Here we hope to answer all your
questions, asked and unasked, about your aikido training and dojo experience.
While the handbook is an expansion of the USAF New Student Guide, much of the
content is new and unique to this edition, drafted expressly for our students.
We want to express our deep gratitude to Yamada Shihan and the Technical
Committee members who made the original Student Guide.
There are many things when
starting Aikido that are often strange and confusing. Not being born in Japan
and raised in the dojo, it can be hard to figure out the etiquette and customs.
It can even be difficult for students who have had previous martial arts
training. The way a dojo operates may, at times, seem antiquated. You may catch
yourself wondering why we do these strange things Ė after all, weíre not in
Japan. What you learn is important, but so too is how you learn it.
Moreover, uniformity between dojo means you can attend classes elsewhere, even
join other dojo, and not have to always start over. You can attend seminars and
know what to expect, and what others expect of you. You can travel abroad, even
to Japan and Hombu Dojo and fit in. Think of the dojo culture as driving a car.
If we all know the rules, we all stay safe. Itís the one rogue car going
speeding down the wrong lane that causes the head-on collision.
We hope, through this handbook,
to provide you with the means to understand the culture and etiquette, and find
your lane. We aim to make it easier for you to practice Aikido in a safe,
respectful environment. It is meant to be a starting point into the culture, but
does not cover everything. It is also not meant to be read in one sitting, but
instead taken in pieces and digested as you near your first kyu test. And read
again later as you advance through the ranks.
We hope this answers all your
questions, even the ones you didnít know you had, and sets you well on your way
in your practice of Aikido. You may find you have questions not answered here,
or that you need more clarification. Your senior students and instructors are
always here to and happy to help guide you on your way.