News Update Monday 25th January

Training Focus

This week is Grading week, so the daily focus will be Curriculum training. Here is the module schedule for the week.

Monday: Jo

Tuesday: Tanto

Wednesday: Self Defence

Thursday: Sword

Friday: Ukemi

Saturday: Dynamic

Kids Grading Modules

Just a reminder of the what we will be grading the kids on this month.


Little Dragons

Style Vs Style Pt. 2

Sport, Science or Art

Of course, the longer you study martial arts — any style of martial arts — the longer you practice, the more apparent it becomes that it is so much more than fighting. In fact, the ability to fight effectively is a mere consequence. Let’s analyse it. If the objective of martial arts was just to successfully compete in contests of skill, then wouldn’t it be called martial sport? If the objective was to hone an efficient means of fighting technique, then shouldn’t it be called martial science? Wouldn’t we be martial technicians? But no, this has always been designated and referred to as an art. What does it mean to be an artist? While mastery of technique is necessary; and desire, will and execution are expected, ultimately, artists act to express themselves, to produce or arrange sound, colour, form, movement, or other elements in a creative manner. It may not make for an exciting action movie, but martial arts is about creating something of unique aesthetic value, not about destroying your enemy.

Look at the names of several traditional styles. Judo is translated as the gentle way. Kung Fu means achievement through effort or wisdom through skill. Karate translates as empty hand, although some masters say that the original characters meant using the hand or body to empty the self. Aikido means the way of harmony. All of the great masters, from Tamo Bodidharma (founder of Kung Fu) in the 6th century on, have stressed that martial arts is a path of personal transformation that ultimately leads to self-realization.

Ego Enhancement is the Antithesis of Martial Arts

From this perspective, the question, which style is the most effective? is meaningless. What reason would two martial artists — serious martial artists who practice their art diligently and passionately — have for fighting with one another? Through practice, they develop the discipline and self-control to be able to deal with most situations without resorting to blows. The thrill of competition? If the essence of martial arts is personal transformation that ultimately leads to self-realization, then practice is designed to minimize and ultimately destroy the ego. Entertaining concepts of victory and defeat is counter-productive.

Unfortunately, today there are far too many people claiming to be martial artists who are perpetually training for the enhancement of their egos, for the pride of victory, boasting that they are the toughest or that their style is the best, ready to fight anyone that challenges them. Although these people may be great fighters, they have not yet realized that, in martial arts as in life itself, the real battle is within.


“Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.”



Sensei Matt Thurman – Aikido Nottingham

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News Update Tuesday 11th November

Training Focus

Here is the training focus for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: Nikkajo & Tanto

Wednesday: Hijiate & Self Defence

Thursday: Tenshinage & Sword

Friday: Kotegaeshi & Dynamic Practice

Saturday: Shomen Iriminage & Free Practice

Kids’ Modules

In the month of November the Kids are being tested on Module 2 of their curriculum


Little Dragons

November Mat Chat Themes

Event Updates

Outdoor Self Defence

We need an idea of how many people are going to be attending the event! If you are going to be coming along and if you are bringing friends please let us know as soon as possible.

Dog Walk

The dog walk is CANCELLED!


Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

Harvey Fierstein


Sensei Matt Thurman – Aikido Nottingham

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News Update Thursday 4th April

What is World of Warpath?

So what will you be?

A Samurai? Fierce and unrelenting. A Ninja? A deadly but vulnerable attacker. A Mage? The master of elements. Or perhapse a Merchant? After all, from who does the fighter get their weapon?

Choose your path!

Summer School 2013

We are taking names for Summer School #20! This promises to be the best Summer School yet with many high-grade Black Belt examinations taking place and a vibrant social scene.

If you want to put your name down for this awesome event contact us on 01159856504 or Places will need to be secured with a deposit to guarentee entry.


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News Update Monday 18th March

Training Focus

This week is curriculum week. A time to train YOUR techniques, get on the mat!


