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  • Interested in Aikido? The first steps

    Observing a class or two before registering may be helpful in giving you a feeling for Aikido. You may watch either class at any time, and of course there is no charge. Although the only way to really find out is to try it yourself. All you need is an open mind and wear comfortable clothing (for example t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms).
  • How to tie a belt

    There are always other students to help but we have included this video (thank you Reading Zenshin Aikido) to help you practice at home.
  • Help with the weapons

    In Iwama Aikido the weapons play a fundamental role in training. More than just representing a sword (Ken) and wooden staff (Jo), they are used as an extension of your body and, over time, you will see their movements are aligned to the body techniques. Therefore, practicing the Suburi every day is one of the best ways to improve all aspects of your aikido. The weapon's movements are complex and you should always seek guidance from a Sensei or Sempai, however, these videos of Morihiro Saito Sensei demonstrating the Ken and Jo Suburi  provide a foundation to build on.
    Ken Suburi 1 - 7
    Jo Suburi 1 - 20
  • Guideline for training

    You will find the teaching and atmosphere are very relaxed, however, we would appreciate if you could adhere to the following guidelines:
    • Follow the instructions of the person leading the class, no matter what his or her rank or skill level may be.
    • Receive instruction and carry out suggestions for training sincerely and to the best of your ability. There is no room for argument on the mat.
    • It is the moral responsibility of each student never to use Aikido technique to harm another person or as a way to display his or her ego.
    • There will be no competition on the mat. The purpose of Aikido is not to fight and defeat an enemy, but to fight and defeat your own aggressive instincts.
    • Be aware of your limitations. The strength of Aikido is not in muscular force, but in flexibility, timing, control and modesty.
    • It is your responsibility to cause no injury to your training partner or yourself.
    • There will be no power struggles within the dojo. The dojo membership is one family, and the secret of Aikido is harmony.
  • Japanesse numbers 1 - 31

    1. 1 = ichi
    2. 2 = ni
    3. 3 = san
    4. 4 = yon
    5. 5 = go
    6. 6 = roku
    7. 7 = nana
    8. 8 = hachi
    9. 9 = kyuu
    10. 10 = jyuu
    11. 11 = jyuu-ichi
    12. 12 = jyuu-ni
    13. 13 = jyuu-san
    14. 14 = jyuu-shi
    15. 15 = jyuu-go
    16. 16 = jyuu-roku
    17. 17 = jyuu-shicji
    18. 18 = jyuu-hachi
    19. 19 = jyuu-kyuu
    20. 20 = ni-jyuu
    21. 21 = ni-jyuu-ichi
    22. 22 = ni-jyuu-ni
    23. 23 = ni-jyuu-san
    24. 24 = ni-jyuu-shi
    25. 25 = ni-jyuu-go
    26. 26 = ni-jyuu-roku
    27. 27 = ni-jyuu-shichi
    28. 28 = ni-jyuu-hachi
    29. 29 = ni-jyuu-kyuu
    30. 30 = san-jyuu
    31. 31 = san-jyuu-ichi
  • The grading syllabus

    Here is a PDF of the grading syllabus or you may prefer to use the Excel version.

