Monday, 4 February 2008

Our club - the very beginning

Apart from the grading and starting of the children's aikido classes, our club had also happened to be exactly two years old on the 27th January 2008 so now I take the opportunity and write about how it started.

In 2005, thanks to a friend, it turned out that there are more than one aikidoka in London who used to train at the same organisation in Hungary. It was time we met and continue what we had started before and train together. The first time we met with Karesz (aka. Karol, Charlie san, Sensei :)) was very similar to the current, regular after-training events: we went for a beer. We discussed (among many other things :)) that we should find a club and train together. So we started looking for a good club. He looked where he lived and I looked where I could. However, finding a good club wasn't very easy and quick process, given that our financial situation caused some restrictions in terms of travelling distances and training fees as well.

So in the beginning we decided to train on our own where no fees needed to be paid: in the park. With Szabi's arrival, there were four of us so that made two pairs which was almost perfect for us. Karesz, Szabi, Heni (my wife) and me went to the Bishops park near Putney bridge and trained in several weekends of the autumn of 2005, obviously, when the weather allowed us to. There were several people in the park looking at us rolling and flying. We didn't wear our gi on the grass so that's why it was only 'several' people staring. As winter came, the park had become more and more muddy and wet so we had to stop these outdoor trainings.

In the meantime, we visited several clubs. Since we trained in Aikikai style which is the traditional aikido style currently overseen by the founder's grandson, Ueshiba Moriteru, we wanted to find an aikikai aikido club. There weren't a lot of them, and we had also seen several 'aikido' trainings which weren't really resembling to what we had seen and learned from our 3-4th dan masters previously. Maybe these training were just too different and they weren't what we needed but we always thanked them for letting us watch the training (I sometimes participated as well) but then did not return. We also found a good training in Maida Vale led by a 6th dan master. We even attended trainings for roughly a month but for some reason neither Karesz nor me felt that it was the training we want to settle in. Although a bit different, they were technically very good, but I felt something wasn't right with the atmosphere. It might have been just me, someone who wasn't ready to accept a training which was not exactly the same as the trainings I was used to (my former master had even warned me about this) but at the end, we just simply stayed away.

Our trainings, however, had to continue because having skipped 2 years and having tasted trainings again I wanted to continue my aikido studies and Karesz and Szabi didn't want to lose their (aikido) shape :). We decided to look for a place where we can rent a large room and mats for an hour and train as we could. We had a 1st dan and 1st kyu in our group so to keep up our levels it was fine. Karesz was the person who found a place to train. It was in the Open door community center in Southfields (the aikido listed in their website is something very different). It was there where we first trained as a 'club' on 27th January 2006. There were three of us plus a friend as spectator.

The first aikido training in Southfields. Note the smiles :).

Not much later, other friends and friends of friends joined and started their aikido studies. After a couple of months, we moved to the Holistic Fitness studio in Wimbledon and have been training there ever since but I'll write about that when it will be two years since starting trainings there.


Charlie san said...

I love this article....dunno why :o))))

Zolley said...

Just wait until I upload the ushiro ukemi video :D Will you love that too? :D

Martina said...

Keep up the good work.