Comic Relief fundraiser

Sensei Matt will still shave his head if the kids can raise £100 for comice relief by Friday. Bring your donataions in to the front desk.

For every frind that you bring to class the Dojo will donate £5 to the fund.

Little Dragon Easter Egg Hunt

Dragons only! The Easter Bunny has lost his eggs at the Dojo and needs help finding them again. The search will be friday 5th April.


Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything

George Bernard Shaw


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham

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News Update Friday 8th June

Training Focus

Wednesday: Ikkajo

Thursday: Nikkajo

Friday: Sankajo and Jo

Saturday: Yonkajo and Shinai

Junior/Cadet Weapon

Because we were closed yesterday, the Junior/Cadet weapon class will be on Thursday. The weapon is BOKKEN.

Kids’ Outdoor Weapons

The outdoor weapons training for the Juniors and Cadets has been moved forward to Saturday 16th June so we can join in with the festival in Woodthorpe Park!

We will be leaving the dojo to walk to the park at 10:30 sharp. You can either meet as there or walk down with the group.

Mat Chat

Junior/Cadet Testing Module


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Akademy - Aikido Nottingham

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News Update Tuesday 8th May

Training Focus

This Week’s Trainging focus is as follows;

Tuesday; Sankajo Shihonage/Tenchinage
Wednesday; Yonkajo
Thursday; Shihonage/Tenchinage Sankajo
Friday; Kotegaeshi and Jo
Saturday; Hijiate and Shinai

Summer School


Adult Summer School is from Thursday 28th June to Sunday 1st July.

This is a fantastic training opportunity with 3 world class instructors on the mat plus many more school owners. Whether you are a white belt on your first lesson or a 6th degree black belt there will be plenty of things being given for you to make your Aikido better.

If you want to book your place, call us now on 0115 9856 504


Junior/Cadet Summer School is on Tuesday and Wednesday 14th and 15th August. We are gonna do loads of cool and exciting techniques and exercises including loads of things we don’t do in normal classes.

We need to get names on the guest list as soon as possible as it is first come first served.

Little Dragons

The Little Dragons Summer School is on Monday 13th August. We’ve got loads of stuff for the kids to keep them entertained so if your looking for something to do during the summer holidays, Summer School is perfect.

Knife Defence Day

Friday 18th May.

Learn how to keep yourself safe with the growing amount of knife crime. Self defence is a key skill that you should know if you like to go out with your friends on a regular basis so feel free to give us a call and ask about this free session.


Sensei Matt, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham

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Mushin Part 1

Why do people practice martial arts? What do they want to achieve? What’s their goal? When they walk into a dojo, many of them are looking for a system of self-defence. Or maybe they want to get into better shape. Or they want to be able to master an art. Or they want to be able to do something with their bodies that is so powerful and so beautiful that it seems almost magical.

The student enters the dojo environment with all these expectations and more. They hope to master many things, and they expect to be able to monitor their own progress as time goes on. How? The martial arts ranking system. A student moves up in rank as their skill improves; everyone knows that. You get a series of coloured belts that are meant to signify improvement. Every white belt wants to be a yellow belt, every yellow belt wants to be a green belt, every green belt wants to be a brown belt and, of course, everybody wants to be a black belt.

If you face an opponent, you cannot be in Mushin. There are no opponents where there are no thoughts.

Over the past 30 years, the industry has helped promote the idea that every student’s goal is black belt. And with that expectation, it becomes the master’s job is to take raw students and produce black belt students. To some extent, a martial arts program is defined by how many people they train to the level of black belt. This plays very well to the Western mind-set. We love setting goals and keeping track of what we’re doing and where we’re going, how well we’re doing it and what we’re going to achieve next. We do it in our careers. We do it in our hobbies. We do it in our relationships. And so we do it in martial arts.

