Whitton & Caversham
                                            Aikido logoWhite Oak Aikido
Aikido in Reading Berkshire
Aikido on Powys, Shropshire, Herefordshire Borders
offering classes in the Japanese martial art of Aikido since 1991

...the way of the warrior ...the way of harmony

White Oak Aikido Instructors

Experience and Qualifications of White Oak Aikido Coaches

White Oak Aikido benefits from having a team of instructors at both our Whitton and Reading dojos. They are all well qualified and highly

Contact Reading Aikido:

Email Reading Aikido

Phone Reading Aikido
07743 301199


Contact Whitton Aikido:

Email Whitton Aikido

Phone Whitton Aikido
01432 509467

experienced with many years of training and teaching experience. Here's a little bit about each of them.

Simon Thackeray - Senior Instructor White Oak Aikido
Aikido throwI 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 started teaching Aikido at Reading University in 1985 and established the White Oak Aikido dojo at the Reading YMCA in 1991, moving it to Caversham in 2016. Now 6th dan, I'm also recognised as a Senior Coach (Level 3) by the British Aikido Board. In 2016, I achieved the Award in Education & Training, the QCF recognised qualification for those working in the further education and skills sector. Then in 2023, I established a new dojo in Whitton, near Knighton in Powys.

I was a direct student of one of the great pioneers of Aikido in the UK, 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 from 2004. 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, creating a strong base of skills and knowledge from which people can genuinely improve and train at their highest level. I enjoy passing on whatever understanding and skills I have in Aikido and seeing people develop and benefit.

Recent CPD has included QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work; Close Quarter Combat, Situational Awareness, Knife & Edged Weapon Awareness & Self-Defence/Protection; British Aikido Board Coach Refresher 2023.

In addition to Aikido, I also train regularly in Tai Chi and Qi Gong, as well as teaching weekly classes in Qigong (Chi Gung) at the Methodist Church Hall in Craven Arms, Shropshire, as well as occasional Qi Gong Workshops in Bramley. I sometimes train in Bagua and, some years ago, I also briefly studied Karate.

Member comment: 'Theyíre all very good teachers at White Oak Aikido Ė patient, friendly and professional.'

Trish Matthews - Assistant Senior Instructor White Oak Aikido
White Oak
                      Aikido Reading & Whitton - KotegaeshiI started my Aikido training at the University of Reading in 1993, having had a vague interest 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 some 25 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 focused on this area. Iím currently involved in social and therapeutic horticulture, 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. Recent CPD has included Emergency First Aid; British Aikido Board Coach Refresher 2023.

I 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 c
hange 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.

One Reading Aikido member said: "(Trish) teaches with warmth, spirit and a joyful energy. She has a way of making you remember the technique more."

Get Julie Tullis' book on Amazon

Member comment: 'The teachers work out what your individual level of stretch is and are able to keep you progressing at a pace where you feel a mix of being stretched but rewarded.'

John Butcher - Instructor White Oak Aikido Reading
I started training at White Oak Aikido in Reading 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, my 1st Dan in 2012 and my 2nd dan in 2020.
Aikido throw 3
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.

Member comment: 'I do like how our teachers do their best to make us understand every technique and improve a bit more every day.'

Martin Morton - Assistant Instructor White Oak Aikido Reading
I started Aikido training in 2008 and was graded 1st dan in 2020, having also gained my British Aikido Board
Coach Level 1 in 2011. 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 the Aikido classes in Reading, 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.

All White Oak Aikido instructors are insured and hold a First Aid qualification.

Member comment: 'The teachers are all excellent. Their dedication and commitment are reflected in the teaching. They recognize how much more you are capable of and always encourage you to do your best.'

Watch our Aikido video here!
Not what you'll be doing when you start, but sometimes our more senior grades like to show off a bit!

Find out more about getting involved in the martial art of Aikido in Whitton and Aikido in Reading:
Home page of White Oak Aikido UK
Info for Beginners - some more details about Aikido and what to expect if you come along to either our Reading or Whitton dojos.
Or please Contact us if you have any questions about Aikido classes in Reading or Whitton.

...and here's some pages about the past - Aikido in the old days

Weekly Chi Gung / Qigong classes in Craven Arms Shropshire

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