Glossary of terms to help all students

  • A - Z

    Japanese is a very complex language and even though the classes are taught in English, in order to keep with the tradition we still use Japanese for basic instructions and  techniques:
    Aikido (eye-key-doe) compound from "ai" (harmony), "ki" (spirit), and "do" (Way): the Way of harmonious spirit.
    Aikidoka (eye-key-doe-kah) one who practices aikido, to Aikidoist.
    Bokken (bow-ken) wooden sword used in practice.
    Bushido (boo-she-doe) warrior's code, the way of the warrior.
    Dan (don) aikido grade holder, black belt rank.
    Dojo (doe-joe) Training hall, place of the Way. So in Buddhism refers to the place of worship.
    domo arigato gozaimashita (doe-moe ah-ree-gah-toe go-zah-ee-mash-tah) Spoken by students after aikido class to thank Sensei very much for what he has done.
    Doshi (doe-she) comrade, friend (used among fellow aikido ists).
    Gaeshi (guy-eh-she) to reverse.
    Gi (ghee) Training clothing. (A synonym is Keikogi.)
    Hakama (hock-kah-ma) a divided, pant, skirt-like: a formal garment that is worn by Japanese aikido dan grade holders.
    Hanmi (hahn-me) a posture in which one foot is advanced one step and the body weight is distributed equally on both feet. triangular stance. literally means "half-body".
    Hanmi handachi (hahn-me cock-dah-chee) a type of training  in which management is kneeling and uke approaches from a standing position.
    Hara (Har-ah) one's physical and spiritual center. physically, in the lower abdomen a few inches below the navel.
    Hidari (he-dah-ree) the leftside.
    Irimi (ee-ree-me) to enter, entering.
    Jiyu (gee-you) free, unrestricted.
    Jiyu Waza (gee-you wah-zah) freestyle techniques / practices.
    Jo (Joe) wooden staff.
    Kaiten (kai-th) to revolve or rotate.
    Kata (kah-tah) First shoulder, 2nd form, a pre-arranged exercise.
    Katate (kah-tah-tay) one hand (left or right).
    Keiko (kay-koh) practice session, training.
    Keikogi (ghee) Training clothing. (A synonym is gi)
    Ken (ken) Japanese sword.
    Ki (key) Spirit: the vital force of the body, universal energy, a stream or flow of positive energy.
    Kiai (key-eye) a piercing scream or cry with practical and psychological value; literally "meeting of the spirits".
    Kohai (co-high) student junior to oneself, someone with a lower rank or who attained the same rank at a later date. (See sempai)
    Kokyu (coke-you) Breath power, the coordination of ki flow with breathing.
    Kokyu Dosa (coke-you-doe saw) A method of off-balancing and pinning your partner with ki instead of physical power.
    Kokyu-Ryoku (coke-you-oh-ree Kyoo) breath power.
    Koshi (ko-she) hips, waist. (So sometimes spelled "goshi")
    Kubi (coo-bee) neck.
    Kyu (cue) the aikido ranks held by undergraduates, prior to attainment of dan ranking.
    Ma-ai (ma-eye) distance between uke and nage. literally, "harmony of space".
    Migi (mih-ghee) the right side.
    Nage (nah-gay) a throw or the person who throws.
    Obi (oh-bee) belt.
    Randori (ran-door-ri) Multiple attack.
    Rei (ray) salutation, bow.
    Ryote (ree-oh-tay) both hands.
    Samurai (sam-oh-rye) military retainer (from the feudal period of Japanese history).
    Sempai (sem-pie) student senior to oneself, someone with a higher rank or who attained the same rank at an earlier date. (See kohai)
    Sensei (sen-say) teacher, instructor; rally generated a title earned at 4th dan.
    Seiza (say-zah) formal sitting posture  in which the Insteps shins and rest against the floor.
    Shiho (she-ho) four directions. Shimi (she-me) choke.
    Shodan (show-don) holder of the first grade of black belt.
    Shomen (show-men) First the front or top of the head, 2nd the front of the dojo, where the Kamiza is.
    Suburi (suh-boor-ee) a single movement using the ken or jo, done as a solo practice.
    Suwari Waza (sue-ree-wah wah-zah) seated techniques.
    Tachi (tah-chee) First Japanese sword, 2nd standing (as opposed to sitting).
    Tachi Waza (tah-chee wah-zah) standing techniques.
    Tachi-Dori (chee tah-doh-ree) techniques of taking an opponent's sword.
    Taijutsu (tie-jute-sue) body arts, the techniques of aikido performed without weapons.
    Tai No Henko (tie-no-ko-hen) basic blending practice, literally "changing the body".
    Tanto (tahn-toe) dagger. Te (tay) hand. Tegatana (tay-gah-tah-nah) hand blade, sword edge of the hand.
    Tenchi (ten-chee) compound from "th" (heaven) and "chi" (earth), a position of the hands: one high and one low.
    Tsuki (tski) thrust.
    Uchi (ooh-chee) a strike.
    Uke (ooh-kay) Who Receives a person to attack, generally speaking, the person being thrown.
    Ukemi (ooh-kem-me) the art of receiving the energy of a technique, literally, "receive with the body".
    Ushiro (ooh-she-row) back, behind, rear.
    Waza (wah-zah) technique (s). Yame (ya-may) stop (as a command). said by instructor to end formally randori.
    Yokomen (yoh-koh-men) side of the head.

Overview of Iwama Aikido

  • Its origins

    The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (known as O-Sensei) developed his martial art from a number of ancient martial systems, including Jujutsu (Art of Suppleness), Kenjutsu (Art of the Sword) and Jojutsu (Art of the Staff).
    The resultant art of Aikido was revealed to the public in 1946 and become one of the fastest growing martial arts to date. O-Sensei's Aikido is based not only upon Taijutsu (body arts) but also the use of weapons, namely the Aiki Ken (wooden sword) and Aiki Jo (wooden quarter staff).
    O-Sensei regarded an understanding of the use of these weapons as fundamental to the proper execution of open-handed techniques, but would seldom teach them at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo. He wished for those looking for his Aikido to learn the Aiki weapons at the birth place of Aikido in Iwama. Morihiro Saito Sensei 9th Dan began studying under O-Sensei in 1946. His shift work on the Japanese railways enabled Saito Sensei, who also lived in Iwama, to learn O-Sensei's Aikido first hand and allowed him the privilege of having only one teacher, the founder of Aikido.
    Saito Sensei's loyalty and devotion (he also cared for the Founder and his wife) was repaid by O-Sensei with the gift of a plot of land next to the Iwama dojo and by O-Sensei bequeathing him the Aiki weapons legacy. Under the supervision of O-Sensei, Saito Sensei organised the teachings of Aikido into a more structured format.
    Before his death O-Sensei passed on the responsibility of the Aiki Jinga (Shrine), the Iwama Dojo and the teaching of O-Sensei's Aikido to Saito Sensei. Saito Sensei calls this Iwama Aikido (Aikido according to the tradition of Iwama), and can be recognised by its strong basics, accuracy of technique and posture and its use of the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo.
  • What makes it different from other Aikido styles?

    The International Aikido Federation categorises 'Iwama-ryu' Aikido as the following: "While still a part of the Aikikai, the style taught by Morihiro Saito, based in the Iwama dojo, is generally considered sufficiently stylisticly different from mainstream Aikikai that it is named individually. Saito-sensei was a long time uchi-deshi of O-sensei, beginning in 1946 and staying with him through his death. Many consider that Saito-sensei was the student who spent most time directly studying with O-sensei. Saito-sensei says he is trying to preserve and teach the art exactly as it was taught to him by the Founder. Technically, Iwama-ryu seems to resemble the Aikido O-sensei was teaching in the early 50s mainly in the Iwama dojo. The technical repertoire is larger than in most other styles and a great deal of emphasis is placed on weapons training."
    Iwama Aikido not only 'resembles' the Aikido as taught by O-Sensei, but adheres to maintaining the purity of form and clarity of the art that the founder intended. This is achieved by studying the basics before moving on to the more advanced forms and also training regularly in Aiki Ken and Jo. Iwama Aikido has not attempted to modify or change O-Sensei's original teachings.