Edmonton Aikikai - Strathcona Community Center - 10139 87 Avenue Northwest - Edmonton

Watching a class:

Please observe the following rules of etiquette:

Your first class:

What to expect:

You will be faced with a lot of new material. Don't worry, we all had to start somewhere! You can prepare by reading this page and having a glance at some terms. Sensei pays special attention to beginners and you will receive clear instructions during the exercises. Aikido is not a race, so take your time and your patient study will pay off.

What to bring:


  • Wear comfortable clothing that allow for freedom of movement. (Sweat pants / track pants and a t-shirt are fine).
  • Avoid clothing that can catch on wayward limbs as this may lead to unfortunate injury.


  • Your own weapons are not immediately required. Either Sensei or one of the other students will usually have spares on hand for beginners.
  • If you already have your own weapons but are not sure if they can be used, please check with Sensei before class.

General Manners:

Please be punctual. When you come earlier, do warm-up exercises or practice by yourself or with others until Sensei comes. If you happen to be late, it is appropriate to ask permission from the instructor before entering the mat area (tatami). While you practice, always be alert. Careless practice causes accidents and injury, and does not help you or your partner. Leave socializing until after class, so as not to waste time or distract people during practice. It is even more important to observe well than to listen in Aikido, as you are learning movement, not mathematics. Do not hesitate to let your partner and Sensei know when you cannot continue to practice for any reason. When you really need a short rest, bow to your partner and sit quietly at the side of the tatami and watch the class. Your body belongs to you and nobody else, so take care of it and prevent accidents. If you must leave the tatami, notify Sensei before leaving.

For safety and comfort, keep your toe and finger nails trimmed, remove all jewelry, and empty your bladder before class. Most people will find they cannot eat a regular meal just before class and still do break falls. Keep your uniform clean, and if you sweat a lot, bring a towel or cloth to class. Do not drink water in the middle of practice; it is neither healthy nor polite.

In order to keep the tatami clean, always put on some footwear to wear on the way from the change rooms to the dojo, so that you will not track dirt from the halls onto the tatami. A simple pair of sandals will do nicely. Do not wear shoes on the tatami. If you arrive early and notice dirt on the tatami, get a broom or mop and clean it up. It is customary to wash the mats prior to training seminars. If the mats are in disorder, (have gaps between them, etc.), push them together to prevent injuries during practice.

If you have to leave before a practice is scheduled to end, inform Sensei ahead of time and follow appropriate rei when leaving the mat area. Much can be learned even just watching a practice, so if you for some reason cannot practice, feel free to come by and watch.

Dress Code:

Dress code requirements stipulate that a hakama can be worn only by a person of Shodan or higher at sanctioned CAF events. Individual clubs may set their own rules. In the past the Edmonton Aikikai allowed women of kyu rank and sempai who were instructing class to wear hakama. Currently only black belts have hakama. Brown belts were introduced and are worn by persons of 1st and 2nd Kyu. Blue belts have not been issued in our club but are recognized by the CAF for 3rd and 4th Kyu.


When practicing with your partner, keep in mind that Aikido is the way of harmony of energy (spirit). That means you should always aim at joining with your partner's energy when you lead and direct your partner as well as when it is your turn to follow your partner's lead. Do not resist your partner unduly, thus breaking their flow of ki. It is very frustrating to learn under such circumstances, and it does neither of you any good. Especially beginning students have to go through the motions many times before they can get a feeling for the flow of ki, and it is of no use to stop that process through resisting. On the other hand, you should avoid anticipating your partner's motion. Just follow their lead. This is almost as difficult as leading yourself, and very good practice in itself.

When it is your turn to be thrown, make sure that your attack is committed and a serious one because it is difficult and also senseless to apply a defense technique against a half-hearted, lukewarm attack. You are not supposed to hurt your partner, but you have to put your mind, i.e. ki, into the attack. In general, it can be said that the harder the attack, the harder the fall will be. Therefore you should adjust the force of your attack to your ability to take ukemi (the fall).

All of this is necessary to practice in harmony. Avoid talking. Aikido is movement.