There are no competitions in aikido. Instead, a student's development is marked by their interaction with others and their ability to blend with an attack or deliver one, take a fall safely, and redirect an aggressor's energy. After the teacher has demonstrated a technique, students practice in pairs, alternating turns as attacker and defender. Aikido techniques depend primarily on circular movements to harmonize with an aggressor's force as well as taking their balance. Additional training with a wooden sword (bokken) and a staff (jyo) complements the body art and allows for improved stance, timing, and distance in martial encounters.
Training in aikido improves flexibility, muscle tone, endurance, and develops internal power as well as fluidity of movement. Moreover, through disciplined and focused study, aikido students learn to become more centered in their lives, allowing a sense of calm to penetrate their actions and thoughts.
Aikido is a challenging art to learn; consistency and effort are required. Students are expected to practice aikido at a minimum of eight classes a month/two classes a week.
Weapons training is an integral part of Aikido at Hawks Hill. Training with weapons informs the unarmed body art movements, primarily because many aikido movements are derived from sword work. Working with a bokken and jyo (a wooden sword and staff) can help one grasp the timing, distance, and technique of a martial encounter.
Students who demonstrate consistent practice of aikido for a minimum of three months may begin weapons training with permission from the chief instructor. Weapons classes do not replace minimum attendance requirements for aikido.
"The sword and jyo are extensions of your body and must be handled as if they have your blood running through them," writes the late master Kisshomaru Ueshiba in his book, Aikido. "Unless you can make the weapons part of your body, you have not truly trained in aikido."
Batto-ho, "sword-drawing method," is based on iaido, the "way of sword-drawing" and other traditional forms of Japanese sword work. Batto-ho is studied largely for the same reasons as weapons work with bokken and jyo: for what it reveals about the roots of aikido as a martial art.
Students who demonstrate consistent practice of aikido for a minimum of three months may begin iaido training with permission from the chief instructor. Iaido classes do not replace minimum attendance requirements for aikido.
Zazen is a form of seated meditation practice in which one sits quietly, allowing the mind to settle. Through this practice one can experience reality as it is, here and now. Japanese martial culture and Zen are connected through their emphasis on mindfulness and self-awareness.
Misogi-no-kokyu-ho may be translated as purification through breathing.
Aikido at Hawks Hill offers misogi training to individuals who display strong commitment to the practice of aikido, weapons, iaido, and zazen.