Starting Aikido at White Oak
Welcome to Aikido!
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 anything wrong. 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
| Training Options for
Start when you want!
Taster session - Free.
Aikido Foundations Course.
Eight-week course £60
Already decided Aikido is for you? Register
and pay online today.
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
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 our basic techniques and
exercises video, which enables you to continue
your study of Aikido at home or if you have to
miss a class; the online Club Handbook, which
gives you loads of information about Aikido and
the club; and a number of aids to training - your
martial arts insurance is also included in the
cost. The eight-week Foundations Course costs £60.
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
All 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 grades.
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.
Aikido students 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
understanding 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
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