Aikido: Martial Art and Effective Self Defense in Tallahassee and North Florida
Q: What is Aikido?
Aikido (“the way of harmony”) is a martial art developed in Japan. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (commonly referred to in the art as O-Sensei, or “great teacher”), mastered martial arts like ju-jitsu as well as sword and spear arts before incorporating what he learned into what eventually became known as Aikido. Although there are numerous styles of Aikido practiced throughout the world, Aikido generally emphasizes the use of position, timing, joint locks, and throws to unbalance and fell an opponent. At its higher levels, Aikido provides a means of internalizing the principles of harmony and conflict resolution in order to produce balanced and peaceful individuals and communities.
Q: Do Aikido classes involve weapons training?
Yes. Since Aikido developed from sword and spear movements, classes often involve the use of wooden swords (bokken), bamboo swords (shinai), wooden short staffs (jo), and wooden knives (tanto). These weapons are used to enhance and illuminate the open-hand techniques.
Q: What is the class schedule?
There are classes offered three days of the week. You can view the calendar for an up-to-date class listing. The Saturday class is designed as more of a tutorial for beginners; however, students of all experience levels are strongly encouraged to attend all weekly classes.
Q: What do I need to begin training?
First and foremost is a willingness to step onto the mat. Feel free to watch a class to gain a familiarity with Aikido. When you’re ready to start and if you have a plain white uniform (gi), you can wear it. If not, sweatpants and a plain T-shirt is fine until you can obtain a gi. Show up about 15 minutes before a class begins to fill out some paperwork, but don’t worry about paying right away. North Florida School of Aikido offers the first few classes free of charge. When you decide to continue training, you can explore the payment plans.
Q: Are there contracts to sign?
No. North Florida School of Aikido does not require you to sign a contract. As long as you are a current dues-paying member, you are welcome to attend classes according to your schedule. Of course, the more classes you attend on a regular basis will lead to a deeper understanding of the techniques and the art itself. Even the automatic payment withdrawal is not a contract since it can be canceled at any time.
Q: What are the fees?
There are two types of fees: monthly and annual. Monthly dues for Aikido are $70.00/month. If you choose to also study with other groups at the aikido center, you can add them for only ten dollars more a month ($80.00/month for Aikido, Karate, Naginata, etc.). Monthly fees are collected via automatic payments from a checking account or credit card. There are two annual fees: a $35 insurance fee and a $45.00 organization dues (Aikido Schools of Ueshiba). You are not eligible for rank promotion unless you are current in your organizational dues.