My Aikido journey began Jan 2011 two years ago this month.After months of research into many martial arts I decided that Aikido as thethinking man’s martial art was the art form that I was going to study, however my next task was to find the right Dojo.

I visited several Nottingham Dojo’s and met many good instructors along the way but I was looking for something different, I did not want to be just a number in a large Dojo, I wanted the personal touch of a dedicated teacher that loves the art form and cares about their students, this is when I came across Sensei Tadashi Narita and the Shoshinkan. I telephoned Sensei Tad the next day and spent literally an hour on the phone bending his ear about the Dojo and the teaching syllabus and Sensei Tad was patient and he arranged my first Aikido taster lesson.

The following week I arrived at the Dojo feeling quite nervous not knowing what to expect, at the time I was 33 and I hadn’t felt this way since my University final exams many years earlier, however I was greeted by Sensei Tad and the other students with open arms. My taster lesson was taken by Naoko San an experienced black belt who spent the next hour with me teaching me some of the basic Kihon Dhosa movements of Aikido with great patience and confidence and I was convinced this was where I wanted to learn Yoshinkan Aikido. I immediately signed up for my first three month beginner’s course and ordered my white pyjamas.

It is now January 2013 and I am still in my white pyjamas most Mondays and Wednesdays studying Yoshinkan Aikido in one of the best Dojos in the country, and in my opinion the best Dojo in the East Midlands. I am progressing at a pace that suits my hectic work and family schedule but still aiming to grade to 3rd Kyu (Brown Belt) this February. Something that you may hear in the Dojo a lot is OSU (or OOOOOOSS as its pronounced). This seems to have many meanings, from acknowledging a command to other things like ‘I must push myself’ OR ‘Please be patient with me’. I like to think Osu is a spiritual word that lifts you as an Aikido student to excel and demonstrate what you can do for yourself.

If you are thinking about studying a martial art or specifically Aikido I can highly recommend Sensei Tad and Aikido Shoshinkan for you to begin your Aikido journey.

So what are waiting for, come and join me on the mats.

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