Goryukai Aikido Yoshinkan

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have trained in martial arts before?

Any new student is welcome to come and learn aikido, regardless of whether you are a complete beginner, or whether you have trained, or currently train in another martial art or style of aikido. If you do have previous martial arts experience, please let us know beforehand.

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Will aikido benefit my health and fitness?

Aikido is a great way to exercise both the mind and body. Over time, aikido can help to improve your strength, flexibility, stamina and overall fitness level. You may also find that aikido will improve your focus and presence of mind, as it helps to promote a relaxed state outside the dojo as well as during your training.

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Do I have to be strong and fit for aikido?

Aikido involves blending with and re-directing the attacker’s energy, rather than fighting against it, and so does not rely on the use of physical strength. It is therefore suitable for all levels of fitness. However, if you have any injuries or a medical condition that you think may affect your training, please inform Sensei Crawford so that he is aware of this during the class.

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Is it suitable for women?

Aikido is suitable for both men and women, of all ages. It is particularly suited for women because aikido relies on technique, balance and timing, rather than on strength or size. Gozo Shioda (the founder of Yoshinkan) himself was a small man, and so aikido is indeed built for those with a smaller stature.

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Where and when are classes held?

Tuesdays, 8pm - 10pm, in the dojo at the New Park Centre, New Park Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 7XY

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How much are the classes?

Classes are currently £45 a month. Weekly payments can be arranged if needed. There is also an annual insurance/licence fee of £50, to cover the risks, rights and obligations of you as the student and us (as instructor/organisation), which will be explained to you when you join.

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How do I join?

Please let us know of your interest to join, or just turn up to the class with your insurance/licence money (see above) and training clothes, and we should be able to get you started straight away.

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What do I wear?

The study of aikido is a formal one, so it is customary to wear a dogi. To begin with though, you can wear loose, comfortable clothing, until you have decided whether you would like to commit to practicing aikido. You can purchase your dogi (and subsequent belts) at a reduced rate at Ricara in South Street, Chichester - members of Goryukai receive a 10% discount.

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What can I expect in my first few classes?

The practice of aikido requires much patience - you must not expect to be taught ‘flash’ techniques straight away. Heavy emphasis is placed on stance and posture, which is practised through the repetition of kihon dosa, a set of basic movements that make up the foundation of Yoshinkan.

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Do I have to grade?

Aikido is graded using the Kyu system (rank) from 6th (yellow) to 1st (brown). After this, you will move onto the Dan (class) system, grading from 1st Dan (shodan). As with any martial art though, practicing aikido should not be about a race for a black belt. Formal gradings are generally held twice a year, but you will only be asked to grade when Sensei believes you are capable of doing so.

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I’m interested, but am not sure whether it’s for me, can I watch a class first?

Yes, of course, you are welcome to observe a class! If possible, please contact us first to let us know. We also ask that you watch the class in a respectful manner (eg please do not talk over Sensei or walk onto the training mat with shoes on).

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I have a question that is not answered on this page, who can I ask?

You’re welcome to contact us directly and we will be happy to help you!

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