This is Going to be Fun!
If you've been reading through our website or watching our videos, you might understand already that Soyokaze Dojo is a serious and traditional school. What you may not realize yet is that it's also a lot of fun to train here. If you're feeling nervous about your first class, don't worry. Your first time through the dojo door you'll be excited and nervous, and that's normal. Every single one of us on the mat have had a first day, just like you. We all know how you're feeling because we've been there ourselves. Here's a few tips to make your first class amazing.
How to Look Cool
You're probably hoping not to stand out too much on your first day, because you really won't know what's going on. You don't have the uniform or the cool ninja socks, and you figure you'll be feeling pretty out of place. Don't worry. These tips will help you blend in on your first day.
- Wear Clean Socks
Students at Soyokaze Dojo wear special Japanese split-toe socks called "tabi" (TAH-bee) or regular western socks when on the mat. Bare feet are not allowed, so be sure to wear or bring clean socks (without holes!) for training.
- Wear Black
Any clean exercise close are acceptable on the mat, but if you really want to blend in wear black. You'll be getting your uniform soon so there's no need to buy anything new, but a black t-shirt and black exercise pants will help you fit in if you're concerned about that. If there is anything socially questionable on your t-shirt, Sensei will ask you to wear it inside out, so choose wisely.
- Leave the Jewelry at Home
You'll be removing any rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, and hanging earrings when on the mat, so it's best to leave them at home.
How to Fit In
Everyone wants to fit in, and your fellow Soyokaze Dojo students all seem to know what they're supposed to be doing and when. Here are a few tips to help you be part of the pack on your first day.
- Ask the Student Next to You
You're going to be confused at several points throughout the class, and that's normal. If you're not sure what to do or where to go, ask the student next to you. They'll happily help you out, because someone helped them on their first day too.
- Turn your Phone off or on Silent
There's nothing quite as embarrassing as having to stop class so everyone can watch you go to into the changing room and silence your Justin Bieber ringtone. Be sure to put your phone on vibrate, or turn it off when in class.
- Accept that You're Learning
This is your first day, and even if you've taken martial arts before you've probably never moved your body like this. The techniques are going to feel clumsy, and you're going to be confused. That's all part of training. Even the black belts still feel this way every time they try a new technique. Doing martial arts is challenging, and that's what makes it so fun. Embrace it!
How to Follow Along
Since Soyokaze Dojo is a traditional school, every class you'll be hearing a bunch of new words in Japanese. You aren't expected to learn Japanese, just a few key phrases. Here are a most common words you'll want to know.
- Arigato Gozaimasu (ah-REE-GAH-toe go-ZAE-MAHss)
This is a proper way to say "thank you". This is the most common thing you'll hear and say at Soyokaze Dojo.
- Sensei (seN-SAee)
"Teacher" in Japanese.
- Senpai (seN-PAe)
"Senior Student" in Japanese.
- Yame (yah-MAY)
This means "stop".. Not, "stop when your finished", but "stop right now. Freeze. Don't finish, just let go." You'll only hear this from Sensei.
Get Ready to Have Fun
Training at Soyokaze Dojo is challenging, engaging, sometimes frustrating, but most of all fun. You're going to enjoy being part of something amazing, and we're looking forward to walking this martial arts path with you.
See you on the mat!