Ashford Aikido Club is the sole club in Traditional Aikido Ryu (TAR). TAR is affiliated to the UK Shinwakai Aikido, which is a member of the British Aikido Board.
How old do I have to be?
Club members have ranged from 16-79 years in age.
How fit and healthy do I have to be?
Aikido is practised by people with all ranges of fitness. If you are in any doubt about your health and whether you should try aikido, then you should check with your doctor beforehand. Let us know if you have any medical conditions we should be aware of. We train recognising everyone needs to go to work the next day.
How much does it cost to train?
You can pay mat fees in two ways:
Option 1 – Pay Monthly
We charge £26 monthly via a bank direct debit. .
Option – Pay on the night
Alternatively, we charge £7 per night mat fee. This works out as £3.50/hour.
You don’t need to buy weapons, as the club has a supply you can use when you train. You’re welcome to use your own jo and bokken if you wish.
You can start by wearing T shirts and tracksuit bottoms, but it’s best to wear a dogi (a white judo or karate outfit). You can buy one from some high street sports shops or from a specialist martial arts supplier. We have a trade account with a martial arts supplier, so we sometimes do an order for members at wholesale price.
Insurance and club membership fees
Everyone needs to be insured. Annual club membership (which provides your insurance through the British Aikido Board) in costs just £30 per year.
For beginners, we offer an initial one month’s insurance cover for £3. If you decide Aikido isn’t for you, then you haven’t wasted a lot of money.
Optional day courses
During the year, our aikido association holds optional day-long (10.00 -16.00) Saturday courses, where students and senseis from all the clubs train together. You could also attend other courses hosted by experienced senseis from Japan and Europe.
Do you take children?
Children aged 16 years can join the adult’s club and we will also consider children from 14 years and above. We are currently looking to start a class for children aged 10-18 years old.
We also recommend the children’s class at Kurai Aikido Club, which accepts children between 6-17 years.
About the Coaches
Jerry Newton 4th Dan
Sensei Jerry Newton trained at the Birdwing Aikido Club by Leslie White and Jim Johnstone.
Sensei Newton has studied Aikido in Denmark, Japan and the UK. He practiced under Morihiro Saito Sensei at the Iwama dojo (in Japan) and in Denmark. He has also practiced under Senseis Paolo Corallini, Ulf Evenås and other notable Senseis.
Ellis Pratt 3rd Dan
Sensei Ellis Pratt started his martial arts training in Aikido, in May 1993. He trained at the Birdwing Aikido Club under instruction from Senseis White, Johnstone and Brown. He was awarded his Shodan (1st Dan) in May 2001 and his Nidan (2nd Dan) in December 2004 . He passed the course for Coaching Children in 1999 and his BAB Coach Award in 2003. Ellis has gained experience of different aspects of Aikido by attending seminars held across the country. He has also trained in Denmark and Germany.
Glenn Karpel 3rd Dan
Sensei Glenn Karpel started his martial arts career in Judo in 1970. He also studied Wing Chun for a period. From 1983 – 1988 he practised Aiki-Jitsu with the Budo Kai becoming proficient in Tai-Jitsu and Weapons. Returning to Martial Arts in 1999 he practised Aikido with the Kai Shin Kai Traditional Aikido organisation and was a Bo Jitsu Instructor at club level. In 2002 he moved to the Traditional Aikido Ryu association training under Senseis Les White, Jim Johnstone and Neil Brown.
Sensei Glenn Karpel was awarded Sandan in July 2010, Shodan in May 2004, and Level 1 Coach in October 2004.
Sensei Karpel has gained broad experience of the various aspects of Aikido by visiting different clubs (Shinwakai, Institue of Aikido, Yoshinkan, Aikikai) and regularly attending many seminars in the UK. These instructors include Terada Shihan, Ulf Evenås and Hitohiro Saito Sensei, Pat Hendricks and other notable Senseis. He has also trained in Germany at the Takemusu Aiki Association dojo and in Paris at Shihan Christian Tissier’s dojo.
About the Honorary Life President Les White 6th Dan
Sensei Leslie White started his Aikido training in April 1962 at the Abbe School of Budo (The Hut). The founder was Sensei Kenshiro Abbe (8th Dan). His teacher was Sensei K Williams (2nd Dan) who was also the National Coach for Great Britain.
He is one of the few students in Great Britain to hold the certificate of Dan Grading signed by the founder of Aikido – Morihei Ueshiba. Sensei White was graded to 1st Dan by Sensei Nakozano (7th Dan) on 10 December 1965. He was graded to 2nd Dan by Sensei Noro (7th Dan) in Paris on 8 July 1973. Sensei White was awarded 3rd Dan in 1979, 4th Dan in 1989 and 5th Dan in 1993.
In 1975, Sensei White founded the British Airways Aikido club (now renamed Ashford Aikido club).
Sensei White now lives and trains in Cornwall.
When a student shows sufficient skill in basic techniques they will be offered the chance to grade. The syllabus is set by the senior instructors, and gradings are performed in front of the class. An overview of the gradings are given below:
5th Kyu – Yellow Belt
4th Kyu – Orange Belt
3rd Kyu – Green Belt
2nd Kyu – Blue Belt
1st Kyu – Brown Belt
1st Dan – Black Belt
2nd Dan – Black Belt
There is normally a 6 months gap between gradings (longer for the higher belts) and it takes about 6 years to become a 1st Dan.