Griffith Aikido Institute is the home of Aikido in Brisbane. Our style of Aikido is Yuishinkai. If you are thinking about learning a martial art in Brisbane and you are not really into kicks, punches and pushups on your knuckles, then you might like to consider Aikido. Some call it the thinking person’s martial art.
Choosing your Aikido dojo
In Aikido, as in all martial arts, there is a wide range of styles, teachers and dojo cultures. Getting a match that is right for you is an important decision and requires some research. So before you make a commitment, there are a few things you should keep in mind and one or two questions you should ask. They are:
Is it convenient for you?
It is important to select a dojo that is reasonably close to your home and offers a wide variety of training times. The statistics at our dojo, Griffith Aikido Institute, suggest that 80% of all students live within a 5km radius.
So if you are going to make a commitment to Aikido, you must give yourself every opportunity to train regularly. If you have to travel too far or if there is only a restricted number of classes a week, then the odds are stacked against you.
Does the dojo have many or few people?
The acid test of a successful dojo is the number of students and, in particular the number of senior students it has. In many cases, there is only one instructor but the more successful dojos that have been around for a while are characterized by many students and, in particular, many senior students and black belts.
A mature dojo will have a full progression of coloured belts, senior and black belt students. If this is not the case, then you should wonder why.
It could be that the dojo has recently opened, could be struggling to make rent, and the instructor has no resources and little back-up. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the instructor is not a good one, and on the positive side, you could be in for personal attention. However, without resources and back-up, the future of the dojo is uncertain. There are positives for both but you have to decide which suits you.
Find out the style of Aikido and the dojo culture?
There are several styles of Aikido which have evolved over time through the teachings of the original students of O Sensei. It is important to find a style that suits you. Aikido is for everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability, but individual styles may not be. Simply put, there are styles that practice in a harder and more physical way and styles that practice in a softer and gentler way. Find out which it is.
The culture within the dojo is also important to understand but you may need to try it out for a couple of lessons. Some dojos encourage only young fit males, and subtly discourage beginners, children, teens or females. Check out the age and gender mix of the students in a dojo as it will directly reflect the culture encouraged by the instructor.
Budo or Budo-bull?
Budo is usually translated as the martial way, and it refers to the warrior journey. The term relates to Japanese martial arts and to the personal journey of self development. It includes cultivation of the mind that extends way beyond the learning of martial techniques.
Aikido is a spiritual art which provides metaphors for life as well as effective self defence. Its expansive principles suggest a way of living a peaceful and self-satisfying life with self respect and respect for others.
Technique is important as a tool to teach martial awareness, balance, movement and timing. However, it is only part of the story. There is an entire internal side to the art which can occupy you for a lifetime.
Development of your power on the inside is just as important skill development on the outside. That power relates to peace, not fighting. Exploring life through the medium of Aikido represents the most interesting and challenging aspects of the art. So get a teacher with an expansive view of Aikido.
See you on the mat!
For Aikido in Brisbane, check out our class times at http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/class-times