WHAT DO I NEED ? WHERE DO I BUY IT?
Here are some tips, requirements, recommendations:
Upon joining our dojo, students are expected to purchase a gi (uniform).
Upon passing each Aikido test, you will receive a new belt or stripe on your belt. These belts and stripes are rewarded to you by the dojo. They indicate your rank, so that others understand your ability and therefor train with you safely. Starting with white, belt colors grow darker with each rank achieved, the darkest being black.
Suggestions Where to Buy:
E-Bogu Aikido Uniform Sets: These sets are all very nice and affordable. The 'HiDriTex' option wicks away sweat, which is a great feature, especially in the summer.
Tozando Original Essential Gi and Pants Set: This is a great company stationed in Japan, with a great product. They have many sets on their website, so search around.
Upon passing your 7th kyu (1st Aikido test), students will be expected to purchase a zafu (Round meditation cushion used to lift hips and relieve leg pressure). Please bring your zafu to and from class.
If you would also like to practice Zazen (Zen meditation) at home, we recommend purchasing a full cushion set, which includes a zafu and a zabuton (large, rectangular cushion, placed under zafu, used as floor padding).
You may purchase your cushions in any color, but we recommend black, to keep the dojo uniform and distraction-free.
Suggestions Where to Buy
Waterglider Crescent Zafu: A less expensive, lighter, comfortable option, making this zafu easier to carry to and from class.
Mobile Meditator Inflatable Meditation Cushion: A less expensive, inflatable, comfortable option, making this zafu perfect to carry to and from class and travel with. *Please write your name in little white letters by the inflation hole—we like to remain sanitary.
Hugger Mugger Zafu: A taller shape, supportive for those with slightly stiff hips. Please note that this zafu is bulkier and heavier, making it more difficult to carry to and from class.
Monastery Store Mountain Seat Zafu: A very tall shape, very supportive for those with very stiff hips. Please note that this zafu is bulkier and heavier, making it more difficult to carry to and from class.
Zabutons are optional. Some people are fine without them. If you plan on sitting at home, you may want to get one and designate a little area as your meditation space in your home. Hugger Mugger Zabuton is quite nice, and pairs nicely with the Hugger Mugger Zafu (seen above). Also, the Monastery Store Bodhi Seat is a nice full set (zabuton and Zafu included), as is Dharma Crafts Classic Set.
Upon passing your 5th kyu (3rd Aikido test), you will be expected to purchase a set of your own bokken and jo (aikido weapons), and bring them to class on days that Sensei indicates weapons inclusion.
A bokken is a wooden sword, used for practicing sword techniques without the risk of laceration. It was traditionally used by the Samurai for practice.
A Jo is a wooden staff used for practicing strikes, distance awareness, and leading the attacker.
Suggestions Where to Buy
E-Bogu Aikido Bokken Jo Set with Bag: We recommend this set for students starting out. It’s a great value and all that you need. The bag makes a great carrying case.
Kingfisher Woodworks Aikido Jo paired with Kingfisher Woodworks Aikido Bokken: These are made from impact-grade, Appalachian Hickory, which rivals Japanese White Oak in strength and durability. These are more expensive, and generally designed for more advanced practitioners. For the Jo, we recommend 50 inches in length and 15/16ths inch diameter. For the bokken, you will not need a tsuba, and we recommend matching your size to Lincoln Sensei (who has a size medium), or Noble Sensei (who has a size large). Both Jo and Bokken will be fine in wood type L5. L7 is simply gorgeous. Feel free to ask Lincoln or Noble Sensei to see theirs before buying. We recommend getting a carrying case—make sure the case length will fit your jo and your bokken length. This brand comes with a few care instructions.