Adult classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Belgard Community Centre (opposite the Luas Belgard stop). We recommend that you arrive for your first lesson at least 20 minutes early so you can meet the head instructor and introduce yourself. ...and remember your first session is FREE! (2 hours)
If you already have a white Judo or Karate suit then bring it with you. If you don't, you can wear any loose fitting clothing such as track suit bottoms and a T-shirt. Long hair should be tied back and all jewellery removed before stepping onto the mat. As you will be training barefoot we recommend that you bring flip-flops to wear from the changing room to the training area to prevent dirt being brought onto the mats.
The main thing is to come in and introduce yourself to the chief instructor. If in doubt just say hello to some classmates and they will point you in the right direction. You will find that our members are very friendly and keen to welcome newcomers. You can bring your shoes, gear bag, coat and any other bits and pieces into the hall. Please put your mobile phone on silent.
Once the formal start is signalled by the instructor, unranked and kyu grade students all line up facing the shomen (front wall of the dojo) in grade order from lowest rank on the left. Dan grades and instructor(s) will line up facing you, again in rank order, lowest grade on the left.
The chief instructor or a senior student will shout out a number of Japanese instructions begining with "seiza", meaning all students should adopt the traditional japanese sitting position (kneeling). Shortly after, they will call "mokuso" (meditation) to indicate that all students should close their eyes, the purpose of which is to allow each student to think on the class ahead and eliminate outside world concerns from the mind. "mokuso yame" is the signal to stop meditation and open one's eyes. "Shomen" or "Shomen-ni-rei" signals for all to face forward toward the front of the dojo where pictures of the founder(s) are displayed. "Rei" signals for all present to show respect to the founders by bowing. (Bowing is a Japanese cultural practice to show respect to elders and teachers and is in no way intended to be demeaning or have any religious context). "Sensei ni rei", means prepare to bow the teacher (chief instructor of the class) and finally "otagai ni rei" prepare to bow to fellow students completes the formal starting ritual.
If you get lost at any point, just follow someone next to you. Don't worry! we all found Japanese dojo etiquette unusual at the start. No-one will laugh at you, and the instructor will explain clearly and in more detail what to do if there is any new students present.
A few additional Japanese words you will hear during each class are: "Yame" - Stop, "Matte" -wait, "Hajime" -begin, "Hai!" - Yes, "Kotai" - swap over, "Ukemi" - breakfall, "Uke" - person who does breakfall, "Tori" - person applying technique to uke.
We spend a little while getting warmed up. We often start by lightly jogging around the mat to get the heart pumping, nothing too strenuous. We then spend a couple of minutes loosening up joints - Not stretching, just moving each joint to the natural limit of movement, so that it is nice and loose and ready for practice. Follow the instructor or someone next to you if you are unsure of any exercise.
Next up, we normally loosen up the wrists with several specific stretching exercises. Because Aikido techniques often involve wrist and arm locks, we stretch the wrists out beforehand so that when the techniques are applied, we are better prepared to receive them. Don't worry, some of these exercises do involve some weird grasps and manipulation of your hands and arms, someone will come and show you exactly what to do.
Once warmed up and stretched, we sometimes do some more basic fitness exercises such as sit ups. Don't worry if you can't do everything, only do what you can. Stop for a breather if needed. Your stamina will improve in time.
In Aikido, we spend a lot of time falling and getting back up. We have specific ways of falling so we don't get injured and which allows us to practice techniques on each other again and again.You will be shown the basics so you can start to train safely. During practice, your partners will be aware of your abilities and will take great care not to be forceful or injure you in any way.
Once you are loose and warm, we get on to the meat of the session. The Sensei (teacher) will gather everyone around and demonstrates a principle, drill or technique - typically using one of the more experienced students.
Everyone splits up into pairs, and you spend the next couple of minutes trying to work out which way up your hands are supposed to be before you start, and you realise that the technique has more to it than might first have appeared. After another minute or so, the Sensei will come over and show you again how to improve your technique - and you just start to get the idea when they call everyone back to look at the next technique.
After a few more techniques, all seemingly easy but with hidden complexities that mean you end up facing the other way - or holding the wrong arm - you find a technique which you can do! When you grab here, step just there, twist the wrist like so, and apply pressure like that - and this is the point at which you realise that Aikido is a sophisticated art that could be very effective.
All too quickly, we all line up again and looking at the clock, you realise two hours have slipped by - it doesn't seem like it!. After a couple of bows, you make your way off the mat (bowing finally to the mat as you step off). Before we get changed we put the mats back in the store room (everybody is expected to give a hand regardless of rank). When all is done, you start putting your shoes and socks back on, feeling warm and slightly tired - but feeling like you've really experienced something different and that you're now part of a unique group. You are now ready to go home. Hopefully, you would have had some fun and will want to come back for more!
The first lesson is free. If you want more... the cost for adults is €40 per month for one session per week or €80 per month for two sessions per week (great value for money as each class is 2 hours long). We have discounts available for full-time students as well as unemployed adults. For the first month, you'll be covered by the club's insurance. If you decide you would like to continue training you can arrange insurance via the club secretary. You do not have to buy an Aikido uniform until after your first grading, however you will find that the sooner you get one, thquicker you will feel part of the group and the more comfortable your training will be.
We look forward to meeting you. If you have any enquires please call the number on the top of the page or contact us via the Dublin Tomiki Aikido facebook page and we will do our best to answer your questions.
It's important to take into account that our club is run by volunteers during their spare time, on a totally not-for-profit basis. Your subs go towards the yearly expense of running the club; i.e. hall rental, cleaning, insurance, IMAC club registration and compliance and the purchase and maintenance of training equipment. Your first months subs can be paid in cash, however, therafter monthly subs need to be paid latest by the 6th of the Month by bank tranfser or standing order directly to the club bank account only.
We really appreciate your help and consideration as it helps greatly to reduce admin overhead and keep the club running smoothly.
as a Mature Student
Aikido Uniform / training suit
Adult 7th- 1st Kyu, 1st - 7th Dan