I think that while some people are correct, that most students don't go to an aikido class to learn warm ups, I think thats a very important part of any physical activity. When beginners first learn warm ups, it acts as a separator from the rest of their day, and the first(and most easily mastered) lesson. When they are outside of class, and need to stretch, they will have a nice little routine that they can do. I personally relieve a lot of tension(especially after typing) by doing the wrist stretches. Also, in mastering the stretching, you are something more of a member of the dojo- each school of martial arts I've been to has a slightly different form of stretching.
And, of course, stretching does prevent nasty injuries, and should definitely be required at the beginning of class.
As for physical conditioning, while I think that's important, I think it also might turn away a lot of students. I heard a Capoeira instructor at a workshop remark that he made his students do 1000 jumping jacks the day previous. While for some that might be exactly what they want in a physical activity, I think many people(especially those who take aikido, who are on the frail side) would not like something so strenuous. Other posters have said, and I agree- get your physical fitness outside of class. I would bicycle the 4 miles to the dojo(a large portion of that uphill) several times a week, and that kept me in pretty good shape. Ballet(if you can afford it) focuses on many of the same principals as aikido (balance, moving while centered, moving from the center, etc) and really is a good workout, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time(a whole bunch of plie's[sp?] and your calfs feel like they've been beaten by a stick the next day). Or you can just go to the gym and lift heavy things, though I never find that to be nearly as fun as an actual activity.
Last edited by Axiom : 06-24-2001 at 11:48 PM.