News Update 22nd August

Training Focus

The training focus for the week is curriculum and testing.If you still need tags then do what it takes to get through the door.

Summer Competitions

Clic Sargent competion

Only ten days left to get your Peel 2 Save orders in. We will need your completed order form to enter you into the competition so make sure you get in filled in and handed in to us as soon as possible.

The winning Junior or Cadet will be able to claim a complete weapon set (A bokken, jo tanto and bag) as their prize.

The winning Little Dragon will get to walk away with the noble Sensei Bear, the Aiki-Teddy.

Holiday Kamai

Time is also running out to submit your Holiday Kamai photos. Photos must be handed in by Saturday 3rd September to enter the prize draw.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Steven Covey


See you on the mat,

Sensei Matt Thurman Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham 


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News Update 4th August and Advice on Breaking Through Your Limitations

Battle Re-Enactment Training Day

Today is the day we train our Juniors and Cadets in the art of war! All being well and weather permiting the battle will take place on Thursday 11th August at Bestwood Park.

After training today the Students will be given some materials to take home and use make themselves their own shield for the big day.

We will also set some homework for the Students, asking them to write a short essay, about half a side of A4, on The Spartans, their way of life and the sprirt of a warrior. Essays that meet all 3 points will earn the writer the Heritage Badge.

Breaking Through Your Limitations

A wise phrase reads, “No one who has led a life of ease has a name worth remembering.” The lives of some of the most remarkable martial artists are woven with stories of great personal struggle. One of the qualities they all shared was relentless enthusiasm and optimism. We can all admire and learn from their unwavering positive attitudes. I don’t mean that we should adopt a “Pollyanna” attitude, and claim that the glass is half full when it is really empty. Instead, like these great martial artists, we could all benefit during our difficult moments, if we remember that, “this too shall pass.”

Control your reactions

Life always contains cycles of good times and bad. During either period, we only have control over one thing— our own behaviour—specifically, our reaction. Realizing this truth, great martial artists choose to develop habits, which lead them in the directions they wish to go. Once they determine their path, they stay diligent in their disciplines and choices. Everyone has heard the phrase, “attitude is everything,” but nothing sums up this concept as succinctly as the Japanese phrase, “Kaizen.” More than just a word, Kaizen represents a philosophy of commitment. The person makes a resolution to never stop improving.

Use your practice as a tool for disciplining and developing your body, as well as a means to building a strong and powerful attitude.

Seize every opportunity

A person with a weak will might hear about constant never-ending improvement and immediately think, “Nothing will ever be good enough. No matter how hard I try, I will always have to improve.” This same idea would have the opposite effect on an optimistic and enthusiastic martial artist. He understands the philosophy as an opportunity to continuously grow and strive for his fullest potential. He doesn’t judge or get frustrated by errors. Optimists correct and improve their behaviour, and perceive this as an opportunity. Pessimists see this same act, as proof that they are failing.


See you on the mat soon,

Sensei Matt Thurman Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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Achieving Mastery & News update 13 Jun

Training focus for the week

Focus for this week is curriculum. The Friday 30 minute weapon slot will be Jo with the Bokken on Saturday

Sword Cutting

Today the 13th of Jun  is the last day to order mats for sword cutting on 24th of this month. Dojo 2 will be set up for sword cutting from 1300 onwards. If you have mats to cut just come along any time, it doesn’t have to be during lesson time.

50+ Aikido

Soon we will be rolling out an Aikido programme for age 50 plus. This system will exactly mirror our current curriculum except there will be no rolling or flip falling. Our current students age 50 plus can stay where they are if they are happy tp do so. or they can switch to our new classes which will be in Dojo 2 on Tuesday and Thursday from 1 - 2.00pm and on Friday at 6.30pm there will also be a Friday weapons class made available for this group.
This will be a perfect vehicle to provide physical exercise and mental stimulation to mature students without exposing them to the risks of falling and rolling. If you know of anyone that may benefit or be interested in this programme then please pass the word on. More information will be available soon.

Private lessons now available

Private lessons are going to be made available. There will be two slots per week which may be booked on a first come first served basis. The lessons will be with me and will include a 45 min class, video footage will be taken followed be a 15 minute video debrief. The video will then be made available to  you as a reference. The two time slots are Wednesday and Friday 1 - 2 pm. The cost will be £120.00 for basic members and £20.00 for BBC.

Collecting email addresses

Please keep emailing in your email address at We can only do so much by text and not everyone checks the blog so email will be a good medium to ensure we communicate with you as effectivly as possible.

7 steps to mastery

Steps 3 & 4

3. Perseverance

At first glance, perseverance might seem the same as patience, but they are different principles. Perseverance means that you practice regularly. You come to class two to three times a week consistently.

A student was coming to class only 2 or 3 times a month. His teacher asked him about his inconsistent attendance, and he responded with a smile, “Sir, I am patient. I plan to practice for the rest of my life, so I am not in a hurry.” His teacher explained that patience is a great quality, but skipping classes slows progress. When practice becomes inconsistent, making excuses for staying away becomes easier. The most successful long-term students are those who stick to a consistent weekly routine from the very beginning-no excuses!

A serious martial artist cultivates

mindfulness in all phases of his life.

4. Practice Hard

Prepare to push yourself-body and mind. During class, you will sweat, and push your body to its limits. Mentally focus on your techniques with such intensity, that you have no room for any of the day-to-day problems and frustrations you might have brought with you.

