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Notes for Beginners

How do I start?

  • If you have previous experience and are comfortable with rolling and falling, you can show up to any class.
  • If you do not have previous experience, or just want to start slow, show up to the Monday evening Skills class.  It is aimed at beginners who want to learn the basics (or experienced people who want to practice them).
  • You will need to sign a liability waiver before you train. Although rare in aikido, injuries do happen when practicing martial arts. While aikido does not have actual sparring, it is a physical activity.
  • Attend two classes for free.
  • Pay your first monthly dues. We will prorate the first month.

What are the club dues?

  • Baltimore Aikido does not have annual contracts. Dues are paid on a monthly basis. 
  • Membership is $95 per month.  The Zen Planner membership system will manage your monthly payment.  The Zen Planner system accepts Credit Card and ACH. 
  • We will prorate when joining mid-month
  • We have a reduced rate for couples who live together: $175 for the two of you.
  • The monthy dues cover the yearly dues to ASU.
  • Please give us 30 days notice to cancel your membership.
  • Single class can be paid for with a $15 dollar mat fee. Those paying mat fees are not eligible to test for rank. 
  • When you test for rank you will pay a fee to Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. It is $35 for kyu ranks, but dan ranks vary based on current exchange rates with Japan.

How often should I come to the dojo?

Most people start with two to three days a week. Especially as a beginner, do not over-practice and injure yourself.

It seem confusing - what should I concentrate on?

The most important thing for a beginner to do is to learn how to fall easily and confidently. Then you can enjoy flying around the mat with the rest of us.

What should I avoid?

Over-enthusiasm usually results in beginner burnout or injury. Aikido is a long-time study. Have patience and let your body adapt.

What can I study at home?

Senior students can show you different skill exercises such as tenkan, rowing exercise and suburi weapons practice. If you find a combination of core training (yoga, pilates, etc.), aerobics, and weights that suits you, it will increase your general health for the rest of your life.

What about the various weapons?

  • We use wooden practice swords called bokken. Tsuba, or sword guards, are helpful and come with some models.
  • Jo are slender wooden staffs that come up to your armpit or shoulder.
  • Shinai are split bamboo practice swords. We use ones covered with leather, based on a traditional Japanese design.
  • Do not use someone else's weapons unless the owner specifically lends them to you.
  • The dojo has a few communal weapons, so do not rush out and buy everything at once. Extremely cheap and thin weapons do not usually last long and can be dangerous. Extra heavy weapons get in the way of your practice unless you are very strong and adept. All weapons break eventually if you use them. Splintery weapons are a danger to both you and your partner. Treat your weapons respectfully and replace them as needed.

Where do I buy this stuff?

Kiyota Company, Inc. at 2326 North Charles Street in Baltimore has a very large selection of martial arts supplies, weapons and books. It is in a basement store front. The door is sometimes locked during open hours, but if you knock, Mr. Kiyota will let you in.