How does Aikido differ from other martial arts?
Aikido was developed to be a purely self-defense art with the goal of causing minimal damage to the attacker. While we do not practice kicking and punching each other, we do teach students how to properly respond to an attack to make the training realistic. There are no katas or forms (except for some weapons) and training is hands on partner practice.
Does Aikido require a lot of strength?
No, since Aikido uses evasive movements combined with using the attacker's momentum against them, any person can find Aikido very rewarding and most importantly, effective.
What are the health benefits of Aikido?
Since Aikido does to require strength, there is very little strength training; however, the training does require endurance, increasing one's aerobic output, flexibility, and stamina. Since the use of strength can actually be detrimental to the techniques, the practitioner must learn to remain calm in all situations, even when dealing with multiple attackers. This ability to remain calm transcends the walls of the dojo and into everyday life.
Are there any competitions?
No! Since Aikido is purely self-defense, competition is not possible in the practice of Aikido . Even though Aikido is at its heart non-violent, most of the techniques can be quite dangerous, if not outright deadly if the attack has the true intent of killing or injuring the student. Because of this, if competition was allowed, some of these techniques would be forbidden, and therefore not taught.
Since there are no competitions, how does one gage their progress and proficiency?
Since we are members of the United States Aikido Federation, we use their standardized ranking system. A student will work his/her way up the "Kyu" ranks (white belt) and then be allowed to test for the "Dan" ranks (black belts). These ranks are not easy to achieve without a commitment to the practice. It takes a minimum of seven years to get to the black belt level and those levels can only be awarded by master level instructors (Shihan). For adults there are six Kyu ranks and then there are ten Dan ranks with the 10th being virtually unattainable, since it could only be given by the founder. There are top ranked instructors who have been practicing for over 30 years and have reached 6th Dan status, something that was unheard of outside of Japan until recently.
Is Aikido a religion? There seems to be a lot of ritual behavior.
No! People of all faiths are welcomed and will feel comfortable with Aikido. Aikido has held on to the Japanese rituals representing respect and honor for each through the use of traditional bowing but this is not a sign of submission or reverence.
Do you offer a beginners course? How many classes can I take?
No, we do not offer a beginners course because it is not necessary. New students will begin working out mostly with advanced students who can guide them through the techniques at their own pace. While we do have a couple of classes that are advanced and restricted to higher ranks, all other classes are open to all students. The Aikido Membership allows the student to take as many classes as they wish.
Do you have a kid's class?
Yes, kid's classes are on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 5:30. The cost of the class is $80 per month. Children 6 years old and older and welcome to attend. Around 13-14 years old it will be determined if they are ready for the adult classes.
How much does it cost to join?
Regular dues are on the "Classes" page; however, we do have an $50 introductory offer for both the adult and kids classes.
Is this dojo the same as the Aikido Center of Savannah?
Yes, in 2015 we changed our name to Savannah Aikikai.
If you have any other questions please contact Michael Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.