View Full Version : Things To Tell A New Aikido Student

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Randy Sexton
11-10-2008, 08:21 AM
It's been almost two years since I started Aikido and this website has been a great source of advice and wisdom for me. It provides great help to the new Aikidoka.
It has occurred to me that it might be nice to have a list of the best advice for the "Newbie." Short and to the point advice that will help them on their way. If you want to explain a little more in detail make a note below the main point of advice. I'll start it off with this piece of advice:

1. Show up to class on a regular basis.
(Regular attendance is crucial to learning and skipping your scheduled workouts can get to be a habit and hinder your growth. Try to be early to stretch and warmup and be open to staying a few minutes after class to cleanup and maybe pick up some pointers)

Doc:ai: :ki: :do:

Nick P.
11-10-2008, 08:37 AM
2. Its gonna hurt sometimes. Suck it up (or other enlightened advice.)
3. Watch what everyone else is doing; copy that.
4. Less talk, more practice.
5. No, your doing it wrong.
6. Yes, your doing fine.
7. It's not called "EasyDo", it's called Aikido. If it were easy, everyone would be a master.
8. Stop thinking your better than everyone else.
9. Stop thinking your worse than everyone else.
9.5 Stop thinking.
10. It's not about whooping others.
11. It's about improving yourself AND others.

11-10-2008, 10:30 AM
12. Follow the pattern until you know the technique well enough to resist - ukemi is for learning
13. You are having fun - you just don't know it yet
14. Katatedori is not Japanese for "iron hand claw of death"
15. Smile more
16. Ssshhhhhhh!

11-10-2008, 12:48 PM
17. Knee pads go up front.

Patrick Hutchinson
11-10-2008, 01:25 PM
Why are you looking over there?

11-10-2008, 01:30 PM
17. Knee pads go up front.

18. Mr. Protector goes up front too :D
19. Don't expect to fly on the first day. Second day, maybe.
20. If you do fly, "Oh Shhhiiiitttttt!" it is ok to scream like a girl. :)
21. Gi flaps: right then left. unless you are dead, then it's left then right. we expect our dead to dress properly.
22. it's ok to mark your injure spots, but it's not ok to duck taped yourself completely.
23. BREATH, unless you are dead then breathing is optional
24. it's ok to fart as long as you are keep on moving around. it helps keeping ki flow. the old timers on aikiweb can attest to this. :D
25. Don't take yourself too seriously. matter of fact, don't take anyone seriously, unless their hands are reaching for your foods or drinks, then be dead serious and give them the Seagal's stare.

I wonder if anyone going to post a new topic on practical jokes played on newbies. :D

Andrew S
11-10-2008, 02:44 PM
26. Don't fall yet, I haven't thrown you.
27. Shomen-uchi. LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
28. The blade goes this way down when you hold your bokuto.
29. Ok, now apply the nikyo lock here. Move your centre... align it with my centre... [feels slight pain] there!
30. If you try an ikkyo pin like that, I can get up easily. See?
31. Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you... much.
32. My first sensei told me "Don't hurt any cute girls... you can do what you want to the ugly ones!:D
33. You don't want to be resisting that sankyo.

Nafis Zahir
11-10-2008, 04:26 PM
1) Practice
2) Practice Again
3) Practice Some
4) Practice Over & Over
5) Practice Until It Hurts
Up to 100) Practice, Practice, Practice!

11-10-2008, 05:52 PM
34. Leave your EGO at the door.
35. Bend your knees.
36 Keep your back straight.

11-10-2008, 05:55 PM
34. Well, if you could do it perfectly, you wouldn't have to be here training, would you?
35. The right way to do it may not feel like the right way at first.
36. Stop discussing, adjusting, and preparing - just do the technique!
37. This isn't knitting class.
38. When your partner reaches to grab your wrist, don't stand there with your hand out like he's your girlfriend (or boyfriend, whatever).
39. When you tell yourself you can't do the technique or it is difficult to do, you are guaranteeing that it will be.
40. A tension-filled body is often the result of a tension-filled mind.

Eric Webber
11-10-2008, 06:50 PM
To quote some notable sayings I've heard in one fashion or another:
41. If you relax you'll live longer
43. Pain is both distasteful and largely ineffective (better to break balance).
44. You're new, you're supposed to make mistakes; just don't make them twice.

