Oak Aikido Instructors
and Qualifications of White Oak Aikido
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.
Thackeray - Senior Instructor White Oak Aikido
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 started
teaching Aikido at Reading University in 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.
I was a direct
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
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.
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,
to whoever is prepared to take any notice,
and seeing people develop and benefit.
In addition to
Aikido, I also train regularly in Tai Chi and Qi
Gong, as well as teaching weekly classes in Qi
Gong (Chi Gung) at
Community Centre in Basingstoke (map),
well as longer Qi
Gong Workshops in Bramley every couple of
months. I sometimes train in Bagua and, some years
ago, I also briefly studied Karate.
Trish Matthews -
Assistant Senior Instructor White Oak Aikido
Member comment: 'Theyíre all very good
teachers at White Oak Aikido Ė patient,
friendly and professional.'
I 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 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
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 change how you connect to the
world around you, although these benefits can
only come from training that stays true to its
and a system underpinned by realistic,
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."
book on Amazon with some impressive pictures
of her practising bokken on Everest.
'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
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
Aikido Board Coach Level 1 in 2011,
my 1st Dan in 2012
and my 2nd dan in 2020.
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.'
Morton - Assistant Instructor White Oak
Aikido training in 2008 and was graded 1st
dan in 2020, having also gained my British
Coach Level 1 in 2011. I came
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
1st dan and British
Aikido Board Coach Level 1.
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.'
Discover the martial art of
Aikido in Reading:
Chi Gung (Qi
Gong) workshops in Bramley near Basingstoke,
Newbury and Reading