Classes are held at Naunton Village Hall, in the North Cotswolds. See the Find Us page for details.
Here are a few FAQs :
Do you run beginner's classes?
No, we all muck in together, we feel it's better that way. Our newer members find training with the more advanced students quite beneficial.
Do you run ladies-only classes?
No, our female members train alongside our male members. As aikido does not rely on size or strength our female members are quite able to "hold their own" within the classes.
Do you run junior classes?
Not at present. Although Graham does have experience of running junior aikido classes (AI-KID-DO) there is currently not believed to be the demand in the area for a dedicated juniors class.
Do I need to buy lots of kit?
No. To start with any loose comfortable clothing is fine. A gi (training suit) costs from as little as £25 if you do not already have one.
Is it expensive?
We don't think so. Classes are £30 £10* per calendar month for a 2 hour class each Thursday (that's up to 10 hours of training!), with new members paying £10 £5* per lesson initially, although the first lesson is free. Membership of the Kai Shin Kai organisation, including insurance and occasional day courses, is £30 per year.
* Price reduction until Feb 2023.
Ah, but what about gradings, are they frequent & expensive?
No and no. There are only 5 grades below black belt, 4 of which are done within the club in normal lesson times at no additional cost. Brown belt and above gradings are held annually, see here for details.
Am I too old/young?
You decide. We accept students from the age of 16 and we currently have students in their 60s. Bob says "I was the oldest member when I joined the club. I still am and it doesn't matter at all. It's about technique, not strength. There is a very strong ethos in Aikido generally, and in this club certainly, of helping the partner with whom you are working at any moment, rather than competing with him - in fact Aikido is not a competitive sport. So if I'm having a slightly more frail moment because my partner for a particular exercise is rather younger, stronger and fitter, then he or she should work at my level of strength and fitness. And throughout my experience of the club, this is exactly what always happens - so the atmosphere is great for everyone. And over a beer in the pub afterwards, everyone blends into the same age anyway."
I have no martial arts experience, will I be OK?
Probably. It can be an advantage in some ways as you're not hung up on a specific way of doing things. Some members however do practice (or have practiced) other arts such as karate, judo, taekwondo and kickboxing. Nick says "If you have trained in martial arts before you will be used to the level of contact with training partners. However the techniques will probably be quite different and so those new to the art will not be at a disadvantage."
Do I need to be physically fit?
Not really. If you collapse in a heap after a 5 minute walk then a martial art may not be for you, however aikido does not rely on any physical prowess, quite the opposite in fact. If you have severe issues with your joints then again aikido may not be for you as a large part of aikido is based around joint manipulation. However, everyone trains at their own level and there's no pressure to keep up with everyone else.
I'm still unsure, can I come and watch a lesson?
Yes, of course you can. All we ask is that you turn up before the start of a class so we can welcome you in and answer any questions without disrupting the lesson. We'd suggest getting in touch first to make sure the class isn't cancelled for any reason on the date you wish to visit.