Aikido Instructors in Reading - Experience and Qualifications

Martial arts training in Caversham and West Reading

White Oak Aikido benefits from having a number of instructors, all well qualified and highly experienced with many years of training and teaching experience. Here's a little bit about each of them.

Simon Thackeray: I had wanted to study a martial art for some time and started training in Aikido in 1980 and progressed gradually through the grading system. In August 2004, Haydn Foster Sensei awarded me the grade of 5th dan. I've been teaching Aikido at Reading University since 1985 and established the White Oak Aikido dojo at the Reading YMCA in 1991. Now 6th dan, I'm also recognised as a Senior Coach (Level 3) by the British Aikido Board. I recently achieved the Award in Education & Training, the QCF recognised qualification for those working in the further education and skills sector.

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I was a student of Haydn Foster Sensei (7th dan) from 1983 until Mr. Foster sadly passed away in February 2011. I've also attended many Aikido courses with other high ranking English, American and Japanese teachers and I continue to attend courses to ensure my ongoing development. As well as serving as his Technical Assistant for many years, I also accompanied Haydn Foster Sensei on Aikido teaching tours of New Zealand, organised by Kyu Shin Do Aikido in Auckland.

Aikido has been a key part of my life since I started training in 1980 and has driven my interest in achieving a better understanding of the human body and mind, qualifying in massage in 2003 and then going on to train in the Chinese internal energy arts and martial arts. I have seen many of my students improve not only their skills and confidence, but also develop their overall potential. I am passionate about the need for strong foundations and regular practice to underpin good form and to maximise the benefits from the arts that I teach. I believe in the need for strong, effective, basic technique and practice with the bokken and jo as a foundation for good Aikido. I am obsessive about technical accuracy and inculcating an understanding of the basic principles of this fascinating martial art. I enjoy passing on whatever understanding and skills I have in Aikido, to whoever is prepared to take any notice, and seeing people develop and benefit.


I also train regularly in Bagua, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, as well as teaching Qi Gong (Chi Gung) at the Viables Community Centre in Basingstoke (map) and at the Caversham Heights Methodist Church Hall in Reading. Some years ago, I also briefly studied Karate.


Trish Matthews: I started training at the Reading University Aikido Club in 1993, having had a vague interAikido
                      throw 2est in Aikido since seeing a documentary on a climber and Aikido practitioner called Julie Tullis and also reading that Aikido was one of George Lucasí inspirations for the Jedi! I havenít climbed Everest or become a Jedi but Aikido has been a key part of my life for the last 20+ years. Iíve been teaching Aikido at Reading since 1997 and was awarded 4th dan by Haydn Foster Sensei in August 2010. I am recognised as a Coach Level 1 by the British Aikido Board.

Iím fascinated by how physical activity, especially martial arts, is a trigger for developmental change and learning in all areas of peopleís lives. I recently completed an MA in coaching and mentoring, and my thesis focussed on this area. Iím currently involved in social and therapeutic horticulture, active and experiential learning for children, basket making (www.jackdawbaskets.co.uk) and life coaching/crafting (www.magpie-coaching.co.uk). I also hold the Award in Education & Training, the QCF recognised qualification for people working in the further education and skills sector.

Link to Julie
                                                  Tullis' bookI love how Aikido enables people to express and protect themselves in a way that aims not to cause unnecessary harm to the other person, with a focus on compassion rather than aggression. Learning to deal with physical confrontation and the fears around that, can change how you connect to the world around you, although these benefits can only come from training that stays true to its martial origins and a system underpinned by realistic, functional principles. As one member said: "She teaches with warmth, spirit and a joyful energy. She has a way of making you remember the technique more."

Julie Tullis' book on Amazon with some impressive pictures of her practising bokken on Everest.

John Butcher:
I started training in Aikido in 2001. I had just moved to Reading and saw this as an opportunity to start a new martial art, having previously studied Yang Style Tai Chi. I wanted to do Aikido as I saw in this martial art its potential as a self-defence system which does not rely on physical strength or size. I achieved British Aikido Board Coach Level 1 in 2011 and my 1st Dan in 2012.
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In my own Aikido training and teaching, I am now drawn to a deeper study of some of the different aspects within Aikido such as the esoteric, the physical, physical fitness, and developing the mind-body connection. The training in body technique along with the weapons training, using the Bokken and Jo, make this for me a balanced and rewarding martial art to study and teach.

Martin Morton:
I started training in 2008 and was graded 1st kyu in 2013, also gaining my British Aikido Board
Coach Level 1. I Aikido
                              techniquecame to Aikido after training for some years in a range of combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing and karate. The first thing that attracted me to the Aikido club was that everyone was so friendly and helpful and if I ever struggled with anything, all I had to do was ask and they were all willing to help me. One of the things I love about Aikido is that moment when I end up on the floor in a lock or a hold and I wonder just how I got there!

Since I started Aikido, my life has changed for the better. I love my training, so if you think you might be interested, come along and have a go. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Looking forward to seeing
you on the mat.

Michael Moody: 1st dan and British Aikido Board Coach Level 1.

All instructors at the White Oak Aikido and Reading University Aikido Clubs are insured and hold a First Aid qualification.


Member comment: 'I think everyone teaching is really great.'

Discover the martial art of Aikido in Reading:

Home page of White Oak Aikido in Reading, Berkshire, UK
Info for Beginners at White Oak Aikido Club and at Reading University - some more details about the Aikido clubs and what to expect if you come along.
Aikido Training Times and venues for the Aikido clubs at Reading YMCA, Caversham Heights Methodist Church Hall and at Reading University.
Joining White Oak Aikido or Reading University Aikido Club.
or please Contact us if you have any questions about Aikido or the club.
...and here's some pages about Aikido in the past.

Chi Gung (Qi Gong) classes in Basingstoke and Caversham, Reading.

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