New students are encouraged to undertake some home study of basic movements to strengthen bodies learn basic movements. This helps a more engaging participation and the developed skills at a more rapid rate. You are also encouraged to read widely. Its not onerous or particularly time consuming, just a good way to get 'up to speed' and get the most out of weekly practice.
Our art comes from the sword and many of the basic movements come from the sword. Solo sword practice at home is a good way to bed in this movement and build relaxed co-ordination of fundamental movements. Outdoors is referred because the ceiling in most homes can suffer a little from sword cuts. An alternative is to practice whilst kneeling.
1. Overhead (shomen) cut
2. cuts whilst stepping
3. adding the yokomen (side) cuts
whilst repetition is important to developing a skill so to is doing the cuts correctly. This includes keeping good posture (seichusen or centreline), holding the sword corrctly and finishing a cut correctly.
Sighting down a vertical line of something nearby can help keep the cut straight and finishing the cut before starting the next develops seishi or calm mind.
Once you have been taught some of the kata in the school these are good to practice along with Jo practice.
Some say a thousand cuts daily will build incredible aikido, we think thats going a bit far and recommend starting with just doing a few and working up to a comfortable level.
Ask a senior student or teacher at the dojo to check on progress regularly.
If you have been inactive for some time, or even if you are active through sports or gym, its important to develop strength and co-ordination for aikido related activities. The sooner your body is ready the more vigorously you will be able to participate and benefit from aikido training activities.
Ukemi [see Art of Ukemi], or the art of falling is the biggest barrier to full participation. At its most elementary level it involves the basic tumbling skills. The following exercises should only be undertaken after you have been instructed in them in the dojo and never attempted on your own
1. Ushiro Ukemi
This is the basic back roll (rock and stand) it builds core strength and enables you to receive at east 80% of the techniques in the dojo. Its also good for the spine and overall mobility
its importna tto do left and right as evenly as possible. Initiall the rlling is down the spine, but mre advanced practice you will come down on side and up the other as you stand
[insert own video here]
2. Forward ukemi
This is the forward roll we build up from a basic breathing and stretching exercise to the full standing roll. Progression beyond what you have been shown in the dojo should not be attempted at home.
Godd practice surfaces include soft carpet and grass. if practising in doors ensure that there is a good amount of space available - including if you shoot sideways a bit - furniture injury can be serious.
. See 01 The Mat is Your Friend - Systema Method for video close to what we do.
[insert own video here]
We recommend using time before class to do some rolls on the mat under the watchful eye of a senior or instructor for continued fine tuning.
Mind training - Books and videos
These are a great way to learn knowledge about the art. Early on the focus will be on techniques, latter more about the history of the art and its philosophy. Videos can be for technical instruction, looking at high level practicioners or even aikido in the movies.