Getting Started

Beginners are welcome at all times of year, though it is always worth emailing the club before turning up to a session just to make sure the class hasn’t been cancelled for a course or grading.  Most of our clubs will offer a free taster session - or several - for all beginners, so usually all you need is to turn up with the right clothes and at least some enthusiasm!

We usually recommend that beginners bring the following to our sessions:

  • Exercise clothes - loose-fitting trousers and t-shirts are generally best, but we generally suggest not wearing anything you don’t mind being stretched a little out of shape
  • Water - this is a physical art and you should therefore drink regularly
  • Shoes - we train in bare feet, however if you need to leave the matted area we recommend putting shoes on.  This is mandatory if you intend to go to the bathroom!
  • Medication - if you have any medication that you may need in an emergency (e.g. inhalers or epipens), please bring these along and make sure the instructor knows where it is and when it should be used.
  • Gi - if you have trained in martial arts before and have an outfit, please feel free to bring it along.  We will usually ask you to wear a white belt for your beginning sessions, however considerable prior experience is recognised in our art and you may be asked to wear your old grade if your previous art is similar to ours

For safety reasons, we will ask you to observe the following rules when in the dojo (training hall):

  • Remove hard objects and jewellery before training.  If some jewellery cannot be removed, please tape it up instead and be very careful with it.
  • Inform your instructor and training partners if you have any injuries which might be exacerbated by training, and be prepared to stop training if you need to.
  • Before joining the session, wait at the side of the mat for the senior grade to recognise you.  When they rei (bow) to you, rei back and step onto the mat.  This allows your instructors to keep track of who is within their duty of care.
  • Before leaving the mat for any reason, let the instructor know.  We need to know that you are not leaving due to illness or injury, otherwise we worry!  Once the instructor knows you are leaving, rei off at the edge to show that you are no longer participating.
  • When training with a partner, rei before starting your exercise to show that you are ready, and rei again at the end to show that you are stopping.  
  • If you have questions about what you are doing, ask the instructor.

Most of all, when training with us we want you to have fun while you learn.  After each session there will usually be an opportunity to chat to other students and your instructor, sometimes over refreshments at a nearby pub, bar, cafe or restaurant.  During this time, formality is entirely dropped and you can be as inquisitive or honest as you like with everyone around you.