Aikido body arts classes at Athens Aikido maintain a strong connection to traditional Aikido training in Japan. At the start of class the students line up in seiza (kneeling) and the teacher sits in front and together they bow to the front (kamiza) and then to each other. These bows are a mark of respect to the founder of Aikido, past teachers, one another and the space that houses our practice. The class begins with a stretching and conditioning session led by the teacher and then students have some free time to practice ukemi (rolling and falling). Following this the teacher demonstrates a techinque on one of the students whilst the others observe before getting up to practice what they have been shown.
The Art of Aikido begins with students learning basic techniques from static grabs either of the wrist or gi (white training uniform). During this initial phase much emphasis is given to body position and how to receive techinques safely, without injury. At this stage it can feel as if ukemi is much more emphasised than learning technique. As students become more familiar with the techinques from static grabs they progress to dealing with striking attacks. The techniques in Aikido are mainly manipulation and control of the opponents joints, through avoiding the attack then controlling, striking or throwing.
Aikido is non-competitive and students strive to challenge themselves and each other through dynamic and rigorous encounters . It is a physically challenging Art demanding a high level of commitment and dedication and the benefits are limitless.