Information for beginners

Considering taking up aikido? Here are a few pointers that you will hopefully find useful.

Your first class

  1. Please arrive about 10 mins early
    • Please wear lose fitting clothing such as joggers, T-shirts, or sweat shirts and bring flip-flops were possible.
  2. Class cost
    • Adult waged is £6
    • Adult unwaged or student is £5
    • Junior (16 or under) is £4
  3. Membership (is in addition to class cost but covers your insurance)
    • Temporary (valid for 8 weeks)
      • Adult waged is £11
      • Adult unwaged or junior is £6
      • After 8 weeks this will be deducted from your annual membership
    • Annual membership
      • Adult waged is £35
      • Adult unwaged or student is £20
      • Junior is £15
  4. Forms to be completed
    1. Health Form
    2. Membership form
    3. Student Indemnity form

Please bring cash or cheque as unfortunately we cannot handle card payments

We hope you really enjoy your first class


Proper observance of etiquette is as much a part of your training as is learning techniques. In many cases observing proper etiquette requires one to set aside one’s pride or comfort. Nor should matters of etiquette be considered of importance only in the dojo. Standards of etiquette may vary somewhat from one dojo or organization to another, but the following guidelines are nearly universal. Please take matters of etiquette seriously.

  • If you wear rings, other jewellery, or watches please remove them before practice begins.
  • Finger and toe nails should be short to avoid accidental injury.
  • Expect to practice in bare feet so make sure that they are clean.
  • No shoes are allowed on the mat.
  • Keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of offensive odours.
  • Change your clothes only in designated areas (not on the mat!)
  • Be on time for class
  • Students should be lined up and seated in seiza approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class.
  • Please keep talking during class to a minimum. It is particularly impolite to talk while the instructor is addressing the class
  • Do not bring food, gum, or beverages onto the mat.
  • If you do happen to arrive late, please stand at the edge of the mat with your hand up until sensei invites you to join the class
  • Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of O’Sensei.
  • If you need to leave the mat or dojo during class, approach the instructor and ask permission
  • Do not lean against the walls or sit with your legs stretched out
  • Sit in “seiza” (kneeing) or cross-legged
  • Carry out the directives of the instructor promptly. Do not keep the rest of the class waiting for you!
  • Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during class.
  • Please pay your membership dues promptly. (problems paying please speak to the instructor)
  • An attitude of receptivity and humility (though not obsequiousness) is expected


It is common for people to ask about the practice of bowing in aikido. In particular, many people are concerned that bowing may have some religious significance. It does not. It inculcates a familiarity with an important aspect of Japanese culture in aikido practitioners. This is especially important for anyone who may wish, at some time, to travel to Japan to practice aikido. There is also a case to be made for simply broadening one’s cultural horizons. Bowing may be an expression of respect. As such, it indicates an open-minded attitude and a willingness to learn from one’s teachers and fellow students. Traditionally bowing occurs in the dojo at the following points:

  • When entering or leaving the dojo bow in the direction of O’Sensei’s picture (“kamiza“)
  • When the class starts and finishes bow in the direction of O’Sensei’s picture and then the instructor.
  • At the start of a class or just before you begin training with a practice partner you should say “Onegaeshimas” (pronounced Onny Gaishi Mass)
  • At the end of the class you will say “Thank you” formally in Japanese to your instructor (Domo Arigato Gozai Mashita)
  • A kneeling bow whenever you go on or off the mat.
  • When you train with partners before and after practising with them.
  • Upon receiving assistance or correction from the instructor
  • If an instructor is teaching in you vicinity, or your group or your partner then sit in seiza so that the instructor has adequate room to demonstrate and bow on completion.

If in doubt – bow