Adult Aikido classes are held seven days a week, morning, afternoon and evening (see class schedule ). There is always a class to meet the needs of even the most demanding schedule. Members enjoy unlimited practice privileges. All students may take any beginner or all levels class. Members are encouraged to take as many classes as they wish. Classes are usually one hour long and consist of a short warm-up and practicing techniques with a partner. Visitors are encouraged to come in, visit the facility, and watch a class. Any member or instructor will be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. If possible, try to stop by when Sensei Joseph or Shihan Lehrman are teaching or in the dojo. They'll be happy to meet with you!
For each of the first six months, new students have a different colored tip on the end of their belt so that senior members will be aware of their skill level. ASNJ senior members are more than happy to help new members acclimate themselves to their practice and dojo life in general. Upon registration, new students are given “The Aikido Student Handbook” to help them as well. After six months, the colored tips come off the belt and the student will soon be eligible to take their first promotion test. While tests are not mandatory, they are suggested as a tool for self-examination and improvement. There is no competition in Aikido. Promotion testing and participation in occasional public demonstrations are ways in which students can challenge themselves if they so choose.
After a student's first promotion (5th kyu), they are eligible to take any advanced class on the schedule. While there are no colored belts in traditional Aikido (there are five levels of white before 1st degree black belt), when a student attains the rank of 3rd kyu, they are allowed to wear the traditional hakama.
Aikido's movements are based on sword arts, and the hakama was the traditional attire of the samurai class. Promotion requirements follow the guidelines of the United States Aikido Federation, under the direction of Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada.