Train With Us

New Students

Today is the day you should join us for training! Our classes run year-round and on each day you’ll find a mix of experience levels – from beginner to black belt.

Aikido is excellent for any age, gender, or level of fitness – you’ll enjoy class. We train hard, encourage each other, and most importantly have fun.

You will find us welcoming, and you will always be paired with a student of more experience that will work at your level and ensure safety.

Visiting Students

Roanoke Budo Kai is an independent dojo that welcomes aikidoka of any affiliation to visit.

We are a traditional dojo and broadly focus on many aspects shared by the various organizations (i.e. we do use the jo and bokken but do not emphasize weapons).

We enjoy visiting other dojos and attending seminars and we certainly welcome you to join us whenever you are in Roanoke! There is no mat fee for visitors.

For detailed information on attending our classes please see our schedule & registration page.

Information About Our Classes

Safety is our #1 rule so we ask that you respect your safety and the safety of your training partners by going slow and only doing what’s demonstrated! No one should be afraid to return to the mats!

Screencapture of video from a recent class. Technique: Kosa Tori Ikkyo.  Notice the five different stages in the technique seen.

Screencapture of video from a recent class working on the technique Kosa Tori Ikkyo. Notice the five different stages of the blend and technique seen. Click to enlarge.

What to wear/ bring for first class: gym clothes (preferably including sweat pants), water bottle and a desire to learn something new. 4-5 weeks in to each session we place a gi (training uniform) order for new students.

What to expect during class: students get to class 15 minutes early to set-up the mats and dress out (bathrooms/ locker rooms are available at both locations to change clothes). Class begins promptly at the designated time and the teacher (Sensei) will clap twice to begin class. Students form a line behind the instructor and will follow Japanese traditions to start class with formal bows. Generally, each class will follow a similar plan: stretching, blends, rolling and end with specific technique demonstrations and work. More specifically, the stretching will typically be an easy full body routine the student should follow at his/ her level. This stretching will include specific wrist stretches and movements which reflect aikido techniques and principles. Students will then pair up for blending exercises to start learning how to move and flow with a partner. Ukemi is the Japanese term used for falling/ rolling. Learning to safely take a fall is essential to one’s aikido training. There is typically a short break before the teacher will demonstrate specific attacks and aikido techniques for the class to pair up and work on together. Class ends much as it begins with a formal class bow. Students then remove the mats and clean up the training area.

What you else can do: leave jewelry at home, be prepared to train barefoot, read provided materials, bow when in doubt, observe the senior students and follow their lead, ask questions before or after class and have fun.

Roanoke Budo Kai classes focus on traditional elements of Aikido, but do also include work with weapons including the jo, tanto, and bokken.

Roanoke Budo Kai classes focus on traditional elements of Aikido including work with weapons such as the jo, tanto, and bokken. Click to enlarge.

Classes on different days of the week (Mon/Wed/Thu/Sat) requires a separate registration with the Roanoke County Parks and Rec (i.e. some students train one day a week, some train two or three) If you are registered for one class and miss a day then you should feel free to attend any of the other classes that week. This is also true if inclement weather or holidays cancel any weekly class.

Yes, you can watch aikido videos on Youtube and Steven Seagal movies but that does not mean you will learn that at our dojo! We honor the tradition of the art but also believe safety comes first! Additionally, your aikido practice should be kept on the mats and should not be demonstrated on friends!

Each class is open to students of any level as aikido is a cooperative training experience; however, respect rank and the dojo traditions and values!

No food or drinks are allowed on the mats. The only exception to this is if a student wishes to bring chocolates to one of our specific (unnamed) Sensei. Cell phones should be turned off unless your profession requires you to be “on call”.

Members should be 16 years of age; however, with permission, younger members have been allowed to participate in adult classes. We do not offer student/ kid classes at this time.

If your only goal is to get a black belt, then please go out and buy one! Aikido is a life experience and rank should not be your only motivation. True victory is victory over one’s self.

For detailed information on attending our classes please see our schedule & registration page.

Why Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art teaching self- defense using efficient body movements, not strength, to diffuse and redirect the force of an attack.

Physical aspects of aikido replace punching and kicking an opponent with joint locks and throws. Aikido training also focuses on the flow of energy and the dynamics of movement and encourages partners to train together cooperatively.

Training offers additional benefits beyond self-defense and will increase your awareness, flexibility, and balance. You will also have the opportunity to train your body and mind with breathing, and meditative exercise which help you learn principles that are practical for self- defense as well as daily life.

  • Blend – Your training will develop the ability to remain calm, comfortable, and focused during crisis.
  • Self defense – simple at first, an appreciation for matching the response to the attack. A lifelong journey to perfect.
  • Fitness – Aikido combines flexibility, coordination, and aerobic components.
  • Community – you will find yourself among a strong and supportive group of students in our dojo.
  • Practical – A portion of training revolves around Ukemi, the art of falling. Possibly one of the more likely applications of your skills.
  • An Equalizer – Unlike hard martial arts that meet an attack with force or blocks, in Aikido the attack is welcomed. You learn to enter and blend with an attacker, redirecting their force and momentum to advantage. The larger the attacker, the harder they fall.
  • Meaning – The name of aikido is composed of three Japanese words: “ai,” meaning harmony; “ki,” spirit or energy; and “do,” the path, the system, or the way. Aikido is “the way of the spirit of harmony.”
  • Challenge – We often talk of bulls-eye training. You will quickly get on target, then enjoy the challenge of working to perfect a life skill.