The format of Martial Arts Classes can vary quite dramatically depending on the Martial Art, and the teacher. Depending on what you’re looking for, you may find one class format suits your goals better than another. As a traditional dojo, our martial arts classes follow the format you would normally see while training in Japan.
How Martial Art Classes are Taught
There is some overlap of how Martial Art Classes are taught regardless of the style or country/culture of origin. At the beginning of class there is usually some type of bow to signify that the beginning of class has officially started; this might be a formal bow involving some ritual, or just a simple nod from teachers to student. In our Martial Arts Classes, we bow to each other and say the Japanese phrase “onegashimasu” which means “please” – as in “please do this for me”.
The beginning of martial art classes will also have some kind of warm up or stretching to prepare for the physicality of the class. This is important part of any martial art class since it helps prevent injuries or strains from the workout. It’s also a good idea to do this before coming to the class to insure you’re body is properly prepared for training. At Todai Dojo, we begin with a set of techniques called the “Godai” or “Big Five” which help the muscles start to stretch, then move in to “ukemi” or “ground receiving” which teaches students how to roll to prevent injury. After this we then begin our partnered training techniques.
Depending on the martial art and the instructor, martial art classes can range from very formal and strict, to fairly relaxed. At Todai Dojo, we have a bit of both; we in general have a very relaxed approach to our martial arts classes while keeping some of the formal rituals of Japan. However, the most important part of any martial arts class is the training and that you find what you’re comfortable with, and teaches the material you want to work on.