With effort, you will begin to break through physical limitations. You will begin to feel more confident, and your new assurance will carry over into other areas of your life. When you train your body and mind together, you are preparing to take on life and its challenges. Cultivate an attitude of discipline and concentration in class. Don’t allow yourself to locus on anything else but your practice. Drop the outside world at the door. With a break from your regular life, a clearer, more objective perspective will come into view. You’ll be able to see solutions to your problems with fresh eyes.

Role Model Day

Friday 17th June is the kids’ Role Model Day. The students can bring along anyone from the family that they look up to and we’ll all get on the mat and have some well deserved fun. Come and see what we are teaching our young students. On the following Monday 20 come back and look at things from an adult perspective.

Outdoor Weapons

Saturday 18th June is the Juniors’ Outdoor Weapons Day. The class will be between the usual times of 10:30 and 11:30. We’ll take the Juniors up to Woodthorpe Park with a load of wooden weapons and have some fun in the sun. This event is open to guests so bring a buddy.


“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.”

Hyman Rickover


Sensei Ken Robson Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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Achieving mastery in 7 steps

This week, steps 1 & 2


1.       Find a good teacher

The first step to take after deciding to pursue the study of any subject should be to find a person who has already accomplished greatness in that field. Do not waste time trying to, “reinvent the wheel.” You can learn many topics from books, videos, the internet, etc. To effectively study martial arts, though, you must be face to face with a teacher. The other resources can supplement the process, but real learning happens on the floor, through trial and error and personal experience.


A strong body plus a strong mind

equals a strong future.


Because this is such a logical first step, why don’t most of us first consult those who have walked the path ahead of us before starting a new endeavour? The biggest reason is we are excited to be starting something new. We can’t wait to begin. Another reason is that we fear that by consulting others, our creative juices will be stifled. Lastly, we just don’t want to share the credit for the accomplishment. We want to feel like we did everything on our own. Our ego makes us believe that climbing a mountain with a guide cannot possibly be as satisfying as climbing solo.

A great teacher enhances learning, helping you to get the skills you need as fast as possible. With enough practice, you will reach a point where you no longer struggle with the basic techniques. When you have mastered technique, you have the freedom to become an artist. Remember, you must be a great technician before you can be an artist.


2.       Patience

After you have found a great teacher, the next requirement is to be patient. Our society demands immediate gratification. The quicker the better! We have blazing fast internet connections and powerful microwaves to cook our food faster. We can even buy peanut butter and jam in the same jar, to optimize our sandwich-making experience! Impatience is an epidemic in our culture.


If you are not living the way that you want to live, what must you change to make your life exactly as you want it to be?


We despise slow beginnings, but the true study of martial arts takes time. You must be patient; you are not going to master your techniques quickly. You won’t get into shape overnight. Impatience is the number one reason why people quit their practice. We are a society with short attention spans. People quit activities at the drop of a hat. In any field, find the person who is at the top. The master of any discipline has immense staying power. They could not have reached the heights of greatness without patience.


Next week, parts 3 & 4


Sensei Matt

Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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The Power of the Breath

The Power of the Breath

Breathing is a very important component of your practice. Breath gives your techniques explosive power. In stressful situations, you can use it to relax nerves, helping you to be more calm and peaceful. Being a great martial artist without having control over the breath is impossible.

The first and most basic breathing exercise is called seca tunda or hara breathing. In the West, speech and voice coaches call this diaphragm breathing. The goal is to fill the entire lungs from the bottom up, and then to completely empty them from the top down. This is how we should breath during our meditation at the start of class. Most people breathe in their chest using shallow inhalations. The oxygen only fills the top of the lungs leaving the lower area unused or holding stale air.

By breathing deeply, you more effectively oxygenate the blood stream. This benefits the heart and other internal organs as well as the muscles of the entire body.

To practice seca tunda or diaphragm breathing, lie on your back and place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Start by exhaling completely.

As you begin to inhale, the hand on your stomach should rise, but do not let the hand on your chest move at all.

Pause for a count of three, and then begin your exhalation. The hand on your stomach should fall as you exhale. Again, do not let the hand on your chest move at all.

When your exhalation is complete, pause again for a count of three, and then repeat the process.


Having difficulty in the beginning is normal. You might feel that you aren’t getting a full satisfying breath. You aren’t. This is an exercise that will help you breathe deeper.

You do not breathe this way all the time. By practicing this exercise, you will recondition yourself to breathe from the bottom all the way up, and then to exhale from the top all the way down. You will become accustomed to filling the lungs from the bottom. Then, you can breathe deeply using all of your lungs. When you use all of your lungs at all times, you are more energetic and able to better handle stressful situations.

Key points:

Do not practice seca tunda breathing on a full stomach.

Wait at least one hour after eating.

In the beginning, practice for a total of only five to ten minutes.

Inhalations and exhalations should be equal in time and duration. As you perform the exercise, the breath will naturally slow.

Practice your seca tunda breathing daily, with great discipline. Do not get discouraged-you have been breathing in the upper chest for many years. Retraining the body will take time.

When you have learned the technique, periodically monitor your breathing throughout the day. If you notice that your breath is not deep and relaxed, filling the entire lungs, practice this technique again.

The breath is such an important component in martial arts and life that in later lessons, we will continue the topic. Remember–the battle is within.


Sensei Ken

Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham


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