To begin the study of Aikido is to begin a long and exciting journey with yourself and the art. As you progress, the journey may take a different path, which will reflect the changing of your goals over time.
Long term practice
Like any art, it requires dedication and persistence in order for you to gain maximum benefit from it. There will be times when it feels like you are not progressing or indeed, that it feels like you are going backwards, but to push through these periods and continue training will go towards your personal development. It is a journey that can last a lifetime, as you can constantly hone your skills and learn about yourself whilst in an environment which encourages and allows this to occur.
Aikido Shudokan emphasises the basics in order to develop a strong foundation, which takes time to build but allows a student to progress more easily when they reach an advanced level. In addition, your goals will evolve over time, and as this happens, your journey changes direction but the growth obtained through studying the art continues. As such, anyone can learn Aikido as each individual’s goals are different and Aikido allows for this.
Stages of Mastery
SHU – learning stage, Year 3-6 (blackbelt usually attained in this time)
HA – breaking the form, learning how it works, beginning to apply it naturally, Year 6-10
RI – moving away from the form, approaching true mastery, Year 20 +
Shudokan Belt System:
Students of Aikido are ranked by experience and skill. A beginner starts at 8th kyu (8th rank) and gradually makes their way to 1st kyu. The next level up is ‘shodan’ or the first level when the student is no longer a beginner. At this time the student is awarded their black belt.
Attributes to Develop as a Student
Junanshin (flexibility of mind) which is composed of patience, trust, humility, a supple mind and openness.
Mushin (no mind) refers to an inner emptiness, which is what is left after eliminating the unnecessary as created by the ego.
Focus, to stay present in the moment and disregard any distractions.
Mixing & Matching
Most competent martial artists agree, it is best to become grounded in one art before adding more. There are strengths and weaknesses in all martial arts but it is best to learn one very well and understand it before supplementing it with other arts.
Some arts are incompatible, choose carefully.
Gradings At the Shudokan
For each grading at the Shudokan, students must learn and memorise a series of techniques, including basic movements (Kihon Dosa) basic techniques (Kihon Waza). As you progress through the levels the level to which you are expected to perform the techniques lifts, and there is the addition of self-defense (Goshin Jitsu) free-style techniques (Jiyuwaza) sword Kata (Aiki-Ken) weapons work (Bokken-dori Jiyuwaza, Tanto-dori jiyuwaza) and multiple attacker jiyuwaza (Futari-dori, San nin-dori).
The Syllabi change yearly, and are downloadable in pdf form from this page.