Angela Dunn
11-10-2008, 07:11 PM
44- tap when it hurts. Seriously otherwise the tori will do it harder! Or if you don't feel it tap before your hand/wrist/elbow etc looks like its going to snap.
45. Do not go on the mat with shoes on.
46. the technique is not going to work unless you move.
47. Co-operate with your partner. Especially if your working with a black belt otherwise they will find a way to make the technique work. And it won't be present.
48. Kicks belong in karate.
49. No talking when Sensei is.
50. Bow. Bow and Bow some more. Theres a lot of bowing, suck it up and learn how and when to do it.

11-10-2008, 08:49 PM
51. Your back foot is always the foot behind the foot that is in front of you.
52. Makeup doesn't belong on the mat, my gi, sensei's gi or anywhere else.
53. No, this is not swedish massage. That is upstairs.
54. No, this is not Yoga, Yoga is next door, follow the incence smell.
55. No, this is not Karate.
56. No, this is not Judo.
57. Memorise Kodo
58. Flirt with me later, I'm busy right now.
59. Do not touch anyones weapons but your own without permission.
60. Do not touch anyones weapons but your own without permission.

Andrew S
11-11-2008, 06:10 AM
61. If you just stand there trying to resist me, you're gonna get hurt.
62. I can kick you if you stand like that.
63. OK, just for tonight let's say this is your left side and this is your right.
64. Kaiten and tenkan, there IS a difference.
65. I'm NOT moving at full speed here.
66. Andrew=kind and gentle [disclaimer: I have actually used this one!]
67. Don't break uke, other people want to play with him.
68. Feeling dizzy? You'll get used to it.
69. Kobayashi Sensei's old dojo had mats that were like cement on cold mornings. So no complaining that the tatami feel hard.
70. Me? About 16 years. Just beginning, really.

Randy Sexton
11-11-2008, 06:24 AM
Love the responses!!
Excellent reminders and worthy of repeating. Keep them coming!
I see so many things that I have had to learn along the path and did not even realize that I had learned them. We all might learn a little something and I hope the "Newbies" like the advice. It might not only help them to learn; it might help keep them safe!

11-11-2008, 06:58 AM
71. If you haven't got a gi yet, wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants unless you want to get a lot of matburns.

72. Stop being awkward and stiff, I'm trying to teach you this stuff.

73. Don't anticipate techinques (i.e. don't collapse before I've actually thrown you).

74. Listen to the advice people give you, its often for your own safety. If you still choose to ignore it then its no longer our problem if you get a concussion or a broken wrist evileyes...

75. Have an open mind.

76. Don't give up, you can't expect to know everything after your first session.

77. MOST IMPORTANT: Please God WASH before you come to class, put on some deodorant or sth, and wear CLEAN clothes! Nothing is more disgusting than training in close body contact with a person who reeks of old sweat and has greasy hair!

11-11-2008, 07:03 AM
78. Always come to class ON TIME to help put down the mats (if the dojo hasnt got permanenty laid mats) or at least early enough to get changed before class starts. It is disrespectful to stumble in once the class has already started (its ok if you really couldn't help it, just don't make a habit of it):)

Dieter Haffner
11-11-2008, 07:41 AM
79. We are all students, some of us have been around a bit longer then you, that's all.
5. No, you are doing it wrong...
80. We are doing it a bit less wrong.

Shane Marcum
11-11-2008, 11:10 AM
81. Do not attempt to "spin out" when practicing shihonage waza.
82. Don't try to teach your partner, Sensei will cover that.
83. When you grab a wrist, do something with it.
84. If you're going to punch me.....PUNCH me!
85. Ikkyo waza doesn't mean "try not to go down to the mat."

Michael O'Brien
11-11-2008, 03:13 PM
86. Leave your ego off the mat.
87. Give your partner a true and spirited attack.
(You cannot help your partner by giving a 'wimpy' attack. Aikido training replicates actual physical conflict. Though it may be slower than full speed, your attack should be both true (strong grab or accurate strike), and spirited (well-centered and delivered with good posture and ki)).

