Frequently Asked Questions

This page answers our most frequently asked questions about practicing aikido with us. Get in touch if you need more information about coming to our aikido classes.

How much does it costs to train?

There are two main components in the cost of training Aikido with us: mat fees (class costs), which range from £4 to £5 per session, and an annual club membership, which ranges from £20 to £35 per year.  These are explained in more detail below. However, your first practice is free!

When and where do you practice?

We have three aikido classes per week.  These are adults’ classes and take place in Glasgow’s city centre and west-end. Check out our Dojos page for venue addresses and practice times.

Do I have to attend all classes?

No. You choose which classes you want to attend and how often. However, the more you train the more you’ll learn.

Sensei McGill guiding a student through weapons practice

Can beginners come to any class?

Yes. Beginners are welcome to attend any of our aikido classes as we do not have a separate beginners’ class.  This means you will benefit from the help and guidance of other, more experienced members as you learn aikido with us.

What is a typical class like?

One of our typical aikido classes last one and half to two hours and will follow the following structure:

  • We start with some quick warm up exercises. These will be stretches, basic foot work and rolls etc. All exercises will be easy to follow as demonstrated by the sensei (aikido instructor taking the class). The sensei may also include some general points about aikido for beginners.
  • The sensei will then demonstrate a technique to the class which they will then try with a partner. Usually, the pair take turns applying and receiving the technique, having four tries each before swapping. During this time, you will be guided through the technique at your own pace and level by your partner or by the sensei taking the class.
  • After an appropriate length of time trying the technique, the sensei will get everyone in the class to sit down and watch while they demonstrate the next technique.
  • This cycle is then repeated for the rest of the class.
  • Their will usually be a brief cool down period before the class ends.

What clothing do I need to train?

A clean t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms or similar. If you keep training, you may wish to consider buying an aikido gi (aikido training suit), although many of us wear judo gi. They cost between £20 and £40.

Aikido student during weapons practice

Do I need to buy all the weapons?

No, not at the start. We have spares which you can borrow initially. However, if you keep training then it would be advisable to buy your own weapons. A Jo (staff) starts at around £10 and a really good bokken (wooden aikido training sword) will cost around £30. Ask the instructors for advice on what weapons to get for your aikido weapons training.

What are the annual membership costs?

To train with us you need to be a member or temporary member of the Komyokan Aikido Association (KAA).  This includes martial arts’ insurance.

  • If you’re new to Aikido, or to our club, you’ll need to take out temporary membership to the KAA, which lasts 8 weeks. Temporary membership costs £6 for concessions (student/unwaged seniors) and £11 for waged seniors. Please pay your temporary membership before you begin your first class.
  • After the initial 8 weeks you will be required to become a full member, which costs an additional £14 for student/unwaged seniors and £24 for waged seniors.

This is equivalent to an annual membership of £20 for student/unwaged seniors and £35 for waged seniors. Full membership lasts for 1 year, includes martial arts’ insurance.

How much does an aikido class cost?

  • Student/unwaged seniors pay £4 per class or £20 for a monthly pass (for three regular classes per week)
  • Waged seniors pay £5 per class or £30 for a monthly pass (for three regular classes per week)

Mat fees are paid at the beginning of each class and monthly passes paid in advance at the beginning of the month. If you are new to Aikido, the first class is free and subsequent ones are as detailed above.

Do I have to be a Glasgow Caledonian University student to attend classes there?

No. Our classes at Glasgow Caledonian University are open to everyone.

Aikido weapons class

What about gradings?

You begin at mu kyu (un-graded). After training for a while and with your Sensei’s permission, you can then sit a grading for 6th kyu. If you pass your grading, you then repeat the process, progressing up the grades to 1st kyu. After that you move into the dan (black belt) grades. In order to grade with our aikido club, you must be a member of the KAA. However, it is entirely up to you if you want to go for a grading or not.

All kyu grades wear a white belt, in our aikido association we do not use coloured belts. Dan grades wear a black belt with the traditional hakama. The hakama is a pair of large, pleated trousers worn over the suit.

I am a member of another Aikido association:  Can I train with you?

Of course. Just bring proof that you have martial arts’ insurance to the first class.  You may also wish to seek permission from your current instructor(s).

What does aikido mean?

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art which is used for self-defence and self-improvement.  Aikido techniques seek the non-destructive resolution of conflict. Aikido was founded by o sensei Morihei Ueshiba in 1942 from the culmination of his extensive martial arts experience allied with his philosophical ideologies. 

What else do I need to know?

Whilst the above pretty much covers it, you’re encouraged to familiarise yourself with and follow basic Aikido etiquette and if you have any questions we’ve not answered, please get in touch.

Weapons practice (bokken) with Sensei McGill.