1. Do I need to wear special clothing?
When you first start, you should wear comfortable exercise clothing such as a T-shirt and tracksuit trousers. Bring a pair of slip-on sandals to walk from the changing room to the mat. Eventually you will want to purchase a practice suit, called a keiko-gi, which consists of white cotton trousers, strong white cotton jacket and white belt. Women wear a white cotton t-shirt under the jacket. You can purchase a gi from Shinmei-kan.
2. Do I need to be very fit to begin?
If you have any medical problems it is wise to seek the advice of your Doctor before starting any exercise regime. You do not need to be especially fit to begin. Everyone practises at their own pace, and this will improve as your overall fitness increases.
3. How long does it take to get to black belt standard?
Our most frequently asked question! Everyone differs in their personal abilities, the amount of time they can commit to practice and the intensity with which they practice. The hours given in the grading guidelines below are the minimum, and most students will require far more. The nature of aikido, with its emphasis on correctness of technique means that it can take years of devoted study to achieve a high standard.
4. What is the likelihood of injury?
Injury occurs in any form of hard physical exercise. Most aikido injuries are minor bruises and strains. We try to reduce this to a minimum by showing students how to practice safely, and emphasising the importance of receiving the technique correctly. Several members of our dojo are qualified in First Aid.
5. How useful is aikido as a practical means of self defence?
Most techniques practised in a typical class are designed to condition the mind and the body, although they do have a martial aspect. Aikido as a means of self-defence is most effective at higher levels of training.