Q: Can Anyone Learn Aikido?
Yes, aikido is suitable for men, women and children of all ages. All teaching is tailored to the individual – so whether you’re in your 30’s or 70’s, whether you’ve been regularly exercising or not, the intensity of the class will be adjusted accordingly to ensure you can keep up to the best of your ability.
Q: Are There Any Religious Aspects To Aikido That Might Conflict With My Own Religious Beliefs?
No – the aspects of aikido that most people commonly associate with religion are simply cultural practices infused into the training, such as traditional reiho or bowing before and after class to the memorial of O-Sensei. Bowing is not a sign of religious subservience – it represents humility and is not limited to paying homage to the founder of aikido, but also extends as a sign of respect to the teacher and fellow students.
Q: What Can I Expect From Regular Training?
Over time, your fitness and flexibility will improve as you train in the various techniques, some of which will involve throws and the corresponding breaking of falls. As yoshinkan aikido involves repetitive training in the basic movements, muscle strength and endurance particularly in the lower body and back are expected to grow.
Q: Is Aikido The Right Martial Art For Me?
Joe Thambu Shihan (8th dan) was once recorded as saying that “aikido is for everybody”. That is an adage that holds true in all circumstances – there is no bar to doing aikido, and there are students of varying levels of physical and/or mental capacity who have joined and stayed, as well as serious athletes studying other martial arts such as boxing, MMA, BJJ and kali who have trained on our mats. One thing is certain – all students come to the dojo for varying reasons. The first step to learning aikido is acknowledging that it is not something you may be good at instinctively, but with the right approach and desire to learn, it can be the right fit for you.
Q: How Long To Earn My Black Belt?
All black belts train for varying periods before achieving the first degree, and the process can take as little as 2 years for the extremely dedicated student and as long as 7 or more for others. The length of time is largely dependent on the individual student’s natural abilities and dedication to training in the art.
Q: What Does It Mean To Be A Black Belt?
The rank of shodan (also known as 1st degree black belt) is not traditionally thought of as a high rank in Japanese martial arts, and does not mean expert or master. A shodan is simply a serious beginner in the art, ready to start training in earnest.
Some of the black belts you will come across in your training are instructors who have been specially tasked by the chief instructor (or his delegate) to lead the classes in his stead. These instructors hold an office, and are due the same etiquette one would to the chief instructor.
Q: I Am New To Aikido – What Costs Are Involved To Start?
All beginners need is a uniform (which can be purchased directly from us) and an open mind to learn. If you are keen to try out a class, wear loose fitting exercise clothing for your first lesson. The costs of tuition are your monthly fees, which will go toward paying the rental costs of the premises and fees of the teachers. As you test for each higher level or belt, there will also be grading fees involved for each tier.
As yoshinkan aikido techniques are traditionally derived from the sword, some of our empty-handed techniques will involve training with a wooden sword (bokken) and the student may at some point choose to purchase one for his own individual training.
Q: How Useful Is Aikido For Self Defense?
Aikido is extremely relevant to self-defence, being at its core a defensive-based martial art. In yoshinkan aikido there are hundreds of different techniques applied in multifarious situations – the response varies depending on the attack. Strikes, counter-strikes, locks and throws are also part of the regular curriculum, as well as kiai (vocal projection) and mai (maintaining a safe distance from the attacker). The style of yoshinkan aikido is taught to policemen and policewomen, as well as special response groups within the Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police.
Q: What Can Aikido Do For My Child’s Development?
Modern day Singaporean parents are finding it increasingly difficult to balance their children’s overly-comprehensive schedule of enrichment classes – this anxiety to give our young ones the best start in life can frequently result in unhealthy stress and fear for both the parents and children.
Aikido is not – nor does it aim to be – a replacement for music, sports or enrichment. It is however an excellent martial art for children, aiming to provide them with a strong core of moral values and self-development skills, such as the improvement of awareness and mind-body coordination, increased self-confidence and cultivating discipline and self-control, all while promoting/maintaining an active lifestyle.
Our yoshinkan aikido philosophy seeks to develop these skills and promote better efficiency in the art, all without encouraging or developing aggression. Our training for children includes lots of ukemi (tumbling, rolling and breaking falls), practicing techniques with a partner, and physical activities/games to support the learning programme. Everything is a lesson, from the rolls to the games, all serving the ultimate goal of developing your young ones’ focus, coordination, and balance. The art is non-competitive, so there is no sparring or fighting during training, and children learn to work together in a cooperative and safe environment. Ultimately, the child has fun during aikido training, and as a bonus is able to take away a nascent set of skills and values in the development of his or her life.