Aikido training is based on traditional Japanese methods, somewhat modified to suit Western culture, and some of the words and actions may seem quite strange to a first-time practitioner. The aim of the simple rituals that surround the practice are intended to clear the mind and create an atmosphere of concentration and respect suitable for learning. This also helps to avoid accidents. However, this does not mean that the training is all serious – we aim to enjoy ourselves and to practise in a friendly atmosphere.
Traditional Aikido is not competitive, which helps encourage a friendly and supportive training atmosphere. Its the responsibility of more experienced aikidoka (aikido practitioners) to help newcomers, so you will not find yourself thrown hard when you start. The training is designed to strengthen joints and muscles and improve flexibility, as well as teaching technique, so you will find yourself able to receive throws and locks as you progress. Carrying out some of the exercises at home in between training sessions will help.