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Aiki Kai Australia

National Aikido Association of Australia



Frequently asked questions

Want to start training in Aikido? Here's a quick rundown of what to do
Want to start straight away, click the green button on the right.
Need some questions answered - read the rest of this FAQ. Look at the various pages on this site. If your questions are still not answered, feel free to contact us!

Do you run beginners courses?
Some of our branches run beginners' courses which start throughout the year. Our University classes in particular are likely to run a beginners' course in first and second semester. Other branches may choose to have beginners join in with the regular class after some introductory sessions.

What's involved in training in Aikido?
A normal class is about one and a half hours long and can include:

  • Stretching and calisthenics
  • Rolling and breakfalls from various heights
  • Traditional Aikido techniques - both standing and kneeling 
     - Hand-to-hand 
     - Hand-to-weapon 
     - Weapon-to-weapon
  • Weapon specific training   
     - Bokken (wooden sword) 
     - Jo (wooden staff) 
     - Tanto (wooden knife) 
  • Meditation
  • Misogi Breathing

Aikido techniques include a range of joint locks, which can be painful when applied. The training can be very vigorous and intensive yet at other times, slow and relaxing.

Do women train in Aikido?
We have many women training, both senior black belt and junior grades. We have numerous female instructors. Some dojos have more women training than others. Women are encouraged to train in Aikido, we do not discriminate on the basis of gender.

What clothes do I need to wear? Do I need to buy a uniform to start?
We understand that a uniform (dogi) can be expensive for someone who isn't sure they'll want to continue. Acceptable clothing for a beginner is loose, comfortable sports type wear. It should have full leg and arm covering. No shorts or leotards please. This is mainly for safety - the clothing protects you against mat burns, bumps and scrapes. Remove jewellery, watches, earrings, rings, hard hair clips and so on before class. Any cuts or wounds should be covered by adhesive tape. Hands and feet should be clean and washed, nails trimmed if necessary. 

You'll find that Aikido is very hard on normal clothes, which is why we wear a special martial arts uniform (dogi) which is built to last. The association makes available 3 types of durable, good quality dogi, not the canvas karate-style which is too light. We supply the only Aikido specific dogis in the country. When you're ready for a uniform and weapons, check out our Shop

What should I wear underneath the uniform?
For males it's not part of the dress code to wear anything under their dogi, however we do allow a t-shirt to be worn for religious, cultural or medical reasons. You need to advise your instructor if any of these exceptions apply to you. 

Females are required to wear a t-shirt, or similar, under their dogi. It is also advised for them to wear a sports bra, as some of the techniques can cause pressure on the chest area when they are being pinned. 

We recommend a white t-shirt that blends with the white dogi. No highly patterned, colourful garments please.


When do I get to wear the dark coloured skirt (hakama)?
The skirt or hakama is worn when you reach black belt level. Some other aikido associations ask or allow women to wear hakama at earlier levels. The 'skirt' represents formal Japanese clothing which many males wore in previous times and was part of their daily wear.

More importantly, in today's world the hakama adds to the challenge of your training, it is an essential training tool. It is not a status symbol, think more like a step up in your training requirements:

  • 1.     A hakama helps you towards better posture,
  • 2.     requires greater co-ordination and
  • 3.     reveals the distances inherent to safe and proper form.
  • 4.     It cultivates the grace and fluidity associated with the higher form of aikido and
  • 5.     it is part of the culture of Aikido, its context, history and teaching system.
  • 6.     It is required, like proper manners and bowing and is part of the dress code throughout international Aikikai.
  • 7.     Not wearing one shows disrespect to O Sensei, who valued highly the wearing of hakama.

Aiki Kai Australia is affiliated with the Aikikai Foundation in Japan, it is our global dress code to use a hakama and you are expected to wear one if you are entitled to do so. Aikido organisations outside of Aikikai may have different hakama requirements.

What are the fees?
The training fees depend on the branch dojo. Aiki Kai Australia is a non-profit organisation, none of our instructors are paid to teach. No administrators, either state or national receive a wage. Training fees cover expenses such as hall hire and state administration.  

Many dojos have a monthly fee that lets you attend as many classes as you wish that month - which is great value for the serious student. Others have a pay-by-the-class arrangement.

We also have a yearly membership/studentship fee that covers public indemnity insurance, administrative costs for a national association, part of which is maintaining close ties with Japan, which assures the international acceptance of a grade certificate you may receive from us and travel for our technical committee to instruct across the country. See the current membership fees here - Membership Fees

How long does it take to get a black belt?
A similar question would be 'How long does it take to learn to play the piano?' Having said that, a student who trains seriously might be nominated to attend a black belt grading after five years or so. The gradings are held twice a year at the national events.

Is there a minimum age to start?
Aikido training is very vigorous and can be hard on the joints. Some dojos run special childrens' courses where special care is taken and all the students are in our Junior category. If you are younger than about 15 you should speak to the instructor to seek his/her opinion before starting in an adult class.

Is there a maximum age to start?
Speak to your instructor if you think you may be too old to start training. Obviously you need to have the physical capability to exercise at a reasonable pace but Aikido is suitable to people of most ages.

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