View Full Version : What to expect in the beginning

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Seth Jackson
05-22-2003, 07:56 PM
I havent seen any posts here asking what a beginner should expect when they start that journey to learn Aikido. I am guessing that breakfalls would be one of the first things to start to learn. Saftey should be on the top of the list and unless you can protect yourself I wouldnt think you would be getting tossed around and dropped on your head ;)
What was the first technique you learned when you started?
How many months till you were ready to take that first test?
I know this might be thinking back many years for some of you but I thought it would be informative to people.


Mallory Wikoff
05-22-2003, 09:16 PM
The first techniques that i learned were probably things like nikyo sankyo ikyo and kotegashi. hmm first test.. probably about three months maybe a little more.

05-22-2003, 09:21 PM
If youre new to the martial arts, almost everything will feel awkward, from putting the dogi, to tying the knot, stepping barefoot in the mat and sitting in seiza for the first time (ouch!).

The first lesson is perhaps the most important one, katate tori soto tenkan, it all begins there...apparently so simple and yet so profound, I would be happy if my only achievement was to master it. As for Ukemi its always easier to begin with backward half rolls, and most people will perform ushiro and zempo ukemi after a couple of weeks, but breakfalls...

J. David Geurkink
05-22-2003, 09:24 PM
The thing that I remember most about when I started was sore muscles that I didn't even know I had. As far as techniques, tenkan is the first thing I learned after basic ukemi, and I think one of the most essential movements to know.

Mallory Wikoff
05-22-2003, 09:37 PM
The thing that I remember most about when I started was sore muscles that I didn't even know I had.
-David Geurkink

How long have you been in aikido? i have been in for almost 3 yrs, and i still have sore muscles (from ukemi), and i would like to have an idea of when i will get over them.

05-22-2003, 09:41 PM

05-23-2003, 12:55 AM
What was the first technique you learned when you started?


Seth Jackson
05-23-2003, 01:26 AM
Hows that working out for ya Bronson?


Seth Jackson
05-23-2003, 01:35 AM
Thanks to all who responded.


05-23-2003, 09:39 AM
Hows that working out for ya Bronson?

Still needs work :D


Daniel Mills
05-23-2003, 10:28 AM
*ROFL* at "Still needs work" :D

I've been training in Aikido, after doing no other martial art ever, and no physical exercise at all in about the last 6 years :)

I started on the 10th April and have been training three times a week, so roughly 5/6 hours of training a week.

The techniques listed above seem to be along the same lines as those I have learned, I have a month before my first test (29th June), my rolls are coming along nicely (as the secondary instructor commented, at nearly 400lbs, and I'm rolling.. imagine how storming ahead I'd be if I were of a smaller size! :) ), and breakfalls are simply a hysterical way to hit the floor :)

Received no formal training with them just yet, but I have a go nonetheless. I usually start with attempts at breakfalls towards the end of class when I'm getting too tired to want to roll out of techniques :D

When I began training I found that for a good few weeks everything said went in one ear and out of the other, and I regarded this as some form of preparation, just a grounding in what your body was about to be put through, then quite literally, Blam! Blam! Blam! It ALL starts coming together, you begin to remember techniques, associate those awkward Japanese names with the techniques, and then even begin doing them correctly :)

I haven't stopped aching since my first session, and have no intentions of stopping aching anytime soon.

Good luck!


Kevin Masters
05-23-2003, 01:09 PM
Hi Seth.

I'd say the first technique I learned was irimi-tenkans. Breakfalls are definitely not for beginners. I'm about 8 months into training and am sort of dipping my toes into them.

It's really important that you learn to fall right. So backrolls, half backrolls as Ignacio said, are some good first lessons. It's something you'll use throughout your training.

I think I'm ready for my first test. I definitely have the required days registered and I am confident that I would be able to do the techniques. It really depends on the individual though. YMMV as they say...

Best luck!


05-23-2003, 01:17 PM
"what a beginner should expect when they start that journey to learn Aikido"

Tenkan, Irimi, very very basic footwork. First techniques are typically very simple kokyu nages off of tenkan and irimi. I like to teach off basics, with strong emphasis on basic body movement.

Also agree with Bronson about bowing :-)

Names of techniques! that has got to be one of the hardest things for a new person to pick up.

Ukemi and more ukemi!

so much more to learn, but it's a place to start.

best wishes on this,


Daniel Mills
05-23-2003, 03:50 PM
Just to add, the techniques that my 7th kyu test will consist of are as follows:

Katate Kosa Tori Kokyunage

Katate Tori Tenkan Kokyunage

Kata Tori Ikkyo

Shomenuchi Kokyunage

Munetsuki Kotegaishi

Kokyu Dosa

Performed both sides, and that's it done with :)


05-23-2003, 05:26 PM
I have to honestly say that beginning aikido is different for everyone. I started out jumpy and frightened , but after a few weeks I was able to better tolerate physical contact.

If I remember correctly the first thing that I learned was Tenkan, followed by variations of Shihonage, Iriminage and a few others.

Break falling came into play about two months into my training when I moved up to train with the advanced class ( I started out taking a credited 1 mod class). Strangest thing is that I instinctively reverted to break falling , which made things so much easier when I was taught formally ;) It also saved me from a few bone shattering throws. (Now if I started charging for all the break falls I take when training... woo Id be bringing in some money... ;)

Dont worry about break falls. focus on your techniques and move slowly. Don't be afraid to ask questions, or to ask someone to slow down.


