Aikido for Beginners

How do I begin practicing Aikido at Vancouver West Aikikai?

There are several ways you can start practicing Aikido with us:

meditation Ishiyama Sensei, VWA Chief Instructor
You are also welcome to come and watch a class (beginners or regular) at any time!

What should I wear to practice?

Anyone wishing to start in the beginner class needs to wear appropriate attire:

teaching Aikido class by Ishiyama Sensei
  • Loose fitting clothing (such as sweats) with long sleeves and long pants. The clothing should cover both the knees and elbows.
  • Jewellery should not be worn.
  • If you have a gi (judo or karate style uniform) you can wear that, as long as it is white top and bottom, with a white belt. The gi should have no patches or insignias.
  • Please refer to our proper etiquette guide for the dojo.

What is the purpose of the beginners program?

The focus of the beginners classes is on Ukemi (receiving of techniques), Taisabaki (body movements) and Kihon Waza (fundamental techniques). The goal is to help new people to gain some basic skills that would enable them to continue their training at a more advanced level in our regular program.

Liz in action Liz McKinlay
VWA instructor

Beginners will train and progress together each term (fall, winter, spring, and summer). Those who have practiced for at at least 60 days and are deemed ready by instructor will be encouraged to test for the 5th Kyu, the first rank in Aikido; more information on ranking and testing in Aikido can be found here.

How often should I practice?

Practice as much as you can! We offer beginners classes three times a week (Mon, Wed, Sun), and you will make the most progress if you practice three times a week. Aikido is a challenging martial art to master, and progress may be quite slow. Be ready for that and do not despair! It is normal. If you practice regularly, you will have small insights from time to time that will show you that you are on the right path. Also feel free to seek help and advice from more senior Aikido students who have been on this path longer than you. Everyone will be happy to help you!

What are the goals of Aikido practice?

Sharon in action Sharon Bader, VWA instructor

Aikido uses the framework of martial art to help us become better individuals. It is impossible to get good at Aikido without opening up to the world and letting go of your ego. By practicing, you strive to unify your mind and your body, to make them operate as one unit, which improves your overall well-being.

Every Aikido practitioner has their own reasons for continuing practicing. Aikido is so rich that everyone will be able to find something that resonates with their personality and their desire for personal growth. The only condition is that you practice regularly and sincerely!

Ishiyama sensei in action Ishiyama Sensei

As Saotome Sensei, one of the students of O Sensei, said in his book The Principles of Aikido:

"Gaining mere literal knowledge and technical skill is not the goal of Aikido practice. You must work to improve your character and raise your consciousness to a higher level. The study of Aikido cannot be a selfish study. You must develop your sensitivity toward others and your concern for them in your daily interactions, both in practice and in your daily life."

Want to know more?

Please contact us for more information about our Aikido program. Better still, just come to our dojo!

lineup before an Aikido class