“Is it the same as Karate?”
No… And by the way, Karate is just one of scores, perhaps hundreds of Eastern martial arts. It’s not famous because it is ‘better’ than the others, but thanks to the movies and organisations that have turned it into a well publicised spectator sport and big money-spinners. (By the way, if you’re looking for a wise martial Way like that shown in ‘The Karate Kid’ you might find it more in Aikido than in many modern Karate schools.) The simplistic answer is: Karate involves kicking, punching and blocking and tends to be snappy, explosive and linear. They work a lot on strengthening and hardening and strengthening the body. They often teach to tense the muscles at certain times. Karate is usually taught as either a ‘fighting art’ or as a ‘competitive sport.’ Aikido, by contrast, has almost no kicks, punches and no blocks at all. The throws and immobilisations are flowing, continuous and circular. Although practice leads to physical conditioning, the emphasis is on correct, powerful relaxation and suppleness as soft muscles are far stronger and more resilient. Aikido is definitely NOT a sport in the sense of competition for points and trophies, with winners and losers. It is practised in the spirit of honing each other’s skills and character, working together to polish each other. ‘ Neither is it a ‘fighting’ art; quite the opposite. The aim of Aikido is to replace the fighting mind with a mind that can predict danger before it happens and to develop techniques that bring violence to a swift resolution.
“Does it work?”
Of course it does – in fact, one could say “Beyond what you can imagine.”
Except that there is a problem with the question: it is very unclear what is meant by ‘work.’
Usually the question is asked by people who think that martial arts are about winning a fight by whatever means.
Aikido is not about fighting with others, nor is it concerned with victory at the cost of others. These goals may excite some people, but they are not the goals of the wise warrior.
For one thing, in a real fight there are no rules – they can happen anywhere, anytime and with more than one opponent. Furthermore, there could be weapons involved. So standing face to face with a single foe in a ring or on the street and slugging it out or wrestling on the ground is actually an artificial situation, although the combatants are undoubtedly tough fighters. The truth is though, that this skill set and attitude had little place on the feudal battlefield.
Aikido came from the Samurai arts for dealing with attacks with swords and daggers, as well as multiple attackers.
There is so much more to martial arts and especially in Aikido: it is about fostering a mind that can predict danger and remain calm and immovable in conflict.
“Can young children and older people do it? What about if I am unfit?”
Young children can and do do very well at Ki Aikido. We like children to start when they are around 7 years of age and have developed an awareness of their bodies and its parts and also spatial understandings. They also need to be able to sit still and observe and concentrate – as well as to play and have fun and MOVE! Children are actually very powerful when they can concentrate. I have shown 5 year olds to hold me down and to prevent me from lifting them off the ground!
“How much are the classes?”
This is understandably a very common question, but it is usually asked when the person does not know much about the martial arts scene and is looking for a place to start. However, it is far more important to first find out if the martial art is for you! They are not all the same and even the same style can differ depending on the instructor and people in the class. Maybe the times are not good for you, maybe the dojo is hard to get to… Price should be last on the list when it comes to an investment of your time and energy. That said, we have a range of affordable fees depending on how often you train, if you are eligible for a family discount and also on how long you are committing for. We even have concession rates for health care card holders and university students. Yes, there may be cheaper places out there if you search, but usually in life you get what you pay for. Here are some of the things that our students like about our dojo:
- Our classes are relatively small – generally anywhere from 4 to 10 students at a time, meaning you get personal instruction for your individual needs by our head instructor, who is a qualified lecturer and examiner of Ki Aikido in Japan.
- A welcoming atmosphere – you will be greeted at the door by Sensei (unless really busy!) and the other students. Our children often run up to each other. Ki Aikido has a lively, friendly, pure philosophy and part of our training is how to relate well to others! We do not compete, but seek to hone each other’s skills and characters through lively, good-hearted and robust practice.
- Mind and Body Unification – This is what is meant by ‘Ki’ – a very elusive concept, but our forte is making it available to you straight away, not after years of stabbing in the dark. ‘Ki’ is focus, confidence and grace and a whole lot more. Imagine being able to sit in front of ten people pushing on you and you remain immovable or have several strong men try to lift you off the ground to no avail? Couple that with the technical genius of the art of peace Aikido and you get ‘Ki Aikido’. You won’t be learning to become pumped up, aggressive and insensitive – in fact, just the opposite. You will become like a warrior sage of old, deeply calm, relaxed as a cat, and full of vitality. However, you will be learning with refined, modern, results-oriented methods based on fact and scientific insight.
- Authentic Ki Aikido – You will be learning under Michael Geisner Sensei, a passionate devotee to the art, who has trained directly under the Founder and his senior instructors in Japan. His formative mentor was William Reed Sensei, a long term resident of Tokyo and author of major works on Ki Aikido and Master Tohei’s illustrious life. Michael is fluent in Japanese language himself, and is an official translator for Shinichi Tohei Sensei, current President of Ki Aikido. He has also been an interpreter for several visiting Japanese masters at national seminars in Australia. Michael also weaves his insights into Japanese philosophy, history and traditional culture into his teaching, making this deeper dimension available for non-Japanese.
“Is this the right martial art for me?”
“How big are the classes?”
Good question. There are some absolutely HUGE martial arts franchises out there, sometimes with hordes of students. Perhaps their teaching quality is good, but then again Macdonalds is all over the world but the main thing that has made them flourish is their business nouse, not the quality of their food.
We, on the other hand, are a boutique dojo with about 6 – 10 people on the mat at any one time. We do not accept just anyone with a wallet, but make sure that our students truly want what we offer. This guarantees that we have classes full of people who know and encourage each other and treat each other with respect. They all really enjoy Aikido practice and learning how to use its principles for real results in their lives.
Furthermore, we have several senior students with whom you can train and they will be very calm and patient as they help you perfect your technique and hone your mind & body. Geisner Sensei oversees the training and works his way around the class, helping people at all levels of expertise with direct, personal instruction and feedback. You will even get to train with him every lesson and he is very friendly and open to discussions at the end of class. At some big franchises you’ll be lucky as a beginner if your instructor knows your name or even cares.
“How do I get started?”
- Look at our website, Facebook page for a general impression of Ki Aikido with us, then if something sparks an interest..
- Call Michael Sensei on 0425 745 780 for a small chat. He’s got some basic questions to ask you to help decide whether you should..
- Come in and participate in your first class – you’ll get to meet Michael & the other friendly students & experience Ki Aikido.
- If you want to continue with the training, Michael will give you the details on how to pay for the classes, arrange a uniform for you. If it’s not your cup of tea for whatever reason, then we say thank you and wish you well!
“How often should I attend classes?”
It is up to your level of commitment to progress and goals and your life circumstances. The important thing is to try a class first – if you want to continue, Michael Sensei will give you advice based on his personal experience and that of the students he has taught over the past ten years.
The basic answer is “at least twice a week, if you want a satisfying feeling of steady progress and to reap the deeper benefits.”
Some people come three or four times a week, others can only make it once a week.
“I’m a shift worker or have an unpredictable schedule. Can I do classes?”
Sure. We have had people like you doing Ki Aikido with us!
We have a weekend morning class as well as a variety of afternoon and evening classes.
We realise that there are folks who cannot commit to our regular training and they usually find that it is more suitable to purchase lessons that are valid for a long time so that they can come in when they’re free.
Don’t worry; if you are keen to train, we will do our best to work out a flexible package for you.
“Can I get personal coaching?”