11-11-2008, 03:24 PM
88. The important part of waza is not slamming uke down on the tatami.
89. Only training at the dojo is equivalent of a university student only studying during lectures.
90. Take control of your own progress.
91. One correct focused repetition is better than 100 sloppy ones.

11-11-2008, 04:13 PM
92.This is not fight club.
93.You may talk about it.
94.You may talk about it.


11-11-2008, 07:13 PM
95. Good personal hygiene makes everyone happy.

96. Understand the Japanese past and present as Aikido is a Japanese art. It will be very useful. It was for me.

97. Aikido is deceiving, it is very physical and injuries can and do happen. If your out of shape work up to being in shape. It reduces and prevents injuries.

98. Stay heart smart. If your overweight, work outside the dojo to shed those extra pounds. Aikido will be more enjoyable if you do.

Nick P.
11-11-2008, 10:16 PM
99. Fall down 99 times, get up 100
100. Love.

Randy Sexton
11-13-2008, 01:40 PM
Great advice you folks are passing on to the newbies!
I also am learning something reading the advice. I asked Jun to change the title from 100 Things since we have so much to share!
Keep 'em coming.

101. Finsih the technique you started.

(For example, If you start doing an Omote instead of an Ura then finish the Omote. The goal is not just to do the right technique but to do it smoothly and flowing. Stopping the technique saying "Wait, wrong Side" is not good form. Finish the technique you started and then do the correct technique the next time! Stopping and hesitation on the street will be dangerous!)

11-14-2008, 12:25 AM
102. While it's (initially) helpful to visualize the movements before executing them, make sure you're NOT staring at the floor, your feet, at the ceiling - in short, anywhere but your uke.

103. That is an impressive fighting stance - but this is how we stand in aikido.

Daniel Blanco
11-14-2008, 08:17 AM
Relax and enjoy the Aikido ride

11-14-2008, 10:02 AM
Take your shoes off!

11-17-2008, 01:46 AM
And your jewelry.

Randy Sexton
11-17-2008, 09:12 PM
107. Learn to roll.

Learn to roll standing, kneeling, and from seiza position.
Learn to roll forward and backward from all positions.
Stay loose and roll like a ball gracefully, flowing, silently.
Learning to roll well will help keep you safe and it's fun!!
Doc :ai: :ki: :do:

11-18-2008, 03:45 AM
109: ENJOY YOURSELF training should be enjoyment yet at the same time serious.

for me thats the first thing I mention then I work into the other 108 already mentioned

Angela Dunn
11-18-2008, 06:10 AM
109 Stop worrying about the fact I am a girl, seriously it will only serve to anoy me if you say I don't want to hurt you. Believe me I am not going to let you cause permant damage so get on with it.

110 Its your job as uke to try and hit me. Its my job as tori to avoid getting hit.

111. If someone looks like they are going to hit you then move. You don't move then you have no right to complain if the punch/strike/grasp lands.

112. RELAX! (Something I am trying to remember myself I admit.)

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-19-2008, 07:05 AM
Keep your grip strong till I tell you to let go :D

11-20-2008, 03:22 PM
I know I'm late to the party but #27 Shomen-uchi. LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
really made me smile. I have this awful habit of a. not hitting hard enough and b. hitting way off target. My sensei and the sempai will actually stand there and let me thwack them to ensure that I'm on target. :uch:

11-21-2008, 05:52 PM
113. Respect the dojo.

114. Respect the Sensei like any other teacher in a school, or leader. There is no special moral,ethical or wisdom training in Aikido to be a sensei. Sensei's shouldn't be put on pedestals. They have a responsibility to the students to be professional and respectful, etc. But not all are.

115. If you feel you are being treated poorly or purposely injured or do something you are uncomfortable doing, or a bad gut feeling about the sensei, no matter what rank or title, or popularity, or the dojo or the members, don't go back stay away and keep yourself safe. Find another dojo. This is probably the most often given advice here for many issues presented. ( besides not coming back and this goes without saying that if your are a victim of a crime or a tempted crime committed inside or outside the dojo by the sensei or the members, you should immediately contact the police like in any criminal situation. There is no psychological, moral or ethical screening,or background check, or special professional training in these areas in Aikido to become a sensei or join a dojo, also anyone can open a fraudulent dojo, calling it Aikido ).

