Online Training Guidelines

Equipment Required

To commence practicing the self-defence techniques of Iwama Ryu Aikido, the following is required:

  • A computer or device with an internet connection.
  • At least one partner to train with. Iwama Ryu Aikido is learnt through physical transmission of applied practice with training partners.

Note – you can commence training without a partner. For example, the movements of Taijutsu techniques can initially be learned through shadow practice; the weapons suburi can be done alone. Ask us about which techniques you can start with if training alone.

  • Each trainee will over time need to acquire a white judo or karate uniform (gi). A good quality judo gi is recommended as it allows practice of techniques involving strong grips to the uniform.
  • A minimum training mat area of 3M X 3M for each pair of trainees. We use closed cell neoprene mats in Australia that are 1M X 1M with gig saw edges but there are other options.
  • Ensure there is enough height and space for indoor weapons practice – alternatively, do weapons outside.
  • Each trainee will need a boken and a jo (white oak sword, Iwama style and staff)

How to conduct training

  • Ensure the area is safe and clear from objects or equipment that could cause harm.
  • Do at least two different classes per week. Ideally, follow the sequence of the classes provided.
  • Commence and conclude with bowing. Bowing shows respect. Respect is the bookends of a class.
  • Observe and model what is occurring in the online class.
  • Once the Sensei has demonstrated the technique to the class, model along with the class and practice the technique shown. The senior person does the technique first (that is the person who has started training before you) and then the other person. It is important to do both roles – nage role and uke role (taking ukemi).
  • If you are training alone, shadow the nage role (the person doing the technique).
  • DO NOT RUSH – pay attention to the detail and copy this as best you can.
  • If you do not know the technique, pause the class video and refer to the “how to” resource videos for that particular technique. When you are ready, recommence the video and model along until the next technique is demonstrated.
  • With time and practice, you will become more proficient in your technique and be able to do more repetitions during a class.
  • Repeat the class as often as you want.
  • Use the “how to” resources to study the techniques in your own time.
  • Make a record of when you trained, who with and the techniques you learned. Refer to this to ensure you are covering the syllabus and required classes.

Grading Assessment

All grading assessment other than Black Belt are undertaken via streaming preferably, or by Vimeo movie exchange where streaming can’t be achieved effectively.

All tests (both Dan & Kyu) are arranged to ensure that deshi, on any given day, can reproduce what they have done in prior tests. There is a new component in every exam as well as review of much that has been examined before.  Every kyu test and Dan test has some techniques and attacks that are being assessed by the examiner(s) that were not required in prior exams.


The Internet Dojo has eight Kyu grades which are pre black belt ranks.

Ungraded students wear a white belt then work their way through the stripe system 8th Kyu (yellow belt) – 7th Kyu (orange belt) – 6th Kyu (blue & white belt) – 5th kyu (blue belt) – 4th kyu (green belt) – 3rd kyu (red belt) – 2nd kyu (purple belt), – 1st kyu (brown).

8th – 1st Kyu is a chain test. The 1st kyu test includes the 2nd to 8th kyu tests, the 2nd kyu test includes the 3rd-8th kyu test, and so forth and so on.

Your first grading - 8th kyu (yellow belt)

To achieve 8th kyu, a minimum of 36 classes and a minimum of four months training is required. You will need to be able to do a sit fall for your own safety (red stripe) and to demonstrate the following seven Basics of Iwama Ryu Aikido. You can wear a coloured stripe for each on your white belt:

Black Stripe Ikkyo 8 classes minimum completed
Yellow Stripe Irimi Nage 4 classes minimum completed
Brown Stripe Kote Gaeshi 4 classes minimum completed
Blue Stripe Shiho Nage 6 classes minimum completed
Green Stripe Kaiten Nage 4 classes minimum completed
Beige Stripe Juuji Garami 4 classes minimum completed
Silver Stripe Sword Ichi no Suburi right and left sides and staff suburi (Choku Tsuki & Kaeshi Tsuki) 6 classes minimum completed

Dan Ranks

Dan ranks are black belt levels.  The initial black belt that is earned is called Shodan (1st Dan). Shodan means beginner. The ranks then ascend to 2nd Dan (Nidan), to 3rd dan (Sandan) and then 4th Dan (Yondan).

Morihiro Saito Sensei used to say that:

“a Shodan must know the basics of Aikido (especially shomen uchi ikkyos) and have kokyu (breath power); a Nidan is strong; a Sandan is flexible in executing Aikido defenses and taking ukemi (falls) and a Yondan should be able to do well the entire Iwama Ryu Aikido syllabus after which all ranks are for service or are political in nature”.

The yondan (4th degree black belt) test is a test to establish that the deshi has learnt and can apply efficiently and effectively the entire Iwama Ryu Aikido curriculum both open handed and weapons (sword and staff).  The Sensei so to speak signs off on the deshi as having been taught all that can be taught by them directly.

The class cycle

The following Class Cycle Key shows diagrammatically how our classes progress.  For example from the 12 o’clock position moving clockwise each coloured segment represents a training day, after seven classes you are back to the 12 o’clock position from which you started.  From here you continue the progression clockwise training day by training day for as long as you continue in Aikido.


Looking at the diagram from the center to the circumference:  The three non segmented circles are part one of the class, which takes 20 minutes and is practiced every class except on weapons class days.  The segmented circle surrounded by the white circle is part 2 of the class.  It takes about 35 minutes and is where you learn the absolute must know basics of Aikido.  The segmented circle to the outside of the white circle is where those ranked 8th Kyu and above are instructed and practice variations to the basic technique of the day and from time to time other defense categories that have a connection to the stripe technique of the day.  The inner of the outer two circled is dedicated to the practice of the control techniques all of which use a lock and a pin.  The outside circle insures that we work through most of the kneeling extension practices.

The Syllabus Taijutsu (open-handed)

The Weapons Syllabus (Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo)

  • Aiki Ken Suburi – Suburi 1-7
  • Aiki Ken Awaze  Method
    • Migi Awaze
    • Hidari Awaze
    • 5th Awaze
    • 7th Awaze
  • Aiki Jo Suburi
    • Tsuki 1-5
    • Uchi Komi 6-10
    • Katate 11-13
    • Nagare Gaeshi 19-20
  • Aiki Jo 31 Kata
  • Aiki Jo 31 Kumijo
  • Aiki Jo 13 Kata
  • Happo Giri X 5
  • Aiki Ken Kumitachi 1-5 and variations
  • Kimusubi No Tachi
  • Aiki Jo 10 Kumi Jo
  • Ken tai Jo 1-7 and variations