Starting Aikido at White Oak
Welcome to Aikido!
Entering a martial
arts dojo for the first time might be a
daunting experience. The media often portray a
martial arts club as somewhere people shout at
you a lot and make you do press-ups if you get
Thatís not us! We strive to create an
environment where you feel welcome, you can learn, progress safely at
your own pace and enjoy your training. One new
student said that
the thing he remembered most about his first
practice at White Oak Aikido was how much
everyone smiled. However, Aikido is a martial
art and we will also do our best to challenge
you both physically and mentally.
| Training Options for
Start when you want!
Taster session - Free.
Aikido Foundations Course.
Eight-week course £60
information and to book your first visit
N.B. You must be over 18 to train.
Member comment: "Both the White Oak Aikido
club and the Reading University are great
places to learn Aikido."
Your first few sessions are really heavy on the
basic posture and movement exercises, before
progressing to any throws or immobilisations, so
donít expect to be able to do what the more
senior members are doing after your first week!
Above all, we stress safety and ensure that you
understand how to apply and receive techniques
safely at all stages of your training.
Especially when you first start, youíll always
be working with a more experienced student, as
well as having in depth teaching and feedback
from one of our qualified coaches.
Training in the martial arts is a long term
commitment, which is why we set up the
eight-week Foundations Course. This establishes
the habit of regular training which is what will
enable you to make real progress. Your
Foundations Course includes online access to a
lot of useful information and videos about
Aikido in general, the basic techniques and
exercises, so you can continue your study of
Aikido at home or if you have to miss a class -
your martial arts insurance is also included in
the cost. The eight-week Foundations Course
costs £60. Please contact
us for more information, or we will
explain the details to you and you can ask any
questions at your first session.
What to wear
you require to begin your Aikido training is loose
comfortable clothing (a tracksuit and t-shirt are
ideal). No shoes are worn and all jewellery must be removed for
safety. Sandals (zori) of some sort
should always be worn to the edge of the mat to
avoid treading any dirt
onto the mat. Nothing else is required
except the curiosity to try and see if you like
it! In due
course, you can purchase Aikido training uniforms (gi),
jo, bokken and tanto through the club - You'll
find it cheaper and we use any proceeds to
subsidise course attendance for members. Dan grades wear hakama,
pleated skirt-like trousers which formed a traditional part of samurai
clothing. Coloured belts are used to indicate
Typically the instructor demonstrates an
Aikido technique and then the students pair up and
practise what has been shown, alternating the
roles of nage (the thrower) and uke (the
receiver). Japanese names are used for the
techniques, but instructions are given in English.
Most techniques are easier to understand by
observing and attempting to copy someone more
experienced than by detailed verbal description
but, if you are having
problems, you are always encouraged to ask for
help. During your Foundations Course, you will be
with a more experienced student or one of the
teaching team to guide you through your training.
begin training at the rank of 7th Kyu (red belt)
and then progress through white, yellow, orange,
green and blue belt to 1st Kyu (brown belt) and
then on to Dan grades (black belt). Gradings
occur at roughly three monthly intervals and if
you average two training sessions a week, then you could be
ready for your first grading after about three
months. Of course, this depends on the
individual. The emphasis is on learning and
enjoying rather than concentrating on grades!
Since many Aikido
movements are derived from the use of weapons,
training with weapons can improve performance and
of the empty-handed Aikido techniques, as well as
helping to train the body. At White Oak Aikido
Reading, we train with jo (wooden staff) and
bokken (wooden sword). This takes the form of solo
practices (suburi and kata), as well as partner
practices. Other weapons training includes
defences against knife (tanto) attacks and methods
of disarming an opponent.
Behaviour and etiquette
in the Aikido dojo
There are a number of
guidelines of what is expected from you at an
Aikido practice that are there to ensure
everyone's safety and enjoyment. They are set out
in your Club Handbook to which you get access when
you join the Aikido Foundations Course. They are
only general points to bear in mind rather than
hard and fast rules of behaviour; training at
White Oak Aikido Reading is fairly relaxed
(etiquette at other dojo/organisations may
You'll see the more
experienced students bow at several points during
an Aikido practice. By bowing, you show respect
and thanks to O Sensei, to the instructor or to
your partner. It also provides a physical reminder
to concentrate on the task at hand and to take
into consideration the abilities of your training
partner when performing a technique. Just copy
what the other students do and you'll soon get the
hang of it. In Japanese society, a bow is akin to
the western handshake, it does not have any
religious significance. However, if bowing is an
issue for you, please discuss it with us.
more about getting involved in the martial art of
Aikido in Reading:
©White Oak Aikido