Twitter Facebook

London Yoshinkan Logo

  1. Events
  2. FAQs
  3. The Dojo
  4. Lineage
  5. Teachers
  6. Aikido
  7. Home
Uda garameIrimi tsukiKoshinage

DO I NEED TO BE VERY FIT BEFORE I START? 

Only a basic level of fitness is required to start training. Your fitness, flexibility and co-ordination will improve as you train more.

HOW DOES AIKIDO DIFFER FROM OTHER MARTIAL ARTS?

There are many possible answers to this question. In contrast with arts such as Karate or Tae-Kwon-do there are few kicks in Aikido. Instead, the emphasis is on dealing with whatever kind of armed or unarmed attack you may encounter by means of blended movement, unbalancing, throws and locks rather than by inflicting pain upon the attacker. Additionally Yoshinkan Aikido places great emphasis on maintaining strong posture and maximum stability - something which is easier when both feet are grounded. Equally, punches are used, not to attack a person, but to generate an opening from which to unbalance your opponent. 

HOW DOES YOSHINKAN COMPARE WITH OTHER STYLES OF AIKIDO?

All styles of Aikido are based upon the same underlying principles, and at higher levels their similarities are much greater than their differences. Having said that, Yoshinkan places less emphasis on the spiritual side of things than “Ki”-Aikido, and is distinguished by its structured teaching style in which techniques are broken-down step-by-step, with focus being placed on correct, strong, posture at each point. Other styles of Aikido focus more on fluidity in the early stages, and strength of posture later on. In Yoshinkan we aim to build strong posture first and add fluidity to the techniques as more experience is gained. Either way to become proficient in Aikido you will ultimately need to develop both aspects.

DOES AIKIDO INVOLVE GRAPPLING OR GROUNDWORK?

There is no grappling (or indeed competition of any kind) in Aikido. Specifically, there is nothing similar to the type of groundwork done in arts such as Judo or Brazilian Jujutsu. In Aikido we do however have a large repertoire of techniques which are performed from a kneeling posture (suwari-waza).

CAN AIKIDO BE USED AGAINST MULTIPLE ASSAILANTS?

Yes, this is something which is practised at higher levels.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A BLACK BELT?

Despite being asked frequently, to a large extent this question is based upon a misconception - namely that when you reach black-belt level you “know” Aikido. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth - first degree black belt literally means that you understand the technical syllabus, there is always more to learn (indeed that’s why we keep training!). To a large extent a black belt is little more than an arbitrary level. At the end of the day, what matters is your Aikido, not your grade.

DOES THAT MEAN MY AIKIDO WON’T BE EFFECTIVE FOR YEARS AND YEARS?

Whilst mastery of the many different techniques in the syllabus does indeed take years, it is worth realising that many self-defence courses are organised around basic application of Aikido principles, and that these basic ideas can be picked up much more quickly. Aikido is taught to the Tokyo Riot Police, The Metropolitan Police and British Special Forces.

DOES SIZE / WEIGHT MATTER?

No - not at all. The core of Aikido is to blend with the force and energy applied by an attacker and make use of that, not to oppose it. The founder of Yoshinkan Aikido (Gozo Shioda) weighed only 108lbs (50kg).

IS AIKIDO POPULAR WITH WOMEN?

Yes - because of the underlying principles of Aikido, larger men have no inherent advantage over smaller women, and everyone can train together.

DO YOU TRAIN WITH WEAPONS?

Aikido is primarily an unarmed martial art, but we do train with wooden weapons (sword, staff, dagger) for two reasons. First is to practice defences against armed attackers. Second is because the body movements used in Aikido have a strong relationship to the movements used whilst holding a sword, and practicing one can help the other.

IS IT SAFE?

There is always some degree of risk with any physical activity, but we place great emphasis on learning correct, safe breakfalls and our experience is that Aikido is significantly safer than common sports such as football.

HOW OFTEN ARE GRADINGS HELD?

We hold gradings two or three times a year.

DOES IT MATTER IF I FAIL A GRADING?

Not at all - simply concentrate hard on your weak areas and give it another go next time!