Main Dojo Classes

Below you will find information about all the classes we offer.  It's important to mention though, many supplemental programs enhance BigRock Aikikai's classes.  We host training camps for all ages bringing together aikido students from across the city.  Our 1000 Hour Club celebrates the dedication of students by bringing them together for a special event each year - previous events include an afternoon at the movies, laser tag and paint ball.  Each year the students participating in BigRock Aikikai`s Instructor Training Program gather for a special Olympics event - this fun-filled camp tests the skills of students in numerous events that relate to teaching an aikido class.  Our Character Development Program encourages students to contribute positively in their Dojo, Home, School and Community.  All BigRock Aikikai instructors are volunteers - no one is paid to teach.  Instructors give their time and effort out of a passion for aikido and a desire to share their knowledge with those interested in learning.  For the safety of our students, all instructors go through a Calgary Police Service background security check.  Ultimately, BigRock Aikikai is about building a family of aikido students who respect and appreciate the community in which they live by giving back.


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Child (6-8yrs) – Discipline & Fun

BigRock Aikikai’s child class is the perfect place to introduce your young one to a martial way because of our balance between discipline and fun.  Students are expected to behave politely and show consideration for others – good, solid social skills are very important to us.  All students are encouraged to give 100% effort in every class.  It’s not so important who is fastest or strongest what is important is everyone should be putting in all of their effort.  This is how we guide kids to reach their potential.  Activities are designed around building coordination, strength and having fun – healthy kids are active kids.  Our intention is not to teach kids to become fighters but rather help kids to be respectful citizens with strong self-defence skills.  Students set regular goals by the use of a colored belt ranking system.  The BigRock Aikikai system utilizes the following belts: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, advanced brown, junior black, intermediate black, advanced black.  Each colored belt rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes.  (Applicants under the age of 6 are considered on a case by case basis.  Please contact sensei with questions.)


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Youth (9-11yrs) – Engaging & Challenging

Got a child in this age group?  You need a class that is fast-paced and engaging.  That’s what you’ll find at BigRock Aikikai.  Our youth class inspires students to push the limits of their potential.  We foster the idea that kids need to be continually challenging themselves in order to grow.  Parallel with this encouragement is our belief that kids shouldn’t be measured in relation to other kids.  Each child’s growth is a personal, individual journey.  Courteous, respectful behavior is encouraged at all times.  We understand that kids don’t always get along and that’s okay.  What’s important is that kids learn how to behave respectfully toward everyone.  Activities are designed around improving physical conditioning, strengthening concentration, building a solid foundation of self-defence skills and having fun.  Our goal is to nurture self-confidence helping students become resilient to bullying.  Strong self-defence skills continue to grow as we build on these class by class.  Students set regular goals by the use of a colored belt ranking system.  The BigRock Aikikai system utilizes the following belts: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, advanced brown, junior black, intermediate black, advanced black.  Each colored belt rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes.


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Junior Teen (12-14yrs) – Character & Skill

BigRock Aikikai’s junior teen class piles on the responsibility increasing the expectations for strong self-defence skills united with a strong character.  This class is more about pointing the way and letting students tread the path themselves.  The junior teen class is full of long-time students – seniors who have invested more than a thousand hours into Aikido.  Their example is one of perseverance and dedication.  New students have a tremendous advantage when entering an environment like this.  Our expectations on students in this class are that they will treat others with tolerance and compassion.  Respectful behavior is expected outside the dojo as well as inside.  Students push their physical limits along with the limits of their concentration.  In this high-energy environment students discover they are always capable of more.  Self-confidence is solidified and the concept of calmness under pressure is beginning to take hold.  Self-defence skills are polished in the current of BigRock Aikikai’s technical stream – continually, patiently.  The most senior students of this class are welcomed to train with adults in the regular adult classes.  Students set regular goals by the use of a colored belt ranking system.  The BigRock Aikikai system utilizes the following belts: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, advanced brown, junior black, intermediate black, advanced black.  Each colored belt rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes.


