Aikido of Ventura County

Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the difference between Aikido and other martial arts?
Most other arts, including Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Mixed Martial Arts, etc. focus on competition, conflict, and the attacker’s side of the altercation. Aikido, however, is grounded in the relationship between the thrower and the person being thrown, focusing more on the harmony between the two than on one individual dominating another.  Other martial arts often “resolve” the conflict with some sort of block, hit, or kick, but in Aikido we blend with the attack and redirect it.  Aikido is not about being stronger or faster than someone else, but rather working within the conditions of each individual conflict.  Every person and conflict is unique, and Aikido takes this into consideration.  Aikidoists are still warriors, but we are able to be peaceful warriors that practice non-resistance.  The growth is personal, and rank is not a separation between people but rather a personal milestone.

How long does it take to get a black belt?
On average, a black belt can take about 5-6 years. However, every person is different, and it can take less or more time depending on many factors, including the level of commitment and time spent on the mat.  Although rank is something to strive for, rank is not the only reason to participate at Aikido of Ventura County.

Can I try out a class before I join the club?
Unfortunately we do not allow individuals to try out the class. We may occasionally offer a night where the public can try for free, but this will be an individual night where anyone interested is free to attend.  We do strongly suggest, however, that you watch one of our classes before signing up.  This is to ensure that we are the right Aikido dojo for you, and to answer any questions you might have prior to signing up.  Experienced Aikidoists who are visiting from other dojos are welcome with a $15 mat fee paid directly to Hooton Sensei.

Do you offer any discounts?
Because the class is through Camarillo’s Parks and Recreation center (Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District), Camarillo residents have a substantial discount.  There are also discounts for seniors.  We keep the fees as low as possible; the fee monthly is $56.70 for Camarillo residents and $78 for non-residents.

I would be starting at an older age, or I have a disability or another ailment. I’m concerned about the physical aspects, like falling, rolling, etc. Am I able to join/train?
Age or physical abilities are not limitations within Aikido.  Because we focus on harmony within Aikido between partners, everyone trains at the level that is accessible to their partner.  More experienced or able-bodied partners can work on their clarity, sensitivity, and technical skill while working with less physically inclined members.  Aikido is about receiving as well as giving, so no matter who you are training with both people are able to thrive in each and every encounter if both are present and willing.  Remember, if you are a senior, you do get a discount in the course price as well!

What is your style of Aikido, or your lineage?
We are not part of any specific “style” of Aikido, especially because we welcome insights from many members in the Aikido community.  We are, however, connected through the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba (known as O’Sensei) through Shihan Robert Nadeau, one of his students.  Aikido of Ventura County is connected to our parent dojo, Aikido of San Diego, which is connected to the Aikido World Headquarters (Aikikai) through active membership in the California Aikido Association under Shihan Nadeau. If it interests you, you are welcome to discuss the Chief Instructor and Supervising Instructors’s training background and lineage with Hooton Sensei directly.