The problem is, ‘martial arts’ is not Western. Martial arts is ultimately about learning to change your state of consciousness, to develop new and more effective ways of seeing and thinking and acting. There is nothing linear about this type of education. You may be able to track your physical practice through a ranking system, but you cannot measure how practice changes you mentally or emotionally. There is no tool to measure consciousness. Focusing on a progression of coloured belts, advancing from point A to point B is less important, once we realize that martial arts is more than physical.

Going from Thought to No-Mind

The direct translation of Mushin is “no-mind.” This is a difficult concept. It’s especially difficult to think about or discuss. How do you discuss entering a state in which the mind isn’t active, when it’s the mind that is trying to process the information?

But that’s how we start. At the beginning, there’s thought, and lots of discussion. When you walk into a dojo, like walking down a path, you can’t skip ahead. You can’t start at the beginning and magically appear at the middle or the end. You have to take each step one at a time to proceed. So we start with thought and move toward a state of no-mind.

Most thoughts have an “I” connected to them, supporting the ego and individuality. Mushin being the state where thoughts cease, help connect us with the oneness.

The very first thing you must do in your practice is to learn to perform the techniques correctly. The kicks, the blocks, the punches, the forms — you must try to get your body to move accurately, correctly, skilfully. And the effort of trying demands that you think about it, intensely. So, in the beginning of your practice, a great deal of thought takes place. You consider each movement, analyze what’s correct and incorrect. You take notes, you ask questions, you practice your way through clumsiness and frustration until you begin to move fluidly, cleanly. And, at some point, if you’re patient, and you persevere and work hard and meditate, you begin to think fluidly and cleanly as well, and you start to be able to let the body just happen. I’m not saying it happens quickly, but I am suggesting that getting beyond the merely physical aspects of practice is the whole point of practice.

To the great masters, the goal of martial arts was not a black belt. The masters did not practice for trophies or rank. They practiced in order to achieve a state of consciousness. It doesn’t matter the style — karate, kung fu, tae kwon do, aikido. You don’t change what you’re practicing, you change how you’re practicing. More punches and more kicks are not going to lead you to a shift in consciousness. You cannot just train harder to get there. That will help your physical technique, but we’re talking about Mushin now, a state of mind.

Thinking is good except when you are supposed to be experiencing and feeling.

Read next Thursday’s post for part 2.


Sensei Matt, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham

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News Update Thursday 16th February

Dates for the Diary

Power Hour

Friday 24th February 

The aim is to demonstrate everything we do in one lesson. For current students this a brilliant reminder of the massive spectrum that we have to offer, for new people and guests see this as a chance to get to experience everything we do in Shudokan Aikido.

So to existing students, please bring a friend. To starngers, please come on down.

Bestwood Park

Saturday 25th February

On Saturday afternoon we are going for a stroll through Bestwood Park. We are meeting ath the Coach House in the park at 13:30 and the whole walk should take about 2 hours. Please bring family friends and the dog. Ooh and the camera as well.

Mother’s Day Training

Friday 16th March

Because families that flip together, stick together. We challenge you to come along with your child to join a special class for parents and help develop that familial tie that comes from a shared interest.

Red Nose Day

Saturday17th March

(Kid’s only I’m afraid) Come to class dressed in red and get sponsored to help raise money for charity. Our aim is for the entire class to have done 6,000 back drops. The more students we have on the mat, the harder it becomes. If every student gets sponsored just £1 per drop we can really make a difference! Join the cause and make a difference, ask Sensei Matt for a sponsorship form.

Safety and Awareness Course

Friday 23rd March

The evening class will be a course in the more preventative measures we should take in our self defence and take a look at the sort of things that may have to be dealt with in the workplace as opposed to the street.

Black Belt Tests

Saturday 24th March

Those testing in march are yours truly (Sensei Matt) & Martin Watt.

Please come along to show your support for the work put in and the end result. Black belt is off ten seen as the ultimate goal in martial arts and as a result it is all to easy to lose your way once you have achieved this great trophy. Be part of the audience that you would hope for when it’s your turn.

That’s all folks.


Sensei Matt, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham


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