New Member FAQ

Here are some questions that the club often receives from those who have just begun or are looking to begin Aikido training. If you have a question which is not answered here, please contact us.

What is Aikido?

Aikido (合気道) is a modern Japanese martial art which emphasizes blending and redirecting the force of an opponent’s attack. Techniques taught are primarily defensive, and include a variety of joint locks and timing throws. Students practice both against unarmed opponents and with traditional martial arts weapons.

Aikido can be roughly translated as “the way of unifying life energy.”

Click here for a more in-depth explanation of the history and principles of Aikido.

What do I need to begin training?

  • If you do not own a keikogi, we recommend comfortable clothing for your first handful of practices. A t-shirt and sweatpants will do just fine. If you decide to continue with Aikido, keikogis can be purchased from the club at a discounted price.

  • The club requires all members to sign the Cornell athletics liability waiver before they can begin practice. It is not strictly necessary to fill out a waiver ahead of time, you can also get one at practice.

  • Make sure you have read the rules for Aikido practice. In particular, an optimistic attitude and an open mind are essential for creating the “pleasant and joyful atmosphere” that O-Sensei requires for Aikido practice.

It’s halfway through the semester. Is it too late to join?

No! We accept new members at any time. Additionally, because the majority of Aikido practice is done in pairs, it is usually the case that one member of the pair is more experienced than the other. The senior student always adjusts to the level of the junior student. This makes it possible to begin practice at any time at an intensity suitable for you and to immediately benefit from the experience of your peers. If you are looking to begin practice during finals week or outside of the semester, please check the announcements for possible schedule changes.

I am concerned that I will not be able to balance Aikido with my other activities. What’s the time committment?

As a university club, we understand that our members become extremely busy during the course of the semester. While we believe that Aikido practice usually gives back more energy than it takes, we know that sometimes members must devote themselves fulltime to their studies. This is as it should be. We’ll still be around when your crunch is over. If you miss a few classes, or a few weeks, or whatever - don’t worry about it. If you enjoyed practice, and want to come back, just come back.