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Visiting the Aikikai Honbu

by on January 12, 2014

Apologies to any readers/viewers out there, I’ve been tied up with other projects recently.

(One of the projects is something which I think might really interest some of the Texhomiki folks out there – I’m working to subtitle a 2 DVD set of instructional DVDs from Sato sensei for my original sensei Sean Flynn. I’ll be sure to put the word out when they are ready for purchase.)

So I won’t be posting much for a while now, but I did just have a brief email exchange which I thought might be of interest to other people who are thinking of visiting the Aikikai Honbu. Here’s my half of the conversation:

That’s great A.! I’m sure you’ll have a good time.

If you do make it to the Hombu I don’t think you’ll have too much of a problem. I think they are very used to having foreign students dropping in, and while there are tons of very experienced people on the mats, there were also quite a few beginners.

Assuming that you have an Aikikai yudansha book (and perhaps the ASU books are also accepted?) you will just have to pay a daily fee of $15, which you will pay at the front desk and leave off your book while you practice. If you don’t hold rank in Aikikai(/ASU?) you will likely have to pay another fee as well, but I don’t think they would turn you away.

Be sure to show up early, although if I recall, the women’s changing room is one floor below the dojo, and women seemed to get on the mat a little later then most men. People seem to pair up before practice starts and then you tend to work with the person you’re paired with for that practice. As a newbie people were very nice about coming up to me to ask to work together, and I’m sure you will find the same thing. When lining up to bow in, rank does not seem to be taken in to account (as it is in many dojos especially in Japan), so just line up next to your partner.

The instructor will usually show the technique to be practice 4 times: left, right, omote & ura, so pay attention!!

When the instructor decides to show another technique, quickly clear out of the middle and sit down. One faux pas I made that you can now avoid is: don’t have your back facing the kamidana! (Nothing big was made of it, someone just came up and shifted me over, but I was embarrassed.)

I had a great time in my 6 practices, and I’m sure you will too.

Enjoy it!

Charlie

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