But is it a good training?
Someone may wonder if Aikido, known as “soft, flowing, relaxed, etc.” is “a good training” to keep in shape, for athletical purposes. Aikido’s goal is not training athletes for competitions. If you are wondering whether we train with abdominals, push-ups, running, the answer is no, don’t expect the marines training. If you believe it is a quiet dance-like form of practice, the anwer is again no.
Training can be very hard (given every single practitioner’s own capabilities) and even if “Aikido is for everybody”, not everybody is for Aikido: often some people quit. Aikido practice alone allows for an optimal body “shaping” (non in the body-building sense). Particular focus is given to the complete joint movements, as well as to the correct physiological posture that allows for natural, harm-free, intelligent and efficient body movement. It is a tough practice for keeping young and fit for as long as possible.
Uniform and weapons
Typical Japanese martial arts uniforms derive from the traditional underware, therefore are ment to be donned on bare skin: in the past, trainees simply put off their clothes to practice more freely. The belt was just used to keep the jacket closed. Specialized uniforms for each martial art and coloured belts are a relatively modern thing. The belt will stay white until the 1st dan rank is achieved.
The traditional hakama trousers can be donned from 1st kyu on.
If you choose to join us, you will need to purchase the appropriate uniform, consisting of a white kimono (the keikogi), not available at the dojo but sold in the best sports equipment shops or even on Amazon (those for Judo are good enough). An additional purchase will be that of wooden weapons: a staff (jo), a sword, which simulates the katana (bokken), and a knife (tanto).
Within the dojo you will be required to follow a certain etiquette, like the formal bow upon entering and exiting the mat or at the beginning and at the end of a class; also some simple rules of good behaviour which allow practicing in a relaxed, informal environment.