What Is Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art created by Morihei Ueshiba (b. 1883, d. 1969). Now referred to as “O-Sensei”, or Great Teacher, Ueshiba studied and became an expert in many traditional forms of martial arts, among them kendo and ju-jitsu.

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O Sensei, founder of aikido

Getting Started

If you’re interested in checking us out, drop by for one of our classes – we have them seven days a week. Just come in and take off your shoes when entering the dojo. You’re welcome to sit and observe class at any time. If you want to meet the members, all you have to do is arrive 10 minutes before class or stick around afterwards! ​

Ready to give it a try? Bring some gym clothes for a free trial class. Just contact the dojo (bostonaikikai617@gmail.com) first expressing your interest and what day you’d like to come in!

Want a free gi (uniform)? We have a great beginner’s package! It covers 10 basics classes and comes with a gi.

Like what you’ve seen? Sign up for our traditional membership. This gives you unlimited access to our entire class schedule!

Practice at B.A.

At Boston Aikikai, classes begin with stretching and warm-up, and then progress through techniques.  As you train, you will begin to notice and appreciate how these techniques build on each other, and share common concepts and movements.  Class is taught by a USAF (United States Aikido Federation) certified instructor, and you will pair off with fellow students to practice most techniques.  Boston Aikikai is a friendly environment in which to begin or continue training, as personal limits, boundaries, and injuries are always respected.

Classes at Boston Aikikai are appropriate for practitioners of any skill level, from the just-beginning to senior students.  Beginners are welcome at any sessions or seminars, and visitors are always welcome to watch classes.

Dojo Etiquette

Aikido etiquette remains deeply influenced by traditional Japanese martial arts values (budo). A centerpiece is Rei, which means “appreciation and respect.” practitioners show Rei to O-Sensei (Founder of Aikido), to the sensei (instructors), and to training partners.

In the dojo (place of practice), students express respect in the form of bowing, which is part of traditional martial arts culture. Bowing in the dojo is a purely cultural, non-religious, expression of respect.

A picture of O-Sensei and that of other late grand masters are displayed in the shomen (front of the dojo). Students express respect and gratitude to O-Sensei for his legacy in the form of bowing.

  • Bowing occurs on multiple occasions in the dojo, including:
  • Upon entering or leaving the dojo: the bow is executed standing up, bare head, arms along the side of the body and facing towards the shomen.
  • Upon stepping onto or off of the tatami (mats): kneel down in seiza (sitting on the heels with the back straight), and bow to the shomen with both hands on the mat in front of you.
  • At the beginning and end of class: everybody will line up facing the shomen, sitting quietly; then bow together to the shomen and to the instructor.
  • Before and after practicing with a training partner (during or after class): bow to each other in seiza.

The dojo opens about 15 minutes before the beginning of a class. If you wish only to observe a class, come in to the dojo and someone will greet you. Upon entering the dojo, remove your shoes in the front area (at the top of the steps). The day of your first class, allow for at least 15 minutes to register and get acquainted with the space.

Classes begin with warm-ups customized to the practice of Aikido or Iaido. Before class, take time to calm and settle yourself to prepare both physically and mentally for practice.

Do not be late. But if circumstances arise and you must arrive late to class, get changed as quickly as you can, stand by the edge of the mat, and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you, at which point you may bow onto the mat.

Better than adversaries, your partners are critical to your improvement and they are happy to help you if they are more advanced. Lacking respect towards your training partners goes against the spirit of Aikido and is unproductive. Remain humble and sincere. During class or free practice, overcome your aggressiveness and competitiveness. Before and after practicing with a partner, show respect and bow to her/him.

Dojo Tasks
The dojo has no employees. The dojo needs to be maintained and kept immaculately clean. This is every member’s responsibility. Tatami need special care and must be cleaned at least once a day, usually after class. All members are expected to help keep all parts of the dojo neat and orderly at all times–including the mat, floors, entrance area, bathrooms, and inside the locker rooms. No permission is required to help with cleaning. Observe and ask questions to the sensei or senior students, who will be happy to guide you through the cleaning process.


Vu Ha throwing student

Vu X. Ha

Chief Instructor

Vu X. Ha, Rokudan (6th degree) has been a practitioner of aikido since 1989 and was a close and direct student both of the late Akira Tohei Shihan in Chicago, IL, and Mitsunari Kanai Shihan in Cambridge, MA. Throughout the year, he continues training with master instructors (Shihan) from the U.S. Aikido Federation Technical Committee and Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu), nationally and internationally. He is also practitioner of Iaido, (Godan; 5th degree) the Japanese martial art drawing and cutting with the sword.

Fiona Blyth throwing aikido student

Fiona Blyth


Fiona Blyth, Godan (5th degree), has been a practitioner of Aikido for more than 25 years in the U.S., England, and France. A close and direct student of the late Mitsunari Kanai Sensei at New England Aikikai in Cambridge, MA, she was an integral part of developing and teaching the beginners curriculum with Kanai Sensei. She taught beginner and mixed level classes for many years at the New England Aikikai. She has taught seminars in the United States and England, and continues to train in Europe and the States.

News & Events

group of aikido students
12 Feb

Our New Dojo!

Boston Aikikai has a brand new space! We held our first official class on February 2, 2020, and classes are in full swing.

Dog in the snow
05 Feb

Winter Weather

It’s a new year, and winter is in full swing! Wintry weather is in the forecasts, so please take note … How will I know if the dojo is closed?Please check the Boston Aikikai Facebook page for announcements. Closures will also be marked in the dojo’s Google calendar.

students who took their rank tests
27 Jan

January Tests

On January 26th, the dojo held kyu (rank) tests and five people passed their tests! Congratulations to Sofia (sixth kyu), Cynthia and Mike (fourth kyu), Thao (second kyu) and Delphine (first kyu). Thank you also to everyone who came to show their support and take ukemi for those testing. In …