You can try a class any time that an aikido class is scheduled, just text or email to get access to the dojo. Your first class is free. After your first class, you will be asked to make a three month commitment in order to continue. This commitment is not refundable for any reason and must be paid in advance. The purpose of this commitment is to help you. Starting a martial art is challenging! Knowing you already paid for three months can be a useful incentive to keep going.
Come to your first class dressed comfortably in exercise clothes that cover your arms and legs. Make sure finger and toenails are trimmed, and remove all jewelry before class for safety reasons.
You'll receive some instruction about etiquette as a new student. Follow what other students are doing, and refer to our Etiquette page to get a clearer sense of why all this stuff is important.
Once you have a gi, you must train in your gi and not street clothes.
Zazen is an important component of practice, and is strongly encouraged. You will be given detailed instruction about how to do Zazen and the formal aspects of sitting as a group.
Zazen is an active, open cultivation of awareness while in a specific seated posture. I encourage everyone to think of Zazen as shikantaza or "just sitting." That is what it sounds like, simply focusing on the act of sitting still, and nothing else. When your mind wanders, just notice that and bring it back to sitting with as little judgment as possible. This, of course, is easier said than done. If you find that you require more structure, start by counting your exhalations until you reach the number 10 and starting over. If you lose your way, don't worry about it, just start over. Eventually you will find yourself ready to let go of counting and open your awareness.