Training Requirements

Our school is committed to providing instruction without discrimination to age, gender, ethnicity, religion or health – so long as you do not have a medical issue that would require a doctor’s permission or would create a hazardous environment for yourself or others.

The most important requirement is a good attitude – the willingness to focus, pay attention, and set a goal for yourself. We train to have fun, to help each other get better, to push each other to new levels of ability, and to cultivate a family of friends and peers. Please show up with the commitment to train hard, be humble, smile, learn amazing things, have fun, and to persevere past the sweat and effort that is necessary to become amazing yourself! You’ll find that if you stick with us, your body will quickly want to keep training!

Minimum Age
Instruction is offered for adults and mature adolescents age 10 and older. However, students under the age of 13 must be accompanied on the mat by their parent or guardian in every class (e.g., the child and parent must both participate). This is for safety reasons, because Aikido is a complex and subtle art, and because our class environment is not oriented toward adolescents.

While good aerobic fitness and youth is always a benefit, you do not have to be in athletic shape to start Aikido. The primary requirement to excel in Aikido is a commitment to keep training and improve. We have all started as clumsy beginners, and we are very welcoming and encouraging to everybody who is brave of spirit.

Prior Experience
Prior martial arts experience (Aikido or otherwise) is not required, but if you do have prior experience you will find it to be beneficial and respected.

Blackboard – USF Students
USF students should visit the USF Aikido group on Blackboard, and sign our waiver there. USF requires this process for all participating students.

Waiver (non-USF students)
If you are not currently a USF student, staff, or faculty member, please print, sign, and bring in the appropriate waiver for adults (Adult Participation Waiver) or for minors (Minor Participation Waiver). You can give it to one of the club officers when you arrive.

Mostly, you will pick up on the terminology and etiquette just by participating. However, there are a few things to know:

  • Bow when you enter or leave the room, and when you step on or off the mat.
  • The “bowing in” ceremony at the beginning of class has the students lined up in order of seniority. If you are new, you will join the left side.
  • If you are late and class has started, warm up and wait by the side of the mat until the instructor invites you to join. It is not polite or sensible to join the class more than 30 minutes after it has started, unless you have previously discussed it with the instructor.
  • If you have to leave the mat temporarily – to use the restroom or get a drink of water – you do not need the instructor’s permission. If you have to leave early or are injured, please notify the instructor.
  • Do not step on the mat with street shoes.
  • Please do not lean on the walls, speak loudly during class, or be disrespectful.

Uniform and Dress
The preferred uniform for training is a clean, plain white Judo or Karate uniform (dogi) with no patches or logos. New students and visitors can wear a t-shirt and sweatpants, or any martial art uniform that they have to start with. Unless your rank is with the Aikido World Headquarters, we ask that you do not wear a colored belt or black belt until you have tested with our organization. We recommend that you do not wear any earrings, necklaces, rings or other jewelry that may be broken, come off, or injure you or your partners during training. It can hurt to have an earring accidentally smacked! Eventually (after you test) you will be encouraged to purchase a hakama, the pleated blue or black formal training pants that the seniors wear.

The club occasionally purchases batches of uniforms which we sell at cost to students. You can ask one of the club officers if any are currently available for sale, otherwise you can purchase a judo or karate uniform from one of the following links:

The club owns weapons which are available for beginners and visitors to use. Eventually, you will be encouraged to buy your own weapons.

Since we train in close physical proximity, all members are expected to maintain high levels of hygiene. Please keep your fingernails and toenails closely trimmed, keep your uniform clean and free of stains, and yourself odor-free.

Pathogen Policy
If you have any open wounds, they must be securely covered. If you have any communicable illness – including colds or influenza – please come watch but do not train! It is important to thoroughly wash your hands with soap up to your elbows before and after class, and to carefully not touch your own face, eyes, ears, or mouth with your hands until you have had the chance to wash again. If you get a cut or begin to bleed on the mat, ask your partner to help you get your injury covered and disinfectant to clean any blood on the mat. To avoid contamination, USF policy states that it is your responsibility to clean up after any blood you spill.