The best way to find out what the martial art of Tomiki / Shodokan Aikido; and what Sport Aikido is all about is to sign up for a month and give it a go. Places are limited so please call 085 729 6643 or contact us via the DTA facebook page to check on availablilty if you are interested.
Regular martial arts classes are held in the Belgard Community Centre (opposite the Luas Belgard stop). We recommend that you arrive for your first class at least 30 minutes early so you can meet the Instructor and get registered.
7:30pm - 9:30pm
7:30pm - 9:30pm
If you already have a Judo or Karate suit then bring it with you. If you don't, you can wear any loose-fitting clothing such as tracksuit bottoms and a sweatshirt. Long hair should be tied back and all jewellery removed before stepping onto the mat. As you will be training barefoot we recommend that you bring flip-flops to wear from the changing area to the training area to minimise dirt and unpleasant bacteria being brought onto the training mats.
The main thing is to come in and introduce yourself to the instructor. If in doubt just say hello to a classmate and they will point you in the right direction. You will find our members very friendly and keen to welcome newcomers. You can bring your shoes, bag, coat, and any other bits and pieces into the hall. Please put your mobile phone on silent.
Once the formal start is signalled by the instructor, all students line up facing the "shomen" (front wall of the dojo) in grade order with lowest rank nearest to the main door. Instructors will line up facing you, again in rank order, lowest grade nearest the door.
The class instructor (Sensei) or a senior student (Senpai) will shout out a few Japanese instructions beginning with "seiza", meaning all students should adopt the traditional Japanese sitting position (kneeling). Shortly after, they will call "mokuso" (meditation) to indicate that all students should close their eyes and try to calm their mind, the purpose of which is to allow each student to eliminate outside world concerns before starting. "Mokuso yame" is the signal to stop meditation and open one's eyes again. "Shomen" or "Shomen-ni-rei" signals for all to face forward toward the front of the dojo where a picture of the founder(s) is often displayed. "Rei" signals for all present to show respect to the founder by bowing. (Bowing is a Japanese cultural practice to show mutual respect between elders, teachers, and students. It is in no way intended to be demeaning or have any religious context). "Sensei-ni-rei", means bow to the teacher and finally "otagai-ni-rei" bow to fellow students completes the formal starting ritual.
If you get lost at any point, just follow someone next to you. Don't worry! we all found this Japanese dojo etiquette a bit strange at the start. No-one will laugh at you, and the instructor will explain clearly and in more detail what to do if there are any new students present.
A few additional Japanese words you will hear during each class are:"
We spend a little while getting warmed up. We often start by lightly jogging around the mat to get the heart pumping faster, nothing too strenuous. We then spend a couple of minutes warming up joints - Not stretching, just moving each joint to the natural limit of movement, so that it is nice and loose and ready for practice. Follow the instructor or someone next to you if you are unsure of any exercise.
Next up, we normally loosen up the wrists with several specific stretching exercises. Because Aikido techniques often involve wrist and arm locks, we stretch the wrists out beforehand so that when the techniques are applied, we are better prepared to receive them. Don't worry, some of these exercises do involve some weird grasps and manipulation of your hands and arms, someone will come and show you exactly what to do.
To complete the warm-up we sometimes do some basic fitness exercises such as sit-ups, squats etc. Don't worry if you can't do everything, only do what you can. Stop for a breather if needed. Your stamina will improve in time.
In Aikido, we spend a lot of time receiving technique, falling to the mat and getting back up. We have specific ways of receiving technique and falling to avoid injury and which allows us to practice on each other again and again. You will be shown the basics so you can start to train safely. During practice, your partners will be aware of your abilities and will take great care not to be forceful or injure you in any way.
Once you are loose and warm, we get on to the meat of the session. The Sensei (teacher) will demonstrate a principle, drill or technique - typically using one of the more experienced students.
Everyone splits up into pairs, and you spend the next couple of minutes trying to work out which way up your hands are supposed to be before you start, and you realise that the technique has more to it than might first have appeared. After another minute or so, the Sensei will come over and show you again how to improve your technique - and you just start to get the idea when they call everyone back to look at the next technique.
After a few more techniques, all seemingly easy but with hidden complexities that mean you end up facing the other way - or holding the wrong arm - you find a technique which you can do! When you grab here, step just there, twist the wrist like so, and apply pressure like that - and this is the point at which you realise that Aikido is a sophisticated art that can be very effective.
All too quickly, we all line up again and looking at the clock, you realise two hours have slipped by - it doesn't seem like it!. After a couple of bows, you make your way off the mat (bowing finally to the mat as you step off). Before we get changed we put the mats back in the storeroom (everybody is expected to give a hand regardless of rank). When all is done, you start putting your shoes and socks back on, feeling warm and slightly tired - but feeling like you've really experienced something different and intriguing. Hopefully, you would have had some fun and will want to come back for more!
€100 per month
You can pay for your first month with cash when you sign up. After that classes are paid for monthly in advance. Classes are 2 hours in length, held twice per week, so your monthly fee represents good value (approx €6 per hour). A subsidised rate of €60 per month is available for full-time academic students and those unemployed. On average one month's attendance equates to 16 hours of training. In some months, additional sessions may be organised for those preparing for competition. There is no annual contract or long term financial commitment imposed. However, we ask that you provide one month's notice if you intend to take a break.
You do not have to buy a training uniform (dogi) until after your first grading, however, you will find that the sooner you get one, the quicker you will feel part of the club and the more comfortable your training will be. We recommend you purchase a lightweight judo suit rather than a karate suit as the jacket and trousers of a judo suit are stronger and able to better withstand grabbing, pulling and contact with the mat.
If you have any questions please call the number on the top of the page or message us via the DTA facebook page and we will get right back to you.
It's important to take into account that our club is run exclusively by volunteers during their personal time on a totally not-for-profit basis. Your subs go towards the expense of running the club; i.e. hall rental, Instructor Insurance, IMAC compliance and equipment purchase (mats) and maintenance. Your first month's subs can be paid in cash, however, thereafter monthly subs must be paid via SUBSNINJA.COM (our Club Managment software platform).
When your first month trail has come to an end you will receive an email via SUBSNINJA.COM inviting you to enter credit/debit card details for monthly billing. Your first card payment will be taken at that time and thereafter on the 1st of every subsequent month.
We really appreciate your consideration in this matter as it helps greatly to reduce admin overhead and keep the club running smoothly.
For the first month, you'll be covered by the club's general insurance. To continue to train after the first month you must become a member of the British Aikido Association (BAA), the association to which our club is formally affiliated. Adult membership of the BAA is £35 per annum and this should be paid directly to the BAA. Membership of the BAA entitles our members to access Seminars, Official BAA/JAA grading events as well as subsidised insurance coverage for our members.
You can pay your BAA membership annual dues to the BAA directly by Bank Transfer (BACS) to:-
as a Mature Student
Aikido Uniform / training suit
Adult 7th- 1st Kyu, 1st - 7th Dan
Self Defense, Competition and Fun!
Using non-aggressive, joint-locks, holds and pins