classes

  

    

Children

Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 4:15-5:15 pm:

        The aims of the children and young adult (7-16 years old) program at Big Sky Aikido are the introduction of the most important aikido movements (tai sabaki), learning about how to take or maintain one's balance, practicing basic Japanese expressions related to training, and to raise awareness about powerful, yet non-aggressive resolutions of conflicts. Every other month, the students are given an opportunity to demonstrate their martial art in a formal examination.

Beginner

Thursday 7:40 pm Beginner class

        The beginners class introduces the basic concepts and movements of Aikido. Students will learn a number of foundation techniques from an array of attacks. In addition to defensive techniques, methods of receiving techniques (ukemi) is emphasized.
       This class runs for eight weeks, but students can join at any time. The course cost is $85 and students attend classes until they have been exposed to the basic techniques and etiquette. Attendance is recorded and basic understanding of techniques is required before moving to general classes.
Here are some hints for what beginners need coming to their first class:

  • Come at least 15 minutes early to fill out the registration form
  • Wear loose clothing (sweats and a t-shirt)
  • Training uniforms (dogi) are also available to purchase
  • Remember - always train with joy!
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    General

    Monday 6:00 pm, Tuesday 6:30 pm, Wednesday 6:00 pm, Saturday 8:15 am

            Unlike the other classes where a step-by-step teaching and learning sequence is emphasized and followed, the general class' learning philosophy rests in "doing aikido" -- the emphasis is on the student being able to "see" the teacher performing any number of techniques in his or her art and then repeating or "copying" those techniques from the teacher. In addition, during the general class the student is encouraged to gain an understanding of the essence of the art to the best of the their abilities. This process allows the student to conceptualize the possibilities, which exist at any one particular moment in time. The general classes, by design, are less structured with regards how the student performs a technique but are focused on continuous movement and the tapestry of the art itself.

    Weapons

    Thursday 6:30-7:30pm

            The movements of Aikido are based upon swordwork. Training with the weapons of Aikido, wooden sword (bokken), staff (jo) and knife (tanto) increases the students' awareness of timing and distance. We do not study the life-taking sword (satsu jin ken), rather, the principle of katsu jin ken (life giving sword) is the focus. Training in this manner develops a higher level of compassion, as there is always the possibility of causing injury to your training partner. Weapons are great equalizers, and individuals who are used to relying upon muscular strength suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage if their musculature is engaged. While bokken and jo are considered outdated considering today's weaponry, they are very useful in studying budo principles.
            At Big Sky Aikido kumitachi and kumijo are required elements for all kyu examinations after rokyu. In addition to studying the principles of Aikido, this class focuses on these examination elements.
           

    Intermediate

    Saturday 9:45-10:45am

            The Intermediate Class is more structured than General Training, and less than Beginner. This allows for exploration of Aikido techniques and contents at a more advanced level than Beginner class, and a more guided and slower, studied pace than General Training usually allows. Concepts such as uke/nage relations, center, and connection are emphasized. During the weeks prior to examinations, Kyu rank examination technique is studied in detail, utilizing the Doshu’s techniques as interpreted by the instructor. Attendance in the Intermediate Class is appropriate for any Aikidoka, but particularly relatively new students, and those more advanced students wanting a studied approach to their own art.