Hi! This is Tony Wilden. I'm grateful for the opportunity to provide you with valuable information about martial arts and self defence to help YOU choose a good instructor and martial arts club.
I'm a 5th Dan in aikido, and chief instructor of the Arun Aikido Club which I founded in 1992. I am also a pressure point self defence instructor, and have run the Aikido Health Centre website online since 2002.
I've been studying aikido, self defence, health, and spirituality for 30+ years. And, in that time, I have learned that martial arts and self defence are the subject of much confusion.
In fact, people have so many mistaken ideas about it that I decided to offer this consumer awareness guide to HELP YOU make an informed, intelligent decision when selecting an instructor and martial arts club.
Here, you'll learn 4 costly mistakes about martial arts, I will give you my 4 key recommendations, and also 8 important questions you should ask an instructor before considering taking classes or lessons with them.
Mistake #1: All martial arts clubs have fully qualified instructors.
No... unfortunately this is not the case. There are thousands of martial arts clubs all over the UK, and their instructors have a wide range of so-called 'teaching qualifications'.
This can range from instructors who, at first glance, may seem qualified, to those that are highly qualified. You'll have to sort the good from the bad, or suffer the consequences.
A good instructor should be skilled,
experienced, fully-qualified, and able to teach essential
principles, basic techniques, advanced techniques, and how to adapt
them to make them more effective in a variety of situations.
Mistake #2: You should join a club that has lots of students.
No... this is not necessarily the right thing to do. Many clubs have lots of students. Often it is because classes are cheap or that they are willing to grade their students too easily.
In fact, quick grading tests are a common way of getting extra money out of you. You'll pay extra for gradings, belts, tabs on belts, certificates, etc. Unfortunately, you wouldn't have to look far to find martial arts clubs that use these methods to get and keep students.
Are you willing to risk working with a club that offers you the lowest price, a grading every few weeks, and give belts out like sweets.
Or... do you want to work with an honest, reputable club that is focused on helping you develop and improve your skills?
Mistake #3: Martial Arts training makes people violent.
Not true... although there are some exceptions, the vast majority of
martial artists are very peaceful people who have learned that it is far
better to resolve differences and avoid unnecessary conflict.
are some clubs that show students how to harm others, without teaching
them how to control aggression. A club that has strict rules about
student behaviour, manners, and etiquette is a good choice.
How we treat others in our training, also reflects in our daily lives.
Mistake #4: All martial arts instructors can teach you self defence.
Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case, and it is best to know this now rather than find out in the street where you can get seriously hurt.
Many instructors teach unrealistic moves that won't work in a violent street attack. It is better to find an instructor who has real world experience in self protection, or who has trained with someone who has.
Many martial arts techniques can be
adapted to be far more effective, but you need an instructor that knows
how to do it.
So, as you can imagine, every martial arts club is different. If you're thinking about joining a club or having some lessons, I offer you the following...
Recommendation #1: What Do You Want From Your Training?
Some of the benefits of regular training are... increased self confidence, improved concentration, deeper relaxation, reduced stress, more discipline, flexibility, stamina, speed, strength.
Motivational aids like badges, gradings, and certificates are important but not the main reason to practise. You should also have
experience a sense of community as you develop real skills.
Make a commitment to yourself to get signed up for martial arts and self defence. The longer you leave it, the less likely you are to take action.
Recommendation #2: Check Out Several Local Clubs.
It is important to have a good look around your area before deciding which club is the right for you. Go and watch a class, the instructors, see how they practise, and think whether you would fit in well or not.
Recommendation #3: Ask Questions.
The way you learn about a club is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers, before making an important decision.
#4: Make Your Decision and Take Action
Once you are satisfied that you are working with an honest,
competent professional, then take out club membership and enjoy your
If you have any concerns, speak up, a good instructor is there to help you overcome any obstacles that may come up during your training.
By following these recommendations, you'll gain the knowledge that you will need to make an informed, intelligent decision.
Here are 8 questions that I suggest you ask an instructor before considering making a commitment to training with them...
1 - How long has the club been operating?
2 - What personal training have you had in martial arts and self defence?
3 - What instructor training courses have you completed?
4 - Are you a member of any martial arts associations and which ones?
5 - Are you certified by a governing body and can I see your certificates?
6 - Are your instructors first aid qualified?
7 - Have your instructors been crb checked? (criminal records bureau) This check is now known as dbs (disclosure and barring service)
- Do your students have individual insurance cover, does your club have
public liability insurance, and can I see your certificate?
The Arun Aikido Club may be a good choice for you. Our instructors are fully qualified, insured, first aid certified, crb checked, and experienced.
We offer you a friendly, relaxed, family atmosphere to train in!
We teach traditional aikido techniques, but unlike many clubs, we also explain the principles, and theory involved. This is important because it will help you understand and learn at a much faster rate.
Unfortunately, in many martial arts clubs, the best stuff is reserved for the 'inner circle'. But that's not the case at our club. We are willing to teach advanced skills, and you'll practise with our black belt instructors.
We offer aikido classes, self defence seminars, and private lessons in aikido, aiki principles, self protection, pressure points & power development.
You are welcome to come along to our training hall on thursday evenings at the Holy Cross Community Centre, 330 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Our junior aikido classes are for ages 7-15 years - 6.00-7.30pm.
And... our adult aikido classes for ages 16 years+ - 7.30-9.15pm
On your first visit, take our 10 minute consultation without obligation. We will answer your questions, and discuss your individual requirements.
If you want to try aikido your 1st class is absolutely free, and you'll have up to 4 classes before deciding whether to become a club member or not.
Students who join us receive a membership pack, which includes... a welcome letter, general rules, grading syllabus, hardback membership book, excellent insurance cover, and regular newsletters.
Our instructors will work with you to help develop your skills.
We only hold gradings twice a year, because martial arts training isn't about chasing belts. A dojo is a place where destruction of the ego takes place. Develop skills and become a valuable member of the community.
I hope you found this martial arts consumer awareness guide helpful.
You are most welcome to come along to our dojo on thursday evenings and take your 10 minute consultation and 1st class absolutely free!
For more information visit Arun Aikido Club
If you have any questions or comments Click Here
On behalf of the Arun Aikido Club, I thank you for your kind attention.
Sensei Tony J. Wilden 5th Dan
Founder/Instructor Arun Aikido Club
Pressure Point Self Defence Instructor