Where & When?
Classes run through-out the year, with exceptions for major public holidays and when instructor(s) are not available (please see the Schedule for details).
Teaching duties will be shared among the group members, but there will always be at least one fully insured instructor (like Graeme) present at every class. The plan is to encourage everyone to build their own toolbox of skills, and this includes the ability to step into an instructor or coaching role if it is of interest.
Please check this website or Facebook frequently for any announcements. Members of the study group will also have the opportunity to join a WhatsApp message group to help everyone keep in touch and provide instant status updates in case of any urgent communications.
What & Why?
TL;DR - Aikidō! It's fun! :-)
There are a lot of benefits to training martial arts. Aikidō is a Japanese martial art, founded by Morihei Ueshiba, with a rich breadth of aspects for students to explore and is primarily derived from another Japanese martial art called Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu. The way most people train, regular practice in aikidō will lend itself particularly to improving body usage including things like; co-ordination, flexibility, balance, stamina, and timing. Sanchin Aikido UK aims to look at training from a variety of different perspectives, and in keeping with the concept of "sanchin" (Japanese for "three battles") the group follows a broad teaching syllabus to enable students to see aikidō as a way to improve through training to unify the mind, body, and spirit.
Training involves learning solo body movements, along with working with partners to develop technique, and learning how to fall safely (also called "ukemi" - which is just the Japanese word for how to receive/escape from a technique).
Etiquette and a mindful way of doing things is something that helps to add a certain amount of structure and a little formality to training but it's not something that should be seen as an obstacle for anyone. Everything will be explained clearly, just the same as any technique or physical exercise. The main guiding principle for members is that everyone should be treated fairly, with mutual respect, and that all training activities are conducted with reciprocal consent in a manner that is safe for all participants. This is a goal that transcends any form of etiquette.
Learn more about what the study group learns by reading about the curriculum (teaching syllabus).
Equipment & Fees?
You don't need anything special to start training, just wear comfortable sports or gym clothing.
After a while you may want to purchase a "keikogi" (Japanese for training clothes) and optionally a "hakama" (a stylised pair of pleated trousers). For walking between the changing room and the hall, you may wish to bring a pair of sandals. Training takes place bare-foot on floor mats, and wearing sandals when not on the training mat keeps feet clean, which in turn keeps the mats clean! The floor mats are an important piece of safety equipment and keeping them clean and in good order is necessary.
From time to time training also includes using some wooden practice weapons: "bokken" (a wooden sword), "jo" (a wooden staff), and "tanto" (a wooden knife), but these are not necessary to purchase until later when you have developed an interest in those types of training exercise.
The cost of hiring the training space and arranging adequate insurance cover requires that the group charge fees. Sanchin Aikido UK is committed to being transparent about all fees and costs met by the group, and all monies raised are always used for the sole purpose of supporting the study group as a whole.
Membership of the study group is £45 per month, which includes access to all classes run by Sanchin Aikido UK and automatic registration as a student with the British Martial Arts and Boxing Association (and membership of the BMABA group student liability insurance cover). You are free to start or stop your membership of the study group as you choose.
There are no hidden fees. The monthly membership fee is the only payment required to train with the study group.
Sanchin Aikido UK do not charge any additional mandatory fees for other purposes related to training with the group, for example to sit grading examinations or belt tests, and you are not required to purchase any equipment from the group.
The only other costs you might incur could be from optional attendance at any events (like seminars or special extended classes) that may be arranged from time-to-time beyond the scope of normal weekly classes. Any such special events would have their costs clearly articulated in advance.
We hope all of this is clear, but if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with Graeme - the group welcomes any opportunity for feedback or to provide clarification.