Most of your time on the mat will be spent in group classes. Beginning with a moment of quiet centering followed by a bow, you’ll warm up your body through a progression of training exercises led by one of Ikazuchi Dojo’s instructors. Each movement has purpose well beyond warming up the body and preparing it for technique practice. The focus of the class will then turn to the practice of aikido techniques — throws, escapes, joint locks and immobilizations. You’ll practice cooperatively with fellow aikidoka of varying levels. Over the course of a class you may practice with a 40-year-old newcomer, a teenager approaching black belt level, and a 60-year-old master instructor.
You’ll connect and interact with people in a novel, engaging, and positive way as you learn the movement system of aikido, train your body, forge a martial spirit, and experience the philosophical principles of the art.
As your aikido develops, you’ll have the opportunity to check your skills and understanding through rank testing. You’ll start as an unranked white belt, progress through the kyu ranks (with tests offered 3 times a year at Ikazuchi), and then graduate from the kyu ranks when you pass your black belt test and become a shodan (entering rank). Our ranks are issued through the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo Japan, where the ranking system goes from 1st dan up to 8th dan — a rank only a few great masters in the world have achieved.
Depending on your training goals and focus, you can move through the ranking system diligently, take a slow path of exploration through the ranks, or disregard testing entirely and simply practice the art at your own pace. To be sure, the process of preparing for tests through a guided and focused mentorship with a more advanced practitioner provides a unique and transformational learning experience. The journey of testing will make you a stronger person in a way that can positively shape your life off the mat. At Ikazuchi Dojo, we respect rank and the individual’s path that got them there, but we know rank itself does not tell the whole story. For more on this, see what lies behind rank.
Attending workshops, seminars, and events is an integral part of the aikido experience. The aikido community is global and every weekend hundreds of events are held around the world. Weekend seminars offer intensive training opportunities for beginners and advanced, alike. Practitioners from different schools, styles, and backgrounds come together to learn from a master teacher, forge friendships, and travel to new places. Many lifelong friendships around the globe are made at aikido seminars. Most practitioners at Ikazuchi Dojo will attend a large-scale weekend seminar a couple times a year and attend shorter afternoon workshops on a regular basis.
We produce a number of unique seminars, workshops, and events throughout the year, both at Ikazuchi Dojo and offsite locations.
We believe every aikido practitioner should engage in some form of personalized training — either directed by an instructor or through independent efforts. Some enrich their training through reading and online learning, others participate in one-on-one training sessions with expert teachers and/or join small-group intensive training programs targeting specific skill development. Personalized training is just that — personal. Every practitioner has the freedom to shape this facet of their aikido training as they see fit.
Aikido is a martial art designed to be a lifetime practice. Carrying an aikido practice with you throughout your life brings not only physical and mental fitness, but also a powerful sense of calm strength. You’ll move through life with grace and power and will equip yourself with tools you can apply to both the small and large challenges of life. You’ll connect and interact with people in a positive and meaningful way, as well as earn a place in a diverse and supportive global community.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more.