Class begins with a formal opening and a series of warm-up exercises and stretches. Children then practice safe forward and backward rolling. Most of the class time involves the demonstration and practice of Aikido hand techniques (students practice with a partner). Older children also do some work with short bamboo sticks (shinai) that helps their coordination. The class ends with fun Aikido games, and has a formal closing.
New children are given special attention during the first few days of their training, working with a senior student to learn safe rolling during the early part of the class. After that they join the regular class.
Testing in Aikido is non-competitive. Testing takes place after fulfilling time requirements and then only when the teachers feel the student is ready. During the test, students are required to demonstrate growth in Aikido technique, basic rolling skills, and etiquette. A certificate and colored stripes or belts are awarded after the test is completed.