What is a Dojo?

The word Dojo means "training hall". For example, the Aikido Center in Mountain View is a spacious facility, with a padded training mat, separate dressing rooms and bathrooms, and a small office.

What does Sensei mean?

Sensei is an honorific title meaning "teacher". The head of a dojo is always referred to as Sensei, and other instructors as well. O-Sensei means great teacher. In Aikido this refers to Ueshiba Sensei, the Founder of Aikido.


How do we train?

Aikido training consists of throws and falls. A class session generally works on between 3 and 5 different throws. Each person chooses a partner for a given throw. The partners take turns throwing each other four times. The person doing the throwing is called nage. The person doing the falling is called uke. Students find they learn as much from acting as uke as nage.

If I'm falling all the time, why don't I fall apart?

Students are taught from the first day how to fall safely. This is in fact one of the most important and pleasant aspects of Aikido training. We train on a layer of tumbling mats or tatami.

Must I be in good physical condition?

As with most martial arts it helps for students of Aikido to be in good physical condition. You will build up your strength and endurance over time at your own pace.

Can I be injured?

There is some risk from the throws, rolls, etc. in Aikido. However, Aikido emphasizes safety. Each student is taught to be aware his or her own, as well as partner's, ability.


How do I join?

Just arrive 15 minutes before any scheduled class. The instructor will enroll you and you can start that session. If you wish to observe a class, come at any scheduled time.

How often should I attend class?

Students are encouraged to attend classes a minimum of 2 to 3 times a week. Your monthly fees entitle you to attend an unlimited number of classes.

What can I expect when I begin classes?

A ranked person will work with you individually during your first classes to prepare you gradually until you feel ready to train with the group.

What do I wear?

Most students wear a gi. A sweatsuit or other loosely fitting cloting is acceptable if you do not have a gi. Check with your dojo to see if they are sold there.

Who are the instructors?

Aikido is under the direction of Hideki Shiohira Sensei. He currently teaches three days a week at the Mountain View Dojo, and three days a week at the San Francisco Dojo. Several of the senior students are assigned as instructors to teach classes.

Visit other web sites from our Resources page as a starting place to more extensive lists of Aikido FAQs.