11-21-2008, 10:43 PM
116. I know you can move me because you're stronger. But can you move me without using your strength?

Charlie Huff
11-22-2008, 07:15 PM
N+1: It's OK to move your feet.
N+2: It's OK to ask questions.

Peter Wong
11-23-2008, 06:55 AM
Pay your dues on time!!

Randy Sexton
11-25-2008, 09:14 AM
120. Go to Seminars

Seminars are a wonderful time to develop new friendships, strengthen current friendships, and expose yourself to a different Sensei who may present a different or new way of doing or looking at something that may make a light go on. Someone gave me the advice that If you go away with just one good piece of of advice or new food for thought then it is money well spent!

121. Go to an Aikido Summer or Winter Camp

I went to camp for the first time this year and I went to the Summer camp in Colorado and met so many wonderful people. I had classes from Hiroshi Ikeda, Frank Doran, and others that offered wonderful training in Aikido. I especially enjoyed meeting and having classes from Mitsugi Saotome. Go to camp!!


graham butt
12-01-2008, 04:20 PM
Try not farting during warm up. although it is funny it distracts me because i try not to laughing.

Peter Bowyer
12-02-2008, 09:52 AM
122. Attack me like you mean it. If I get hit that's my problem for failing the technique.
123. DON'T lean on or against anything! You have 2 feet to stand on and 2 knees to kneel on. If you're sore, tired, complacent...GET OFF THE MAT! (Sorry, it's a pet peeve).
124. Trust your Sensei and trust your Sampai. Our goal is not to hurt you.
125. You're here to study Aikido...do it. We respect you may have other arts, but you're not here for that. Do not practice them on the mats.

12-05-2008, 09:49 PM
126: You will always hear, "No, switch your feet. Now turn. Other way. Good, but your hand goes there."


12-12-2008, 10:27 PM
127. Stop thinking. Just do it.
128. Learn all you can about aikido. It will enrich your practice and help you to understand the things people never say.
129. Stop trying to impress me (or whoever it is you're trying to impress).:cool:

Mary Eastland
12-13-2008, 07:59 AM
130. I am so glad you are here.
131. I remember feeling really confused...it gets better.

Diane Stevenson
12-20-2008, 10:38 AM
My favorites have already been posted by Angela! Especially when the newbie is bigger than me. :D

132. Um..., my head is over here. (after a shomenuchi that lands 6 to 10 inches to my right or left)
133. No, really, you're trying to control my hand. Try to keep me from moving. (during katatatori techniques).
134. Don't worry, we'll go really slow. I promise I won't hit you... this week. :D
135. I'm really glad you came tonight (use name or make sure I leanr their name!). I hope I'll see you again next class.

Randy Sexton
12-22-2008, 04:45 PM
136. Keep Tylenol or Motrin for pain in a small bottle in your bag or car. It helps if you are feeling sore or have some ache or pain before or after class. Consider buying generic acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin) to save money.
137. Keep a box of bandaids in your bag or car. I like to keep a couple of different size bandaids in a ziplock bag in my training bag.


Andrew S
12-23-2008, 02:44 PM
138. Oh, your knees are bleeding? Use methylated spirits to clean up the stains from the mat.

Jacqueline von Arb
01-02-2009, 09:54 AM
139. So-called advanced students learn just as much from newbies (whether they know it or not) - so don't feel bad about "using up their time"
140. We are all beginners
141. Train with everybody at every practice
142. At seminars, train with everybody except students from your own dojo (do compare notes afterwards).
143. If you don't know your partner's name, present yourself. Do so at each technique until your know everybody's name.
144. Do likewise with the name of techniques, attacks, direction, etc.
145. Get yourself some zoris and keep your feet clean (whatever is brought unto the tatami with the feet, you can bet your face will be pressed into it)
146. Ditto with sweat (except use a cloth, not the zoris...)
147. Don't worry if you hear 'oh yes, that hurt good... do it again'. You'll be saying the same soon enough.
148. Helping out with the running of the dojo is part of practice
149. Pay your dues on time (even ahead of time...)
150. Outside the dojo, resist the urge to show what you've learnt - rather invite those friends to the dojo to watch or try for themselves