The Structure of a Class and Practise
Classes are intended to teach the skills that are essential for Aikido practice, and generally follow the following format:
Thorough Warm-up, stretching all the joints
Ukemi practice (forward, backward, and side rolls and falls)
Taisabaki (body movement and balance-shifting exercises)
Aikido Techniques - both pins and throws
The Aikido training exercises and techniques that are demonstrated in class can look deceptively simple. Do not be dismayed if you have difficulty performing the movements, it takes a lot of practice!
The students in most classes will be a mixture of standards from beginners through to more senior Aikido students; it is good to practice with people of all grades in the class.
The first few months of Aikido practice are possibly the most difficult. There is so much to learn at once. Be prepared for some difficulties along the way; some people get the odd bruise and some people initially have difficulty sitting in Seiza (on their heels). Be aware that the initial pains and aches you will feel are normal - look on these as "development pains" - it is worth the effort!
Discipline and correct etiquette on the tatami are considered extremely important in the dojo. This is not to please the instructor but is part of the authentic traditional Aikido training process. It is the same in all Aikido dojos throughout the World. Good etiquette includes arriving in good time for all classes.
Never try to force a technique. The object of Aikido training is not to get a person onto the ground by any means. Respect the interests and condition of other people.
The instructor should be told immediately of any injuries, however slight. If you have any physical injury which requires extra care, be sure to inform the instructor before joining the class.
Do not expect everything to become clear to you in a short time. It takes a period of practice before your body absorbs the basics.