Training in Melbourne Australia at the Shudokan school of Aikido allows you to meet some interesting people coming from all parts of the globe to train as a fulltime student. And when you notice how many people train, chat and take them out on the weekends it’s amazing to see the impact and difference they make to the dojo life. So when I planned to travel Europe and eventually settle down and work somewhere in the UK, I made sure there was time to be a full time student amongst my travels. After seeing and hearing stories of what a dojosei’s life encompasses, I had some idea of what to expect going into this lifestyle.
One thing that I was not ready for were the morning 6am classes. It was hard to get motivated at such an hour, especially when it was the middle of an English winter, but once you are up and running it’s an enjoyable class. The sense of accomplishment I felt afterwards was well worth it. It did take a couple of weeks to climatise to training every class, but every week was different and came with its own challenge.
One thing that really motivated me during the week was the kid’s classes after school and on the weekend. Like anything new in their lives, kids are always inquisitive about new things. The first class was full of “who are you?” questions but by the last class the questions changed to “why are you going?” Learning how to teach came with its own challenges too, from keeping control of the kids to gaining respect from your pupils. It was difficult at first as your confidence in your abilities had to be bulletproof, but I soon found myself slowly growing into it and becoming far more confident on and off the mats. I met some amazing people in being a fulltime student in Nottingham, and had some experiences that I will never forget.
Sensei Tadashi is an amazing instructor and there is a place at this dojo no matter what the level. The students here really make you feel welcome and a part of the dojo in your home away from home. Now if only they could do something about the weather!