Frequently Asked Questions
What is aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed in the early 1900s by Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba was a master swordsman and expert at jujitsu and other martial arts. Ueshiba combined the body movements of the sword with the locks and throws of jujitsu to create aikido. Aikido was designed for defense only; there is no sparring or competition in aikido.
What does the word aikido mean?
The way to harmonize energy. Ai - harmonize, ki - energy, do - the way
What if I don't know how to fall?
New students will be taught the basics of forward and backward falling in a corner of the mat during regular class. Students get practice in taking falls during all classes.
How much are membership Fees?
Aikido Richmond has some of the best mebership rates in the Richmond Va area if not the best. Our monthlty membership fees are $60 per month that includes unlimited Aikido classes. Not only are you able to attend our classes but we have an arrangement with Aikido Ashland where you can join any of thier classes at no cost.
What is aikido like? Is it like Judo, Karate, etc.
Aikido involves controlling the attacker's motion and redirecting that motion either back into the attacker by means of joint locks or by projecting the motion outwards by means of a throw. Aikido draws its movements and techniques from Japanese sword fighting and jujitsu. Aikido is similar to Judo with respect to throwing, but unlike Judo, there is no competition in aikido. Punching and other forms of attacks in aikido are used as part of training; unlike karate, aikido does not use punching as a means of self defense.
Can aikido be used for self defense?
Yes, aikido is designed for self defense, although it takes longer to become proficient at it than other martial arts.
Is aikido good exercise?
Aikido is excellent exercise. Aikido movements go in the direction the joints naturally move, so it promotes flexibility. Depending on the level of intensity in practice, aikido can be an excellent aerobic, cardiovascular workout. Students can train at their own pace.
Are there "belts" in aikido?
Suenaka Aikido has white blue purple brown and black belts. There are 5 ranks, for which tests are given in aikido. Less emphasis is placed on testing in aikido and more is placed on practicing the techniques. Generally speaking, personal growth should be the focus of one's Aikido practice, and not the gaining of rank.
How long does it take to get a black belt in aikido?
Depending on the number of days a student practices, it can take between 5 to 8 years to be ready to test for black belt.
Am I too old to study aikido?
Theoretically, there is no age limit. You just need a body that can be trained in some way. You're training just means that you respect where your abilities are in the moment. Just because you can't do something now doesn't mean you won't be able to do it eventually. People of all ages train at Aikido of San Jose, some of them what people call "senior citizens." They do fine, as long as they take it easy when they start, and then build up to whatever level they build up to.
I have an unpredictable work schedual and I am not sure when I could make class. Can I still Join?
Absolutely. If you have a sincere heart for Aikido then we will work with you. We have 4 classes a week for you to choose from and classes in Ashland. We have several members that have either work or child care issues that prevent them from joining class at our regular times so when they are able to show up they quitley join class after class has begun when they are able to arrive.
Do I need to be in shape before I start Aikido?
The best way to get in shape for Aikido is by doing Aikido. In shape or out every day is a good day to start Aikido.
What can I expect during class?
A beginner can start classes at anytime. A typical class begins with a series of warm-ups and stretching exercises, followed by ukemi or falling practice. There may be some breathing exercises to help calm the mind. The instructor will give some verbal explanation, but for the most part progress is made through actual training. If you are a beginner you will receive extra help from the instructor or senior students.
During class students work out in cooperation with each other, learning when to lead and when to yield thereby increasing their sensitivity to varying attacks and attackers. The instructor will usually demonstrate a particular technique which the students then practice. Students switch roles between nage (person who executes the technique) and uke (person who receives the technique) after every forth execution of the technique. The students change partners throughout the course of the class with senior and junior students training together. The instructor will give specific and individual instruction as needed.
What type of weapons training is taught in the dojo?
Some classes are dedicated to weapons training. Instruction is given in the Jo (wooden staff), Boken (wooden practice sword) and tanto (wooden practice knife). This practice is not different from regular practice, however weapons’ training does intensify training in many ways. Proper distancing, lines of attack and defense, positioning and concentration are accentuated through this practice.
You are welcome to observe classes or better yet, join us on the mat to try several classes without obligation. Come meet some new people, get some exercise and experience Suenaka Style Aikido first-hand. Just “Show-Up” and bring a pair of loose fitting workout clothes. During your first workout with us, you will be introduced to body movement, mechanics and various principles of Aikido. You will work at an easy pace with our senior students in a beginner friendly environment.
Schedule Your Visit
Tuesday & Thursday: 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Saturday: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Sunday: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Special Classes and Events as Scheduled
Membership and Fees
Dues are $60 per month
Annual Wadokai Organizational Fee $35
Annual Dojo Membership $25
Discounts are available for active duty military and law enforcement professionals.