- Get on the mat a little early to sit, relax and compose your mind.
- It is normal to desire a partner of higher grade than you, but in any class there just
aren't enough to go around. Instead, practice with as many partners as possible.
Besides the obvious reasons of height and weight, personality, style, and experience,
the diversity of your partner's training will help you greatly in your Aikido
development. It is selfish to practice with just a certain person or persons in the class.
- As a beginner:
Uke should not resist being thrown but should practice falling/rolling at the point of
the throw. This will lessen the use of force and, therefore, the possibility of injury.
Nage, do not try to throw your uke with force. Just a little impetus can slam your
uke awfully hard onto the mat. Then when it is uke's turn to be nage, revenge may
be thought about. But this, of course, is compounding an error.
- It is permissible to tell your partner how you want to practice - soft or hard - fast or
slow. Do not baby yourself. Rather, try constantly to work more vigorously, being
soft but quick - all within reason.
- At no time make a contest out of the session. This is Aikido. We are learning
harmony, love and understanding - all of which are part of the art.
- Don't be hasty in your corrections or criticisms. An obviously weak or bad move can
be pointed out, but all questions will be answered by your instructor. Ask. It may be
that your interpretation is wrong. Then, don't be embarrassed if it is, nor gloat if you
- Also, uke, don't constantly block nage, particularly a beginner. Blocking nage leads
to frustration, force and loss of one's center (anger). An occasional resisting posture
is all right if your nage's development has reached the stage where resistance may be
beneficial. A beginner just can't handle it.
- Even if you do not agree with your partner's correction, listen. You could be
misinterpreting your instructor's intention. Right or wrong, every point of view has its
- Each teacher has a particular style. Do your best to follow as closely as possible to
whatever is being taught, regardless that you were taught the technique slightly
differently. Learn as many styles as possible so that you can develop your own.
- Frequently remind yourself to relax. Breathe.
- You will have good days and bad ones. Don't be discouraged - it is normal.
- To become a good nage, you first must become a good uke. A good uke follows any
lead. In a static position, nage leads uke. It is this lead which must be followed - no
matter how slight, and is a way of learning the direction of an attack. Learning this
way is like backing up to go forward.
- Learn ukemi (falling/rolling) because the art of falling is of utmost importance.
Should you be attacked and thrown, the danger of injury is greatly lessened.
- Occasionally, throughout the day, review one or more techniques. This can be done
entirely mentally, as if a partner were "in hand." This is a kind of mental
"programming" which is very helpful - a definite training aid. Do this often © the
more often the better. Also, if you have a place and can practice as if you had an
uke, do so, for this too is very helpful.
- You should go to summer camp, seminars, and visit other dojos. The more
diversified your training, the better.
- Bear in mind that the art of Aikido is a lifetime study. As Yamada Sensei once
wrote, "Always have a beginner's mind."
- Finally, do not take Aikido, or yourself, too seriously. When frustration sets in, it is
just another reason to quit coming to class. On the other hand, if you are "having
fun" you will develop a good attitude and learn more quickly. Enjoy your Aikido
Please e-mail us with any questions about NVA or this web site.
Design ©1998 Flashicon.
Portions of this site written by Sensei
Eugene Waddell, 5th Dan, 1911-1990.
Northern Virginia Aikikai • http://www.aikidoka.com