San Diego Aikikai teaches a variety of classes including Body Arts, Weapons, and Meditation classes. We offer both Adult and Child programs, and in some cases there are mixed classes for Adults and Children. Aikido is practiced world-wide by people both young and old and is appropriate for children as young as six years old.
All classes are taught in a traditional Japanese format, which encourages students to observe techniques and then repeat for themselves what they see with the guidance of the senior students and the sensei. During the course of the class the instructor will demonstrate a technique: once finished the class participants will pair off and practice the technique as demonstrated.
San Diego Aikikai offers Beginner and Mixed level classes.
The Beginner’s class is structured for new students wanting to try Aikido for the first time and for junior students wanting or requiring closer attention and practice of basics techniques. For beginner students, initial classes focus on learning how to fall. A basic grasp of falling techniques is necessary to ensure everyone’s safety. After about 3-4 classes, beginner students will join the class in regular practice.
The Mixed class is tailored to the individual class participants. Depending on the class make up, basic, intermediate, or advanced techniques may be taught. Everyone may safely train in a mixed level class.
Aikido training is also composed of weapons training. There are designated weapons classes, where students become familiar with handling a bokken (wooden sword) and a jyo (wooden staff), and learn the formal weapon system developed by Chiba Sensei. Occasionally, taijutsu will be combined with weapons training to expose students to disarming techniques.
Many of the principles of Aikido can be found, and developed, through weapons practice. An even greater level of trust and connection is necessary to train in weapons.
Note: Permission should be received prior to attending any weapons classes.
Iaido – Batto-ho is the art of drawing the sword, based on the traditional form of Japanese Iaido. Batto-ho is studied at San Diego Aikikai for what it reveals about the roots of Aikido as a martial art much in the same manner bokken and jyo deepen the understanding of students. It can be both a meditation and an intense focus of self.
Zazen – Zen has a strong link to the martial culture of Japan. Both the warrior culture and Zen discipline emphasize the impermanence of life and teach us to be present in the moment, here and now. Zazen is seated, silent meditation, and may be practiced by any student regardless of religious affiliation. Birankai International’s Zen Meditation page offers more information and links on the history of zen training and aikido.
Misogi-no-kokyu-ho comes from the Shinto tradition and may be translated as purification through breathing. Misogi practice involves sitting in the kneeling posture of seiza, deep breathing exercises, and the strong repetitive chanting of eight syllables. Initiation into misogi occurs in Japan at the Ichikukai dojo through a four-day period of intensive practice. The training is arduous, emotionally straining, and physically exhausting, yet it is a unique opportunity to break through self-imposed limitations and egoistic personality defenses. Students wishing to participate in misogi practice should speak with the Chief Instructor prior to attending.