Many women worry about starting a martial art.
No need to worry!
Aikido is different from other martial arts, female black belts are not unusual.
There have been many high ranking females in the BKAA over the years.
Aikido is ideal for women.
It's a "no strength", "non-violent", self defence.
Effective against bigger, stronger opponents.
It has a long history of female involvement.
O'Sensei (the founder) was a deeply religious man and his creation of Aikido was based on his Omoto kyo belief.
Omoto kyo was a modern religion in Japan. It's core beliefs based on the spritual visions of its founder, the woman Nao Deguchi !
In fact , to this day the spiritual leaders of Omoto kyo have always been female.
It's understandable why the founder of Aikido paid no particular attention to the gender of his students.
Males and females have always trained side by side.
Wouldn't it be great!
To be healthier, fitter and more flexible.
To be truly confident and to know how to defend yourself, no matter what size of the attacker.
To make lasting friendships and be part of the dojo community.
To develop as an individual, having greater ability and improving your self-image.
Developing courage, discipline and focus (inside and outside the dojo).
To discover, the beauty, grace and greatness of Japanese Budo culture.
Popular images of sweating, grabbing and hitting is very off-putting.
Aikido is not wrestling!
Aikido is not known as a struggle on the ground.
We never hit each other!
At first we practice simple strikes very slowly, without touching.
In time we learn to avoid them safely, then we can practice more realistically.
Safety is our main concern.
Our instructors have a duty of care to the students.
Currently we run dojos in schools, community centres and sports centres.
All are clean and meet council health and safety standards.
Can I practice Aikido and still remain feminine ?
There are many schools of Aikido, but all are known for the flowing and efficient movement.
Almost a dance!
In fact there are strong similarities between Aikido and a powerful, graceful dance.
As for the standard training uniform, it is designed for functionality.
But, there are some companies that make uniforms specially tailored for females.
Starting of as a novice in a room full of experienced people is daunting!
Being the new beginner at anything takes bravery.
It said in martial arts "the white belt is the most difficult to achieve".
We must put aside out fears and ego and accept ourselves as beginners.
You will be welcomed and not judged.
You don't even have to be fit to start.
We start very slowly and improve at your pace.
Normally beginners are taught the very basics by a senior student.
However, if you're very worried you may be able to organise a private class to overcome this.
Men are stronger, how can a female be equal in that environment?
Aikido does not rely on strength.
This a the main principle of Aikido.
Knowledge, distance, timing, accuracy and sensitivity are the skills needed to be proficient at this art.
The techniques require little strength.
So all students, regardless of age, size or gender, are expected to perform to the best of their own ability.
Still, if their are enough female participants you may be paired with other females for certain exercises, but not for all..
It's all too competitive, it's all about winning?
There are no competitions in our dojos!
No trophies to be won!
No person to be defeated!
No body to be better than (except yourself)!.
Health and fitness; confidence, self defence and community all develop with time.
Isn't Aikido "fighting"?
Fighting means hitting another person and being hit.
Really nobody wants to be damaged (in a real fight or in training).
What makes Aikido unique is we seek to control our opponent safely, without damaging them.
Is it a self defence?
It is true self defence.
This is unique in martial arts philosophy and purpose.
Clean and efficient when done well!
To keep yourself safe; to control your opponent; to restrain them (or send them on their way) without injury is laudable!
But, it's not easy, hurting people is easier!
But, to control them safely, without risk to yourself takes great skill and training.
Aikido clubs are very social
Practising Aikido creates great friendships.
We take turns as attacker and defender. This creates feelings of equality between participants.
Most clubs are a quite social, becoming friends and having gatherings outside of the dojo as well.
Remember you can practice all across the world with the Aikido community.
The giving and receiving of techniques creates confidence.
Which appears as trust. Trust in ourselves and in others.
It's a "Light Aerobic" activity!
Classes can vary; but most classes will have a warm-up containing mobilization, warming and stretching.
The activity of a class is be decided by the instructor.
A class normally contains controlled movement and safe rolling. all of which is taught to beginners.
One you become proficient at these, classes become more challenging.
As the pace speeds up so will your heart rate.
Will I be the only female in the class?
You maybe the first, but not the last!
Some dojos will currently have female members some won't!
There is a shortage of females in martial arts in general. ("Tai chi" and "Naginatado" being exceptions).
If you're smaller, then bigger people should be more careful whether you're male or female.
But you will not be treated any differently because you're a female.
You'll do the same exercises. You will be called to help demonstrate.
And be given the same respect and responsibilities that your experience or rank merit.
Remember, until you start; every other female that arrives will think "there are no females in the class".
So, why not be the first?
Eventually this becomes unimportant. Everyone is judged on their character.
And when you become the instructor, male and female students will sit and listen while you demonstrate.
So, go for it!
If you have any other questions please speak to an instructor!
All the contact details are in the our dojos page!