Here are the top five things you need to come prepared for your next Aikido Class:

  1. Develop a positive mindset.  Each and every time you step onto the mat, you have an opportunity to learn something new. You just need to give your best effort and challenge yourself along the way. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned practitioner of the martial arts, a healthy positive attitude will go a long way. My teachers tell me, “Always look for one thing to take home with you.” Taking one thing home with you every class is a philosophy for growth. It teaches you to look for positive things in your life and thus, develop your positive mind. A good attitude is essential for the development of a good character. Always strive to turn negativity into positivity.
  2. Take good care of your body.  Aikido teaches us that the body and mind are one, so how we treat our body affects our mental health and how we treat our minds reflects in our physical health. On days when you have Aikido practice, you will want to drink plenty of water. Make hydration a priority. You should also make sure that you don’t eat a big meal before class. If you are out of breath and dehydrated you will not have any energy to learn and participate in class.
  3. Keep good hygiene.  Taking good care of your body is a formula for success, and proper hygiene is a sign of respect for your fellow training partners.  If you are giving 100% effort during class you will get a good sweat going.  Bring a small cotton towel in your bag and tuck it into your lapel so you can wipe your brow when the sweat starts flowing.
  4. Treat your Gi with respect.  Keep your Gi clean because it is a reflection of yourself. If you treat your Gi with a certain reverence, then that same respect will flow into the rest your life. Being clean and presentable is a significant factor in how you will be perceived by others on the mat.
  5. Remember your belt.  Remember that your belt is the thing the ties everything together. Unfortunately, I’ve had to borrow a belt a few times because I left mine at home. If you find yourself repeating the same mistakes, you need to look for the lesson that your mistake is trying to teach you. This is another way that you can try to develop your positive mind. Your belt is a symbol of all of the time and dedication that you have taken in your Aikido journey. Treat your belt as something special. When you put your belt on, you should be proud of how far you have come and reflect on what lies ahead. When you take pride in the small things, the bigger picture becomes more clear.