Monday, 30 December 2013

Get fit and learn Aikido in 2014

So you’ve eaten too much turkey and Christmas Pud and you’ve slumped in front of the TV and all of a sudden you realise that you really need to do something to get back into shape…. time to make your New Year’s Resolution. Here’s a suggestion:

Learn Aikido in 2014!

The Hartland Aikido Club meets twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays – so you have lots of opportunity to come and give it a try. We are a small, friendly club with members ranging from white belt level (beginners) to black belt. We are very lucky to have excellent mats (thanks to the financial support of Torridge Council). If you have never done a martial art before, don’t worry. We’ll guide you gently through all the basics. If you already have experience in aikido, then you will be equally welcome. We are open to all styles of aikido. While the Hartland club is affiliated with the British Ki Aikido Association, we will not disregard the skills of people who have studied in other aikido styles. All are welcome.

In fact, in 2014, we will be extending our own practice to embrace some of the weapons syllabus from a different school of aikido. Here in North Devon, we are very lucky to have an expert teacher of the Iwama style of aiki-jo and aiki-ken. Sense Richard Small (4th dan) teaches aikido weapons (but not free-hand aikido) in Bideford. In 2014 he has kindly agreed to teach a series of weapons master classes at the Hartland Aikido Club in Bucks Cross. These will begin on the 4th of February, and will continue on the first Tuesdays of March and April, with an in-depth look at the 31-count jo kata. This is a fascinating, and challenging, jo (wooden staff) kata. If you want to enrich your understanding of aikido weapons, this is a great opportunity. By integrating Sensei Small’s expert weapons teaching with the Hartland Club’s freehand aikido practice and Ki relaxation exercises, I sincerely believe that we will be able to provide students with a rare opportunity to experience a very broad range of aikido training.

I hope that a few people from the Bideford, Bucks Cross and Hartland areas might be tempted to try out aikido for the first time in the coming year. And I also hope that some people who are already experienced in aikido may be tempted to take advantage of the possibilities for extending your knowledge by joining us in our regular weekly meetings or by taking part in Sensei Small’s monthly weapons master classes.

If you don’t know what Aikido is, here are a couple of short videos that gives a very simple overview. This first video emphasises the Iwama-style weapons training…



This second video describes the ‘core’ of aikido common to all styles…


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Aikido is the secret to surviving Christmas!

So says The Guardian newspaper! "When it comes to dealing with life's low-level conflicts – the kind of petty sniping some of you may just possibly be about to experience in the coming days – the Japanese martial art of aikido might not seem a promising source of solutions," says an article in today's edition.

However, the author goes on to say that it turns out that aikido may hold not just the secrets to surviving Christmas, but may also have the secrets to coping with the pressures of life in general. "Conflict itself is unavoidable, but we're too quick to assume that any given conflict is also a contest – a zero-sum game, in which one side wins by making the other lose. Treat a friendship, job or marriage like a contest, and you've already determined how you'll respond: by trying to score points until someone admits defeat."

Read more...

On that thought, it's probably a good time to wish you a Merry Christmas and an Aikido-full New Year!