Who will be celebrating the

six month mark on June 13th

05-23-2003, 05:47 PM
my six month is coming up,too. and my beginning was very different. we are a small dojo and we all train together. Somebody was training for her Shodan test so we all did black-belt test techniques for my first month. when my test comes up, maybe the whole dojo will do my fifth-kyu training with me?

05-23-2003, 11:50 PM
I waited 6 months to take 5th kyu. I wanted to absorb what was being taught. Its not a race to shodan. Infact I didnt join Aikido to learn how to preform martial arts techniques. I joined to sharpen my mind,learn discipline,etc. The mental aspects that comes from hard training was what I was after.

I always felt ukemi was alot tougher and demanding then learning techniques. So I would have my seniors after class throw me until I got the ukeme right. Ukemi is the best part of training IMO

05-24-2003, 03:12 AM
Also agree with Bronson about bowing :-)

The funny thing is is that I wasn't joking. It was the very first thing I was shown and I find I still don't do it right all the time. I sometimes find myself doing the motion just to get it done without putting myself in, what I think should be, the proper frame of mind.

Like I said, still needs work.


Paul Schweer
05-24-2003, 05:53 AM
I havent seen any posts here asking what a beginner should expect when they start that journey to learn Aikido.... --Seth
Hello Seth,

You might be interested to read what Dennis Hooker had to say about this. You can find his thoughts here:

What Can I Expect? (http://www.shindai.com/articles/hooker/expect.htm)

Best to you and yours,

Paul Schweer

Khalil Yousaf
05-29-2003, 07:41 AM
My experience with throwing/falling martial arts is limited to Jitsu. First of all we learnt techniques such as wrist releases and some basic armlocks, during this time we practised ukemi-kata (forward rolls, backwards and sideways) from kneeling positions. Then we moved up to rolling from standing positions and then backwards off some poor uke's back. The first throws we learnt were the beginners' version of the Gari's (O Soto, Ko Soto, O Uchi and Ko Uchi) and the breakfall was simply a backwards breakfall from standing. However when it got to about 8 weeks of training, we were introduced to our first hip throw (Koshi Guruma - hip wheel throw) and we got hurt. Badly; hehe I'll never forget seeing my leg so bruised afterwards. Eventually we learnt how not to get hurt so much. The key was to relax(!)

More advanced forms of ukemi were kick-up and drops where you grab uke's dogi, kick up with both feet as high as you can and then drop to the floor, without hurting yourself, after two years I still found that this hurt a lot. Diving "over the belt" was fun too and we learnt that that was necessary for Kote Gaeshi, if someone decides to put one of those on you, HARD, then it's either dive to the floor or it's your wrist.

I have to say though that some of the breakfalling got stupidly dangerous and "macho" and that's one of the reasons why I stopped doing it...Forwards and backwards rolling off tables, and then doing forward drops off uke's shoulders...I thought it was a bit much...particularly as virtually all my friends who stuck with Jitsu and reached blue belt level have now had to stop due to back injuries.

I say this now because I want to take up Aikido soon and just thought that I would share my experiences in an art that incorporates throwing. Are these similar experiences to yours? I can breakfall fairly well, but I'm not jumping off any tables!



05-29-2003, 09:59 AM
I can breakfall fairly well, but I'm not jumping off any tables!
I wouldn't see a need for jumping off tables, unless you happened to be standing on one when you attacked nage :confused:

Bronson :D

Fiona D
05-30-2003, 06:44 AM

Would I be guessing correctly that your Jitsu dojo is affiliated to 'The Jitsu Foundation'? The syllabus you described sounds rather familiar to me; I've trained their style for 7 years so far, and made it up to Dark Blue belt (2nd Kyu). Must admit that a lot of the advanced ukemi scares me silly half the time; I'm not the most gymnastic of people!

I started Aikido last September when I moved to Copenhagen, and it's been interesting to compare my experiences in the two arts. Being able to take the falls already (especially if you're au fait with over-the-belt etc.) will definitely be an advantage of course, but I did notice some differences in that (i) I never did much 1-armed rolling in Jitsu and (ii) some of the directions of the throws are a little unexpected compared with the directions in related Jitsu throws (iii) backwards rolls are diagonally opposite to Jitsu backwards rolls. Glad to say I haven't seen any 'macho' 'dangerous' ukemi thus far! Several of the techniques, especially the wristlocks, are very similar, but often with a subtlely different emphasis. It's always a good idea to look at them with a completely open mind, and enjoy exploring the similarities and differences between the two styles.

Best of luck with your planned Aikido training!

Khalil Yousaf
05-31-2003, 05:42 AM
Hi Fiona,

Indeed, I am talking about "The Jitsu Foundation", and I'm glad that someone shares my sentiments about the "scary" ukemi - I'm sure that I would be able to do some of that stuff but I just thought that some of it was too much - also incorporating Maki Komi's into the syllabus is something that I think is highly dangerous...I refused to do it once as I was paired up with a lady uke who was about a foot shorter and 5 stone lighter than I am! On the whole Jitsu training is safe but I wasn't prepared to take the very real risk of hospitalising someone by landing on them immediately after a hip throw!

Still, I do miss the teachings of Sensei Jonno, he cracked me up every time he was on the mat!

The 1-armed rolling was something I encountered when I trained sometimes with the BJJA and I could never quite grasp it, I was always putting my other hand out for support, a la Jitsu Foundation...

I am looking forward to comparing the styles and think I will benefit from knowing a bit about each.