What You Need To Know About Aikido

Knowing what Aikido is and its origins are one thing but more important is how and where we practice. And what to Wear and bring to classes.

Commonly in the U.K. practice takes place in sports halls, gyms or community centres though there are some that have their own place. 


Aikido classes are usually run through clubs often with one instructor as its head.  Sometimes there are other instructors who will take classes also. 


Other than Classes there are Special courses with guest instructors which give the chance to practice other people and forge friendships.


The most important thing to do when you first start is familiarize themselves with aikido etiquette. Remember It is OK to make mistakes with this, one of the seniors will guide you.

Aikido is an art for everybody there are practitioners from 5 years to 90 training every week in the U.K.

Because Aikido is not dependant on the use of physical force or a persons height there are no bars on who may practice. It is practiced by complete beginners, children, women, the disabled, and disadvantaged alike.



Aikido philosophy encompasses people from all walks of life regardless, of race, colour, creed, sexuality, gender identity, disability or social status. All you need is an open mind and an open heart.



Aikido is a form of exercise and practise can be either fast or slow, gentle or vigorous depending on the students ability. This means that you can start practicing regardless of your level of fitness; you just need the determination to keep training. 



We do however ask that you make us aware of and medical conditions or issues which may affect training; this will be dealt with discretely but will help us reach our duty of care commitment.


Our philosophy talks about serving the community in general and behaving in a charitable manner. We offer concessions for the poorer sections of society. 



When practiced in the correct manner aikido is trained in a co-operative manner, using stretching and warm-ups (kihon-dosa) to prepare the body. Working with a partner at either your or their level of proficiency depending on which is lower, thus people with no prior experience are able to practice, it is the seniors' duty to train in this manner.



Aikido is a form of exercise and practise can be either fast or slow, but progressing brings up the fitness levels, endurance and vitality. 


Our practice helps enhance fitness, general health, improves co-ordination, concentration. Taking good ukemi helps stretch muscles and tendons making the body more flexible and pliant. The training program helps people develop self esteem and good self awareness. Our meditative practices help with relaxation and teach a calm state of mind. Above all the dojo promotes a friendly atmosphere and a safe environment where you can meet people and make friends.

What Do I Need In Order To Practice?


People new to Aikido are not expected to buy anything until they are certain that they intend to continue (maybe one or two months). For this time it is recommended to wear loose clothing such as track suit bottoms and a plain T-shirt (preferably white, and preferably long sleeved). The dojo does not take responsibility for any damage sustained to clothing. Please remember to remove jewellery, watches, rings, breakables, etc. Due to the vigorous nature of practice it is common to have a Hand Towel (い, tenui)

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art so the appropriate clothing is needed for practice. For Aikido this is white keiko-gi (稽古着),or Aikidogi (合気道着). This suit is made of weaved cotton and comes in 2 peices the uwagi(上着)top and Shitabaki(下穿き) pants for Aikido these should have no badges or markings; however it is permissible to have your name written in katakana or kanji on the left upper sleeve. It is important to note that the jacket sleeves should not be rolled up during practice it is considered bad etiquette.

The Keikogi is fastened over the top of the Uwagi with a sash like belt called an (OBI 帯 ). These are often made of thick cotton and are about 5 centimetres (2.0 in) wide. The martial arts obi are most often worn in the koma-musubi (駒結び) "Foal knot".


In the B.A.F. we follow the traditional Japanese Aikido system of two belt colours for adults white for kyu grades, black for dan grades. However in the B.A.F. juniors follow a colour belt system for their grades to help encourage them. 

Footwear should be worn when not on the mat to preserve cleanliness of the tatami, Wooden or straw sandals called Zori (草履) or white split-toed socks called Tabi (足袋) are commonly worn off the mat though other footwear will suffice. Footwear should be left with the heels touching the mat while practising. 

Females above rokkyu and males from Shodan are permitted to wear a hakama the latter on top of their black belt. 

A Hakama () are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. They are a type of Trousers with wide legs the type worn for Aikido is an umanori (馬乗り, "horse-riding hakama"). Hakama are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles. Hakama are secured by four straps (himo): two longer himo attached on either side of the front of the garment, and two shorter himo attached on either side of the rear. The rear of the garment has a rigid trapezoidal section, called a koshi-ita (腰板). Below that on the inside is a hakama-dome (袴止め, a spoon-shaped component sometimes referred to as a hera) which is tucked into the obi or himo at the rear, and helps to keep the hakama in place.

Hakama have seven deep pleats, two on the back and five on the front. Although they appear balanced, the arrangement of the front pleats (three to the right, two to the left) is asymmetrical.

As it is rooted in weapons practice it is common to bring practice weapons to the dojo. In particular Aikido uses a wooden katana shaped sword called a bokken (木刀), A wooden short staff called a Jo (杖) and a wooden dagger called a tanto (短刀).

Some instructors have been known to use a shinai (竹刀), or an iaito (居合刀, for practicing the art of Iaido). If you do not possess weapons a dojo usually has spares to lend.