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Senior Teen (15-17yrs) – Maturity & Independence

BigRock Aikikai’s senior teen class is a bridge between the programs for young people and the adult program, having elements of both.  There are still activities taken directly from the young people’s programs, like drills and games.  The noticeable difference however, between the senior teen class and the younger classes is the presence of adult-level training methods and adult-level technical expectations.  Students are self-directed when it comes to grading preparation, taking full responsibility for their own review.  Instructors are more than willing to answer questions and direct when needed but the obligation to review all the required techniques is the student’s alone.  This is the only class where students have earned the level of junior black belt, having shown the necessary maturity and commitment.  At this point, students have trained more than two thousand hours and are approaching, if they have not exceeded, a decade of dedication to their dojo.  BigRock Aikikai does not award junior black belts lightly.  Out of the thousands of students who have participated in our programs over the past 15 years only six have reached this level.  Forging a character is a life-long process.  As young adults, we place adult-like expectations on our senior teen class students.  Respectful behavior is expected outside the dojo as well as inside.  The senior teens practice in their own class only once per week.  This is in contrast to all other young people’s classes which have two classes per week.  All students in the senior teen class are welcome to join any or all adult classes.  This has proven to be a very fruitful model as many teens have taken successful adult-level kyu tests (and are registered with the Canadian Aikido Federation).  Students set regular goals by the use of a colored belt ranking system along with a national adult-level kyu ranking system.  The BigRock Aikikai colored belt system uses yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, advanced brown, junior black, intermediate black and advanced black while the national kyu system uses ranks of 6th kyu through 1st kyu.  Each rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes.


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Adult (18yrs+) – Together we Grow

BigRock Aikikai’s adult class is open to anyone who is interested in being a member of a close-knit group that enjoys vigorous aikido training and the occasional social event.  We share a common goal – to enjoy the practice of aikido as part of a dojo that is dedicated to improving the community within which it lives.  When it comes to the practice of aikido, aggressive, competitive attitudes are discouraged.  Osensei, aikido’s founder, described aikido as way to unite people – not a way of fighting with others.  We aim to uphold the principles of aikido as laid out by the founder.  Training is always conducted in a spirited but safe manner.  All are welcome … You will decide the pace that is right for you (although, Sensei will always be behind you pushing you to expect more from yourself).  Our members are encouraged to give back to their community through volunteering at organizations like the Calgary Inter-faith Food Bank, Inn from the Cold and the Salvation Army’s Christmas Hamper Program.  As a member dojo of the Canadian Aikido Federation, we utilize the grading requirements laid out by this national organization.  All kyu ranks are registered and awarded by this national body.  Black belt ranks are processed by the CAF while being registered and awarded by the Aikikai Foundation (World Headquarters) in Japan.


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Parent (18yrs+) – Honoring our Kids

The parent class is a special class for those parents who want an insider`s perspective on our young people`s program.  The class structure has elements of both the adult class and the young-people`s classes while the technical requirements are the same as for the Child, Youth and Junior Teen classes.  These classes are led by a senior member of the BigRock Aikikai Instructor Training Program.  Students set regular goals by the use of a colored belt ranking system.  The BigRock Aikikai system utilizes the following belts: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, advanced brown, junior black, intermediate black, advanced black.  Each colored belt rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes. 


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Weapons – Travelling on the path of Respect, Commitment & Compassion

As an extension to training, we offer classes in the traditional weapons of jo (short wooden staff), bokken (wooden sword), bo (long wooden staff) and shinai (bamboo sword).   Students need to have earned at least a green belt in BigRock Aikikai’s regular classes before they are permitted to attend weapons classes.  This ensures they have trained at least a year and have developed the patience and discipline to be trusted with the responsibility.  Each class begins with reciting the principles of practice which can be summed up by Respect, Commitment & Compassion.  The younger weapons class (6-11yrs) focuses on form, maai (safe distance) and basic kata (predetermined sequences of movements) while the older weapons class (12-17yrs) builds on these skills with speed, precision, power and an increased number of forms that can be practiced.  Although these classes are built on disciplined training, there are still many fun elements that help students learn the principles of weapons movements.  Fundamental skills that are improved through training in weapons classes include managing distance, controlling timing as well as physical coordination.  The skills acquired in weapons class are completely transferable to the regular classes and therefore mean increased potential in general.  Students do goal-setting in weapons class through the use of a belt-stripe ranking system where a single stripe is attached to the student’s belt for each weapons rank they attain.  Each weapons class rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes.