MORE INFO / FAQ

    PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE

    Beginners: If you have never taken a martial art before, you are welcome to join either Rec or Club classes. The curriculum is set up so that beginners can join at any time. We emphasize safety and teach all beginners how to fall safely before asking them to take any falls.

    We do find that more beginners find their way into the Rec class, especially in the first three weeks of the semester. This means that the Rec class is often more oriented to beginning-level instruction, especially at the start. Some students feel comfortable in a class with many other beginners. However, since we usually practice with partners, many beginners find it beneficial to be able to work with a partner who has more experience. Each class has its advantages for a beginner. It's a personal choice, and ultimately the decision may have more to do with your class schedule! Be assured you will learn the same curriculum with the same quality instruction in both classes.

    Students with Previous Martial Arts Experience: We welcome students with previous experience in the martial arts, including other aikido styles. We respect all martial arts traditions. All we ask is that you enter with a "beginner's mind": prepared to learn, rather than to express what you already know. This is an important mental discipline when studying any martial art.

    HOW TO JOIN

    To join the Aikido Club, just come to class! You can join at any time during the semester. However, before practice you MUST fill out the Standard Safe Practice form online. We cannot allow anyone on the mat unless they have filled out this form.

    COSTS

    Club Dues: $35 per semester for students, $45 per semester for non-students.

    Costs are subject to change.

    WHO MAY PARTICIPATE

    You do not have to be a student to join us. Anyone may participate as long as he or she has access to the College Avenue Gym. Usually that means you must be a "Rutgers affiliate" (for example, student, alum, staff, teacher, or spouse of any of those). If you don't already have an ID that gives you access to the Gym, information about how to get a recreation membership is available here: http://www1.recreation.rutgers.edu/Content/Membership.asp

    WHAT TO WEAR

    Socks of some type are required in the Wrestling Room of the College Avenue Gym.

    We practice Aikido in judo gi, which are thicker than the uniforms used for karate and tae kwon do, because we do some grabs and holds. Although a gi (or uniform) is not required, you may find it the most comfortable way to practice. If you have a gi, please wear it. If not, wear loose, comfortable clothing (i.e. sweats and t-shirt) covering your knees, with no zippers, belts or anything that may get caught or stick out. Be prepared to remove jewelry and watches before getting on the mat. Also be aware that you will be rolling and falling down. For women, even long skirts are not appropriate, and please wear shirts that can be tucked in.

    You may order a gi for apx $35 through the club during the semester.

    PHYSICAL HEALTH

    People of all ages and levels of physical conditioning practice with us. If you have the aerobic capacity to sit down on the floor and stand up several times in a row, you should have no problem beginning Aikido. We teach all students how to roll and fall in ways that are safe and comfortable, and we make sure that everyone who throws does so in a safe manner. We place a great deal of emphasis on safety on the mat. We feel that it is extremely counterproductive to get hurt while learning to protect yourself!

    ETIQUETTE

    Proper observance of etiquette helps keep classes running smoothly and safely. Most of our rules of etiquette arise from common sense ideas, and others from common courtesy. Please take matters of etiquette seriously.

      Entering Dojo When entering or leaving the practice space (which we usually refer to as the "dojo"), it is proper to bow in the direction of the front of the room, where the four principles are hung. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat. When you enter the dojo, please have your gi on and your belt tied.

      Personal Effects and Hygiene Please keep your fingernails and toenails clean and short. Remove watches, rings and other jewelry before practice. If you don't have a gi yet, wear loose clothing with no zippers, buttons, belt buckles or other dangerous attachments. A gi from another martial arts practice is preferable to street clothes. Keep your gi clean, in good shape, and free of offensive odors.

      Mat Cleanliness No shoes on the mat. Put on your shoes as soon as you get off the mat: this will help keep the mat clean. If you step off the mat, even one step, put your shoes back on. Good rule of thumb: try to keep the mat as clean as you would keep your bedding. Note: socks or "tabi" (Japanese toed socks) are required in the Wrestling Room.

      Promptness Be on time for class. If you do arrive late, sit quietly in seiza on the edge of the mat until the instructor invites you to join practice.

      Proper Sitting We sit seiza (on our knees) when possible. If you can't sit seiza, or can only sit seiza for a limited time, please sit cross-legged, and try to keep your feet "tucked in." Please don't "lounge" or sit with your legs stretched out. Also, do not lean against the walls.

      Leaving the Mat If you should have to leave the mat for any reason during class, approach the instructor and ask permission.

      Quiet During class, please keep talking to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to the topic of Aikido. It is particularly impolite to talk while the instructor is addressing the class. Learn by doing. Show by example. If you are having trouble with a technique, first try to figure the technique out by watching others. (Effective observation is a very important skill to develop.) If you still have trouble, approach the instructor at a convenient moment and ask for help.

      Instructor Space During class, if the instructor is assisting a group in your vicinity, it is frequently considered appropriate to suspend your own training so that the instructor has adequate room to demonstrate.

      Addressing Instructor The instructors are referred to as "Colin sensei" or "Judy sensei" on the mat. It is usually considered polite to bow and say "Thank you, Sensei" upon receiving individual instruction. If you feel uncomfortable saying this, a simple "thank you" is quite sufficient.

      Dojo Duties There are several tasks inherent to the smooth running of a the practice space. Please be attentive to what needs to be done, (putting up signs, sweeping mats) both at the start and end of class. If you see something that needs doing, don't wait to be asked.

      A note on bowing Many people have asked why we bow. It is to show our respect for each other, our instructors, and for the principles of Aikido. Kokikai Aikido is not affiliated with religious practices of any sort.

    TESTING FOR RANK PROMOTION

    There are 6 "kyu" level ranks preceding black belt or "dan" level. (There are levels of black belt rank as well.) Testing is held periodically in the dojo for the lower ranks, usually at the end of each semester (higher ranks are tested at Kokikai Aikido intensive training camps). There are minimum requirements for time and hours of study before a student can be tested for each rank, but the decision of when to test is made by the senior instructor. There are moderate fees for testing.

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