Students sit on their knees in one line and when the instructor sits at the front, an assistant gives the command ‘Shomen ni Rei’ and all students bow. This shows respect to the place of training and also the founders of the Art. The teacher faces the students and the command ‘Sensei ni Re’ is given and all students bow again. This shows respect to the teacher and to fellow students.
- Coordination and fitness activities will then take place. This often includes Ukemi (falling) practice, where students learn to fall to the ground in a safe manner.
- Aikido techniques are taught in the class, where the students learn to cooperate with each other to develop the best Aikido they can.
- Students engage in games and exercises which improve on skills that develop their Aikido such as focus, discipline, agility and awareness.