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33155 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 525-6260


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In Aikido, as in piano practice or anything else, you learn what you practice.  Practicing too fast skips over mistakes – mistakes which you are practicing and learning.  Take the time to explore and practice slow.  Speed comes with familiarity and, in the long run, you will learn Aikido much faster and more correctly by practicing slower.


Half of a student’s time on the mat is as nage, the person who performs the technique.  The other half of a student’s time on the mat is as an uke, giving an attack and receiving the technique.  Being an uke is NOT just a waiting time until it is your “turn” to be nage.  Rather, it is a time to learn how a technique feels so that you can do it better; it is a time to improve your ability to take harder and faster techniques as your skills improve; it is a time to look for openings in your partner’s technique as you would look at yourself in a mirror.  Students who think of being a uke only as a way to practice their rolling or falling are wasting much of their time on the mat.

Particularly when attacking slowly, take this opportunity to practice and learn the attack.  Just because Aikido is not aggressive/offensive/competitive, does not mean that we shouldn’t take the time to learn how to attack.  Even if only to be able to deliver better attacks to more advanced students, you should take this time to practice these techniques.  A slowly delivered strike is much like strikes in Tai Chi.


Aikido is, among other things, a study in movement and balance.  It is a mutual exploration by both uke and nage of how bodies move and the relationship of two connected bodies.  As both uke and nage, try to figure out what is really happening and not just go through the motions. Look for the principle behind the form.


Be considerate by coming to class on time.  Sit down on the mat a few minutes before class starts and begin breathing exercises in order to clear your mind of everything but Aikido.

Go the bathroom before class starts so that you will not need to interrupt the class, or your own training.  When class is in session, always ask the instructor for permission before leaving the mat area ‑ for any reason.

Step onto the mat with clean, bare feet only...never with shoes on.

Keep your gi and body clean.  Smelly clothing or body odor will make you an unwelcome practice partner.

Train with courtesy and never be rude.  When you offer advice to your partner, realize that you are also a student and may not fully understand his/her difficulty.  Request advice from the instructor if necessary.


Bowing is a Japanese sign of respect.  In general, the rule of thumb is "when in doubt, bow."  A kneeling bow is more formal than a standing bow.

Bow to the front of the mat area (the Shomen) whenever entering or leaving the mat area.  In most dojos, there is a photograph of Ueshiba O-Sensei at the Shomen, and we bow to O-Sensei to thank him for developing the Aikido so that we can practice.

Bow to the instructor after receiving instruction about a particular  point.

Bow, with the entire class, to the Shomen (front of the training area) and then to the instructor, at the start and the end of each class.

Bow to each partner you train with, before and after working with them.  Also, bow to each person you trained with when the class is completely over, to thank them for helping you.

If you are late to class, warm up off of the mat first, and then perform a kneeling bow to the front of the room as you enter the mat area.  Then remain kneeling until the instructor gives you permission to join the class.