Joining the club
As we are a small group we're running the membership on a fairly exclusive basis, the reasoning being that even one person is a significant percentage of a class and we want to make sure that new members will fit with the existing student body.
We don't take
- Juniors (under 18).
- This may seem a harsh cut-off point but the legal situation regarding contact with juniors has become a minefield in recent years and would mean specially trained instructors, police background checks, extra insurance etc. and is simply not worth the extra problems it entails.
- Senior aikido grades just looking for somewhere to train.
- Over the years we've found that senior aikidoka have their own view of how to practice aikido which then interferes with teaching in a small group such as ourselves.
- Junior students of other martial arts.
- We don't recommend trying to learn Aikido while still an active junior grade in another martial art as those who try to learn 2 martial arts at one time simply confuse one with the other (trying to do aikido in your karate class and karate in your Aikido class will just serve to annoy both instructors). Prior experience in another martial art is no problem.
We do take
- Senior grades from other martial arts
- Senior grades have 'internalised' their martial art and do not need to try and practice it in an aikido class. Provided they seriously wish to study aikido for its own sake they are welcome as members, their additional experience enriches the class.
- Men, women, young and old - just about anybody really :-)
- We are looking for new students who will fit in with and become committed to the club and the study of aikido. You don't need to be super fit or young and athletic to practice aikido, strength is not a requirement and many women have gone on to become first rate practitioners of the art.
The first thing to do if you are interested in joining us is to use the Contact link on this web site and tell us a little about yourself and ask any questions not covered on this web-site. Principally we would like to know your
- previous martial arts experience (if any)
- medical or other problems which may interfere with your practice.
- We ask that all prospective new students come along and watch a full Monday evening class. This gives you chance to see how we practice and teach aikido and to have a chat about aikido and to ask and answer any questions.
- If everything seems to fit together then we'll ask you to come along and train with us for a probationary period of about 4 weeks just to make sure and then, if all is still Ok at the end of that time, pay the annual membership fee and become a full member of the club.
Your first class
When you come to your first class please either bring a keikogi if you have one or wear something loose such as 'T' shirt and track-suit bottoms. Any sort of keikogi or belt will do for your first few classes, whether they are funny colours or covered in logos for other styles or clubs but you should replace it with a more standard keikogi when you can. The main thing is to wear something you can move easily in - please, not rivetted jeans! Make sure that your finger and toe nails are cut short before class and, if you have long hair, tie you hair back safely. All jewellery, studs etc. must be removed or taped over before training for safety's sake . If you are an asthma sufferer and carry an inhaler, please make sure that it is readily available and that at least one other member of the class knows where it is and how to administer it in an emergency.
Class fees and other costs
The fees are £5 for each class and there is an annual fee of £25 for membership of the SAUK and BAB which also provides basic member-to-member insurance. You will not be required to pay the annual fee until the end of the probationary period but you will have to fill in a membership form. You will require a keikogi to train in. Although a lightweight karate gi will do and is nice and cheap it will not bear the test of time. Nine Circles are an on-line martial arts shop who supply excellent aikido keikogi, their Intermediate and Deluxe models with (3/4 length sleeves) being especially suitable (check their web-site for prices). Standard judo keikogi are also suitable and may be available from local sports shops but you will find yourself folding up the sleeves during training. At some point you will need to purchase a standard set of weapons (bokken, jo and tanto) and a weapons bag to carry them in, again check the Nine Circles web site to get some idea of prices.