Information for New Students

What is Aikido?

The name Aikido is composed of three Japanese words: ai, meaning harmony; ki, spirit or energy; and do, the path, system or way. Aikido is the way of the spirit of harmony -- it is a martial art. Martial arts are studied for self-defense and self-improvement, but Aikido differs from other martial arts in that practitioners seek to defend themselves without causing injury to their attackers. Aikido is also considered an internal art that cultivates energy, relaxation, meditation, proper breathing principles, and healing. [Read More About Aikido]

How to get started

Phase 1: At Home

  1. If you are interested in taking Aikido be sure to register or, if registration is closed contact us.
  2. Familiarize yourself with Dojo Etiquette.
  3. Prepare for your first visit


Phase 2: Prepare for your first visit

I. What to wear

  • A white gi, if you already have one; if not, wear a relatively loose t-shirt and full length workout or yoga pants; long pants will help protect you from mat burn. Be prepared to remove all jewelry and all exposed piercings. No jeans please. Locker rooms are available for changing into practice wear.
  • No shoes or socks are worn on the mats; however, walking barefoot from the locker rooms to the practice room is strongly discouraged.


II. What to bring

  • Bring a water bottle so you can keep hydrated; the dojo tends to be warm during practice.


III. Where to Park

  • Anyone may park in the Prices Hall lot at the intersection of West Campus and Drillfield Drive after 5 p.m.; this lot is a 15 minute walk from the gym.
  • Non-VT staff and students must obtain a parking pass to park in front of the gym on the Drillfield. Find out how to obtain a visitor pass here or apply for a visitor pass.


IV. When to arrive (and other parking options)

  • Please arrive at the Dance Room least 15 minutes early so you can meet the instructor, and sign the “Assumption of Risk” waiver form.


Phase 3: In Class - What to Expect

Our Aikido class begins with stretching. We also practice ukemi, the art of rolling, responsiveness, and falling. Then we work on conditioning and movement that leads to a variety of applied techniques. Our Aikido classes are specifically designed to get students a vigorous workout and enhance flexibility. In all classes safety is always emphasized. Classes typically begin and conclude with a few minutes of individual or partnered meditation.


Phase 4: After Class

  • All class dues are collected during the 2nd week of classes, when class open enrollment closes. Dues for New Members are as follows:

Student: $100 first year only; $140.00 second year

Community: $100 first semester only; $150.00 second semester

*An Aikido uniform (dogi) is required ($40); dogi are purchased at the first class, as they take two (2) weeks to arrive. There may also be sets available for loan during the semester - get in touch for more information.


Read more about our dojo or check out other Frequently Asked Questions.

See you on the mat!