Last updated on 2016 March 03
A. WHERE, WHEN
1) CLASS SCHEDULE. Click the "Training schedule" link to view the current class schedule. You can count on the accuracy of this schedule because it's updated frequently.
2) STREET DIRECTIONS, PARKING, AND CAR-TOWING. See the "Find us" link on this site to view a vicinity map and street directions to our dojo in narrative form.
If you drive a car, you should know this:
4) MEDICAL CLEARANCE. Let's not mince words - aikido is strenuous. For everyone's well-being, we require all students over age 30 to submit a medical clearance. Please submit this on or before your 5th training session.
5) WHO CAN JOIN? All interested in learning and training, regardless of age, are welcome. Students who have celebrated their 14th birthday are directed into the adult class. The youngsters class is reserved for students aged seven to just under 14 years. MAC has approximately 40% women members.
6) I'M [X] YEARS OLD. AM I TOO OLD TO START AIKIDO? You be the judge. The majority of the first-generation students of Makati Aikido Club, who started training in the 1980's, were typically in their mid-30's when they started learning Aikido. Many of them are the senior Aikidoists in the Philippines today. One of our female black belts started training at 41. A number of our students started just before turning 50. One notable student started at age 71, and dropped out a year later to emigrate. Today, the majority of our members are in their 20s and 30s.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can join the regular adult Aikido classes if you have celebrated your 14th birthday. At age 14, you go through the same training and you earn the same ranks as the adults. People younger than 14 years are directed to our youngsters' classes. These age-related practices follow established Hombu Dojo practice.
7) MAT FEES. Before anything else, allow us to make it clear that the Makati Aikido Club is not a business, not a livelihood of any person. Our instructors do not accept payment of any sort. However, the club does have to pay rent, and does need to maintain and repair club equipment. Therefore, we ask that students make small contributions towards these unavoidable expenses. For exact amounts, call Mr. Sebastian at 890-1976 or 77.
8) HOW TO REGISTER: We are very non-bureaucratic; we strive to keep things simple. To register, simply show up 15 minutes before any scheduled class and introduce yourself to the instructor or to anyone who appears to know his way around. They'll take care of you from that point. That is all.
B. THE TRAINING EXPERIENCE
1) GETTING STARTED. Joining our classes is very straightforward. Come to our dojo 30 minutes before class; suit up at the men's or women's locker/dressing room, then get on the mat. Introduce yourself to the teacher; he will orient you about what to expect. And you've started learning Aikido at the Makati Aikido Club.
2) HOW TO START LEARNING SYSTEMATICALLY. For best results you should try to train at least 3 times a week, although of course your particular circumstances will dictate what you actually do; and there are no rules for minimum attendance. The only one who will kick you for being a lazy student is yourself.
It's important to recognize that Aikido classes are not like university or high school subjects, with a distinct semester beginning and semester end. Aikido is more akin to learning a sport: you build up skills of body movement and ways of thinking. You visit and revisit concepts and behaviors again and again, gaining proficiency as you apply repetition-with-reflection to deepen your understanding. You can join anytime, and you will soon be in the swing of things. You will see the logic of the teaching after you've been with us a few weeks.
3) HOW WILL I BE TREATED? At the Makati Aikido Club, everybody behaves as if they live in the 21st century. Here there are no wannabe samurais with sophomoric false nostalgia for 16th century Japan, or the social structures that that particular society evolved. Here senior students do not haze junior students or newcomers; and there is simply no truck with that artificial formal obsequiousness that owes more to Hollywood than anthropological fact. Everyone at the MAC understands that on or off the mat, we are all governed by the Bill of Rights and a national Constitution, not to mention a Sexual Harassment Law. The norm is respect for all individuals; but it's a respect rooted in modern liberal values, not adolescent cultural exoticism.
4) I AM SO EMBARRASSED THAT I'M SO CLUMSY, AND I FEEL GUILTY THAT MY PRESENCE ON THE MAT IS DETRACTING FROM THE ENJOYMENT OF EVERYBODY ELSE. These feelings of beginner angst are universal, inevitable, and unnecessary. Everybody on the mat was a beginner once, and everybody had these feelings once. Beginners at bowling, golf, volleyball, soccer, ballet, drawing, public speaking, and ballroom dancing have also felt the same anxieties. (We know this for a fact.) The cure is to stop focusing your thoughts on self, and to start engaging with the training. When your interest is engaged, these essentially egotistical anxieties melt away as you devote your energies more and more to attaining proficiency in the fascinating subject matter. You forget yourself; you forget your self; and you start building up a worthwhile experience. And you're on your way.