Beginner's Questions

OGI Aikido    Events    Philosophy    Dictionary    Forum

How do you say "aikido"?
Eye, key, dough.
Brain or brawn??
Brawn?! A mild-mannered academic like me? If you knew me well, you'd know it probably doesn't depend too much on brain either.... Actually, intellectuals seem very drawn to aikido, maybe because of its complexity and esthetic. But overintellectualizing it slows down one's learning.
If you don't mind dealing with a rank beginner....
It's a joy.
Would you consider allowing kids to participate? I have two boys, 16 and 12.
If they will be interested in a martial art where we don't hit and kick people, that's great.
Can my 9 year old boy participate?
That's a little young, though if you train with him, it's OK. Please keep in mind that much of aikido class is pairs practice, and other adults in the class may not want to spend too much time practicing with your son. That means you will mostly be his partner. It's a great father-son thing, but may slow down your own learning.
What would I need?
At first, just a good attitude and some sweats or gym shorts and t-shirt. Later, you'll want to buy a gi to wear.
Is it like Tai Chi or more geared toward marshal arts?
Very much like tai ch'i in its emphasis on internal energy, but you start with pairs practice right away in aikido, and there's a lot of falling down, getting up, falling down, getting up... By the way, that's "martial" art. Reminds me of the yellow pages ad (this is true, but it wasn't an aikido ad) where the guy promoted himself as "grandmaster world marital arts champion." Made me wonder whether it was the indoor or the outdoor championship.
Where does Aikido came from and how does it compare to other martial arts?
Aikido is from Japan. It's physical movements are descended from jujitsu and the Japanese sword arts. It differs from the martial arts you see on "Kung Fu Theater" in that the defensive arts are all throws and takedowns, not punches and kicks. Also - important for beginners - I think aikido's more fun than most similar arts, and you learn physical/mental skills you can use in everyday situations other than self-defense.
I have 6 years accumulated Aiki experience, and have had to "start over" each time I enter a new school....
My style of teaching is not to enforce a single way of doing a technique - at least, not until later. I want students to understand and be able to apply underlying principles.
I had a knee injury....
No one in my class is required to do anything they don't feel up to. Try and see what your comfort level is.
Is it good for reducing stress--relaxation? Can you burn a few calories?
Great for stress reduction. But see what George says below about the initial clumsies. You really won't get much aerobic exercise out of this until you feel confident about the basic movements, and that could take a few months.
O.K., why not, if it will not interfere with my work schedule. But I would like to know, why would you like to teach it, why at OGI, and what do you expect us to learn?
I love teaching it, it's in my blood. At OGI because we're all here, it won't interfere with MY work schedule, and university aikido clubs tend to be popular and successful. Your last question is right on target. (Question of the Week! The Daily Double!) You will learn a healthful exercise that you will be able to practice all your life (aikido does not jolt your joints; you won't have to give it up when you turn 40). You will learn effective self-defense. You will learn stress control. You will learn ways of dealing with conflict that can carry over into work and family life.
When do we train?
Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 to 7pm.
What will it cost?
Student monthly dues are $10. After a while, you will want to buy a gi for about $40, and maybe some books and/or practice weapons. Sometimes world-famous aikido instructors visit the dojos in downtown Portland for weekend seminars (totally optional for you) which run about $65.
What should I do next?
Show up at in the OGI cafeteria on Monday or Wednesday at 5:30pm or email Fred Phillips or Scott Prahl if you have further questions.
Phillips on: