Saturday 29 September 2012

Class Rescheduled

IMPORTANT: This week only (the first week of October, 2012), the Hartland Aikido Club meets on Friday (the 5th), not Thursday (the 4th). The time stays the same - 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening - only the day changes. The Friday class is this week only. Thereafter we meet, as usual, on Thursdays between 7:00 and 9:00.

Friday 28 September 2012

Self-defence in North Devon

No, I really haven't spent years studying Aikido on the off-chance that one day I'll be able to defend myself against rampaging Ninja hordes on the streets of North Devon. In fact, if you really want to defend yourself against injury, learning a martial art can be useful in ways that have nothing to do with fighting. Read more in my latest article for the Bideford Buzz.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Learn Aikido In North Devon

Now that the nights are drawing in, you may find that there is even less to do in the evening than there was during summer. What will you do to pass the time? Watch TV? Listen to the radio? …or learn a new skill that is not only interesting but is also a lot of fun? Yup, I’m talking about Aikido.

Our Aikido club in Bucks Cross has only been going a few months but already we have a keen group of students ranging from complete beginners through to black belt. We have a mix of men and women (let me correct that – only one of our regular students is a woman, but we’d love to have more!) and I like to think that we have a friendly and fun atmosphere (even though we practise very seriously). The club is based in the Bucks Cross Village Hall, a few miles to the west of Bideford just off the A39 towards Hartland – see HERE.

Let me give you an idea of what to expect. We practise for two hours from 7:00 to 9:00 on Thursday evenings. We have some excellent mats which we put down at the start of the lesson – and if you can arrive ten minutes early to help us put them down that would be much appreciated. Lessons start with about 15 to 20 minutes of warm-up exercises. Then we generally practise some ‘Ki’ exercises which are aimed at generating a sense of calmness and relaxation which is useful both in Aikido and in daily life.

Sometimes we may also do a few exercises or ‘katas’ with traditional Japanese wooden weapons (bokken and jo) – again aimed at developing calmness, as well as helping to develop the skills needs for Aikido.
After an hour we take a five minute break. In the second hour, we practise nothing but Aikido. If you don’t know much about Aikido, browse around on this web site and you’ll find lots of articles, information and videos. HERE would be a good place to start. A simple description would be: Aikido is a powerful yet gentle, non-competitive Japanese martial art for both men and women. 

If you have already done Aikido before, you too would be very welcome to join us. My name is Huw and I am the teacher or ‘Sensei’. While I have trained in the style known as Ki Aikido (in which I graded to 2nd dan black belt), we welcome people from other styles. Our club already has some members who previously graded with other Aikido associations practising different styles of Aikido. In short, if you are happy to practise with us, we are happy to practise with you.

It’s a long, dark winter ahead of us. So why not give the TV a rest once a week and come and give Aikdo a go…?

Tuesday 11 September 2012

High breakfalls in Aikido

Some breakfalls are scarier than others and, for many people, 'high breakfalls' - when someone sweeps your feet from under you or throws you into the mat without giving you the chance to do a normal backward or forward breakfall - are the scariest of all!

I just discovered this rather good example of how to work your way up from very simple rolling falls to very dramatic whizzing-through-the-air breakfalls. I shall be introducing a few of these exercises into our Aikido classes here in North Devon soon so my students may want to study this video closely. In the meantime, I hope it goes without saying that, without proper instruction, you should not even attempt these. So, for the time being, watch but don't do!