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Aikido is a very open and inviting martial art. Previous martial arts experience is not required to begin practice, and at all levels, you'll find aikido practice to be quite social and cooperative. In aikido we practice with each other, not against each other.

Visitors are encouraged to stop by and watch classes or, if you prefer, to take up to three classes at no charge. If you would like to take a free class, you should approach one of the students (before class begins), introduce yourself and sign a waiver. That's all! You can then take the class. You'll need to wear a dogi or a pair of sweat pants and T-shirt (no shorts or jewelry, please). Changing rooms and showers are available.

Classes are ongoing; new students simply begin attending the classes they prefer. For the first class or two you will receive personalized instruction, generally from one of the dojo's advanced students. Very soon afterward you will be practicing with everyone else in the class as a regular student.

It helps to be in reasonable physical shape, but this is not a requirement. As you continue to practice, you will begin to achieve increased flexibility and balance, and better breathing.

There are no contracts or long-term fees at Capital Aikikai. New students are entitled to three free classes. After that, you would have to pay either a daily mat fee ($10 for each day you practice) or a monthly membership fee ($80 per month). If you plan to practice more than twice a week, the monthly rate will probably be more practical.

Not all classes are open to beginners. Any of the 6:30 p.m. classes are an excellent choice, as are the 7:45 p.m. classes. The Saturday 10:15 a.m. class also is appropriate, but keep in mind that that class is usually more crowded than the weekday ones. Typically, the 6:30 p.m. class will have 5-10 students, about 50 percent of whom are relatively new to the art. The 7:45 and Saturday classes will have more students, with a wider range of experience levels.

DAILY PRACTICE SCHEDULE

Please click to view our class schedule. Any of the 6:30 classes are excellent choices for beginners.

THINKING OF BEGINNING AIKIDO? OUR AIKIDO FAQ:
What is Aikido?

Aikido is a martial discipline for training the mind and spirit. Aikido does not stress competition, but emphasizes a win-win situation that helps develop a spirit of harmony and cooperation, mutual respect and consideration for others.

From a technical standpoint, Aikido is basically defensive and oriented toward rolling, joint locks, flowing movement and control of balance. It is not "rough," and in fact appears to be quite smooth and graceful to first-time visitors.

What is aikido training like? What can I expect?

Aikido is basically oriented toward rolling, joint locks, flowing movement and control of balance. Weapons training emphasizes the basic postures and stances that are a fundamental part of aikido.

When you visit or begin your training, you will learn the most basic — and important — things first: how to roll, how to stand properly, etc. As you progress you will begin to learn the fundamental movements from which techniques develop. During a typical class you will practice with a variety of partners, of all skill levels.

You do not need to be in excellent aerobic or muscular shape to practice aikido, but as you progress you will find youself becoming more healthy and fit.

When is Capital Aikikai open?

We are open and training seven days a week. Classes are held in the evenings during the week, and in the mornings during the weekend. Please click for our daily practice schedule.

Can I watch or try a class?

Yes! Visitors are always welcome to stop by and watch or take classes. If you would like to try a class, just show up about 20 minutes beforehand and ask one of the waiting students or instructors about taking a class. Generally, first-time students are given personal orientation and instruction by one of the dojo's yudansha (black-belt students). New students are welcome to any of the general classes. You do not have to call ahead or make other arrangements.

What type of people train in aikido?

All kinds of people train in aikido — men and women, young and old, even children. Because aikido is based on balance and circular movement, strength and size is not particularly important in training. In fact, women often have a natural affinity for aikido because, unlike men, they often do not have to unlearn forceful or muscular habits in their movement.

One unique feature of aikido training is the mixing of all skill levels.

Do I need special clothing or equipment?

If you want to try attending a class or two, simply bring loose-fitting clothing such as a T-shirt and sweat pants. Be sure to remove any watches, jewelry, etc. before stepping on the mat. The aikido "uniform" is a judo-style dogi, available either from us or from various area martial arts equipment suppliers, as are wooden practice weapons. Showers are available in both the men's and women's changing rooms.

Typically we train in bare feet, on a canvas-covered mat.

How much does it cost to train?

Monthly membership dues (below) or a per-day mat fee. New or prospective members may take three classes free of charge. There are no hidden fees, term limits or contracts.

Adult (Age 18 and up) $80
Student (Age 14+ and attending school) $50
Child (Age 6-13) $40

• Multiple Child Discount:
First child member pays full price, and each additional child member receives a $5 discount on their monthly dues.

• Mat Fees:
For visitors the suggested mat fee is $10/day. If visiting for two or more weeks, visitors are asked to pay monthly dues.

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Capital Aikikai and the Capital Aikido Federation
are directly affiliated with Hombu Dojo and the Aikikai Foundation.
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Capital Aikikai | 923 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
240-242-5179 | www.capitalaikikai.org