01 What to do with the new student off the street

posted 26 Jun 2010, 03:39 by Unknown user
This is a real conundrum fro every martial arts teacher. What do do when a new student joins the class for the first time? Do I focus on them, of hope they fit in with what you are teaching you regular loyal students? The below is an outline of a simple lesson you can have a senior student take them through. Other options are to have them only come at say the beginning of the month (see beginners course article) that way they start with other beginners and have a critical mass and peers to start with.

Introductory Class 


To be taken by a senior student (it also requires the use of an uke initially as well), after warm-ups – this class might take one hour to complete after which the student is encouraged to watch the rest of the class.


This is a good opportunity to talk one-on-one about the art with the person but most importantly to LISTEN to what they want to know rather than telling them about why you like aikido – remember their reasons may be completely different. The intention of this class is to provide an overview of the art of aikido rather than putting them into a regular class which (a) can be distracting for the instructor and (b) may not provide them with the scope of our art (c) answer questions as they arise.


It is VERY important not to teach too much detail here (e.g. exact location of feet, aikido terminology, etc.), but instead to give them a feel for relaxed power, and the graceful yet powerful art that we do. This class works from the idea that aikido is derived from arts practiced by the samurai on the battlefields of feudal Japan and has evolved to today’s ‘art of peace’. You should also explain not meeting force with force and the blending and leading of energy as well.


Introduce yourself to each student before the class and ask them about their interest in aikido.

Introduce them to each other. Welcome each person personally at each class followup and thank them informally after class .


  1. Demo “The Sword of Nine Directions”

Explain that weapons’ training contains the basic movements of aikido and also develops a mindset that looks beyond your own hands and feet i.e. it helps look beyond the conflict and teaches ki extension.


Ich-ni” of the bokken kata

This is just katakosadori ikkyo irimi and pin (demo with uke)


San-shi” of the bokken kata

Repeat other side


Ju-san” (bokken spin and cutting of bellies)

This is just munetsuki kotegaeshi (demo with uke)


  1. Do with new student shomenuchi sword cuts – do not focus on too much details like hand grips etc… as this will give them information overload.


  1. Demo and do with new student katakosadori ikkyo irimi and pin (no detail on the pin as this may be confusing)


  1. Do with new student katatekosadori ikkyo tenkan by building up from following exercises  (uses relaxed power of the body)
    1. Udefuri waza
    2. Udefuri chuyaku waza
    3. Do kumi waza (blending exercise based on this movement with a partner)
    4. Repeat but uke grabs cross-hand (katate kosadori) and is moved around
    5. Do udefuri chuyaku waza but slapping hands on thighs and lifting hands in air
    6. Do katate kosadori ikkyo tenkan
    7. Refine with ikkyo tenkan waza (blending exercise with uke)
    8. Teach pin.

NOTE: This can be varied to suit talents of the new student and/or what the senior student thinks is most appropriate. Ask student to stay and watch the rest of the class.