Frequently Asked Questions

Yoshida sensei is a really approachable person!
Admittedly, not a question, however, Yoshida sensei is Sano sensei’s formal teacher and a mentor to and friend of the dojo.

Can you tell me more about the dojo?
Salt Lake Aikikai was founded in November 2004 by Rich Sano sensei and Dave Iannucci sensei with significant assistance from Kayoko Iannucci. The late Yamane shihan was the dojo’s first mentor, overseeing dan testing for dojo members for ten years and eight dan tests. Yamane shihan visited Salt Lake City to conduct seminars three times, and hosted members of Salt Lake Aikikai many times at his dojo in Sakura City, Chiba. In that time, the dojo changed, grew, and evolved as life’s journey took members far and wide, and also provided new students to study O-Sensei’s art. Throughout the ebb and flow of the dojo, Sano sensei remained the cornerstone of the dojo. 

With Yamane shihan’s passing, Sano sensei searched for a new mentor to guide the dojo. Kayoko Iannucci suggested and provided an introduction to Glenn Yoshida sensei. Yoshida sensei entered the deshi program at Hombu Dojo under the second Doshu, Kisshomaru following his university studies. For years, he taught English, trained daily, and provided translation services for the Aikikai organization. After his participation in the deshi program, the Aikikai sent Yoshida sensei to Spain to teach. Eventually, Yoshida sensei returned  home to Hawaii. In 2011, Yoshida sensei was instrumental in organizing and bringing together all of the aikido practitioners in Hawaii to host the founder’s grandson, the current Doshu, and great grandson, Hombu’s Dojocho, for the 50th anniversary of the Hawaii Aikikai Big Dojo. In 2014, Yoshida sensei was awarded the rank of seventh dan from the third Doshu, Moriteru Ueshia. Yoshida sensei is dojo–cho of Aikido Renshinkan Hawaii and teaches a weekly keiko at the Big Dojo.

How do fees for the aikido program work?
The aikido program at the Sports Center is an independent program. This means that you do not have to purchase a membership to the Sports Complex in order to practice aikido. However, if you want to use the other complex facilities (e.g., pool, exercise machines, etc.), you will need to pay for a membership to the Complex in addition to the aikido program fees. This also means if you are a member of the Sports Complex that you will need to pay the aikido program fee in addition to your Sports Complex membership.

Currently, fees for the aikido program are as follows:

$35 per month
$8 per day/mat fee
$189 (10% discount) per 6-month period
Families receive an additional discount of $35 + $5 for each additional family member per month.

Fees are paid at the Sports Complex front desk. Students should show their receipt to the instructor each time fees are paid.

There is no charge to observe practice.

Are there any other costs?
There are no other costs to practice, and no contracts to sign, however there will be a one-time fee to join our parent organization (Hombu dojo) if and when you are tested for rank promotion. Testing and membership are entirely optional, but it is very useful to have the official Hombu membership card if you visit the Hombu dojo or other Aikido organizations.

Do you hold classes on holidays?
 Not if a class day falls directly on a major holiday, but otherwise usually class will be held. If you would like to confirm, just contact us.

Do you have beginners and advanced classes? Are there childrens’ classes?
No, all students practice together regardless of rank. An advanced student can learn as much practicing with a beginner as the new student can learn from a more experienced practitionner. New students are welcome to begin at any time.

There are no separate childrens’ classes, but we welcome anyone age 14 and up – perhaps even younger depending on maturity and when accompanied by a parent.

How should I dress to practice? Do I need a uniform?
A uniform is not required, but we encourage you to get one as soon as you feel comfortable that you’re going to continue. We don’t sell them, but can point you to stores that do. Until such time, we recommend something comfortable for exercise, with long sleeves and long pant legs, like sweats. Please try to leave jewelry at home, as you need to remove it during practice. We also recommend a pair of flip-flops or sandals that can be easily slipped on and off. Once you do buy a gi, we recommend a light aikido or judo gi.

Should I buy a hakama?
In our dojo, a hakama is worn by male students after they have achieved the rank of 2nd kyu. Female students are allowed to wear a hakama after they have achieved the rank of 3rd kyu. Beginners are not required to buy nor should they wear a hakama.

What if I can’t attend every class?
This is no problem at all. You’ll need a certain number of days of attendance to qualify to test for promotion, but you can attend as often as you like.

How many people usually attend a class?
Typically between 6-12.

What is your organizational affiliation?
We are affiliated with the Aikikai (Hombu) organization in Tokyo, (the one headed by the Founder’s family) and receive our rank directly from them.

Will you recognize rank I received at another dojo?
Generally, yes. It’s best if you can show us your certificate. We recognize any rank awarded by Hombu dojo.

How does your ranking system work?
We adhere to the grading system of Hombu dojo.

How long will it take me to get a black belt?
You know you shouldn’t ask this, right? But if you must know: you should expect at least 5 years, with consistent practice. This means not missing too many classes. Of course there are NO guarantees and your mileage may vary. It really depends on when you are ready.

If you have a question which is not addressed here, please do not hesitate to contact us. Even better, come to the dojo to talk to us. You can observe a class, or even join in.