News Update Monday 11th January

Training Focus

Monday: Hijiate & Self Defence

Tuesday: Tenshinage & Sword

Wednesday: Nikkajo & Ukemi

Thursday: Kotegaeshi & Dynamic

Friday: Shihonage & Jo

Saturday Shomen Iriminage & Tanto

Style Vs Style Pt. 1

Martial arts has always had a very broad meaning. Martial arts may refer to karate, aikido, judo, ju jitsu, kung fu, tai chi, tae kwon do, hapkido, kendo — in fact, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of styles of martial arts. Some are well-developed, well known styles taught in schools internationally, while many styles are indigenous to a specific rural village, taught and practiced only there for centuries and unknown to the rest of the world. Some arts specialize in kicking, while other focus on hand strikes and trapping. Some are throwing arts and others grapple — concentrating primarily on ground fighting. Although these styles and systems vary in origin — coming from China, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, as well as from other countries throughout Asia and elsewhere — they all teach martial technique, either empty handed or with a weapon.

Only a small number of these styles have successfully migrated to America, and only a fraction of those have come to the general public’s awareness. A particular style gains popularity almost exclusively through the media — specifically movies and TV — quickly gains a small following and grows in popularity only when it is successfully marketed or championed by a Hollywood star or professional athlete.

Modern History

The popularity of martial arts in the West over the past 50 years has its roots in the experiences of military servicemen returning to the U.S. at the end of the Korean War in the early 1950’s. Exposed for the first time to traditional Asian forms of empty-handed fighting and self-defence, these combat-trained soldiers were as fascinated by its efficiency and effectiveness as they were by its grace. Returning servicemen were among the first westerners in the U.S. to open martial arts schools.

The relative popularity of various martial arts styles has risen and fallen with the times. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the Judo craze mesmerized audiences with throws and locks. By the late 1960s and 70s, we saw the rise of Karate, a powerful striking art, and Kung Fu, popularized by Bruce Lee and, later, by the American TV series of the same name. Hundreds of thousands of students throughout the U.S. flocked to dojos to learn these mysterious new fighting arts. Words like ninja and sensei entered the general English vocabulary.

In the 1980s, a Korean art – Tae Kwon Do — burst upon the scene. One master was asked, “How did Tae Kwon Do become so popular?” His reply? “If I break a brick with my hand, it looks good, but if I throw a brick in the air and break it with a kick – that looks more impressive. Americans want to be able to defend themselves, but they also want to look good doing it.” Martial arts-inspired fight scenes became more and more prevalent in mainstream Hollywood movies. A whole generation of kids grew up watching the animated TV show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

No-Holds-Bared Competition

In the 1990s, the popularity of Brazilian Ju Jitsu coincided with the introduction of Ultimate Fighting, a contest that claimed to settle the age-old question, “Which martial art is the best?” Ultimate Fighting promised to end speculation, conjecture and arguments; it would all be settled in a cage. And, after winning match after match, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, as practiced by the Gracie family, consistently came out on top, appearing to be the style to beat. Ten years later, Ultimate Fighting has become an international sport, watched by millions around the world. Top competitors train hard, and Brazilian Ju Jitsu is just one successful style among many. Today, there are as many knock-outs as tap-outs. Grapplers are punching and strikers are grappling. It can be said that the lasting legacy of the Gracie family was to make the martial arts world address the issue of what to do when you are taken to the ground. Ultimate Fighting has become much less a contest of style vs. style, and much more a test of one particular fighter’s ability vs. another’s.

Given this history, it is easy to understand that people who have never studied martial arts see the entire practice as fighting. It’s only natural. Martial arts were introduced to the West in general and to the U.S. in particular by former soldiers who viewed the art as an effective mean of self-defence. And, if you view these as fighting arts, then it’s no surprise that the question arises, “If one style fought another, which would win?”

If you think about it, you’ll see that the question itself is beside the point. All authentic styles and systems teach self-defence skills necessary to take a confrontational situation under control or allow you to defend yourself if attacked. But people are rarely attacked in everyday life by professional fighters, or by trained martial artists. Most attacks are perpetrated by a punk or thug with a quick temper, often under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. So, which style is the most effective? From a self-defence perspective, virtually all authentic styles will work.

Part 2 next week.

Weekly Quote

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

Jack Canfield


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 14th November

Training Focus

The training focus for this week is curriculum practice. Get those tags ready for next week!


The Firewalk is almost upon us. On friday 18th November we are raising money for Clic Sargent by walking on fire. Join us at 6:30 pm for the training session. We ask for a minimum donation of £10 for each person walking. Please arrive early for registration.

Black Belt Gradings

Saturday 19th November will see Sensei Hezie and Harry Wade going for their next grade. Sensei Hezie will be going for his third degree Black Belt and Harry for his first degree Black Belt. Come along and cheer them on. The testing will start at approximately 1:30 pm.


Always do right - this will gratify some and astonish the rest.”

Mark Twain


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham




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News Update 10th November

Kids’ Movie Night

On Tuesday 15th November we are hosting a Movie Night for the kids. The Film will start at 18:30 so make sure you get here in time. The film is 90 minutes long so we should finish at roughly 20:00.


Only eight days until the Firewalk! Every year we raise money for Clic Sargent by running a firewalk. The event, on Friday 18th November, will start at 18:30 with a Motivation and Positive Thinking Seminar. The seminar will last for roughly an hour, after which we will walk on fire. To attend the seminar is completely free but we ask for a donation of £10  if you want to walk.

Black Belt Gradings

Saturday 19th November is the Autumn/Winter Black Belt Gradings. This month we have Both Sensei Hezie Allen, going for his third degree black belt, and Harry Wade going for his first degree black belt.

Come along and show these guys the kind of support you would want to receive when it’s your turn.


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham


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News Update 27th October

Halloween Party

The party is tomorrow so dig out the face paint and file your teeth. The theme is Zombie Ninja Vs. Vampire Samurai.

Come and join the battle!


Friday 18th November is our annual charity firewalk. We are raising money for the children’s charity, Clic Sargent. You can raise money however you like but we ask of a minimum donation of £10 per person walking.

The event will start with a motivational seminar at 18:30 which is of terrific value regardless of whether you walk on fire or not.

Black Belt Testing

Saturday 19th November will see our Autumn/Winter Black Belt Test take place.

We have Sensei Hezie Going who will be tested for his Sandan and Harry Wade for his Shodan

Come along and show the kind of support you know you would want.

The Art of Peace is medicine for a sick world. There is evil and disorder in the world, because people have forgotten that all things emanate from one source. Return to that source and leave behind all self-centred thoughts, petty desires, and anger. Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything.

Morihei Ueshiba


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham


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The Value of Peace; Part 2

What are we trying to escape?

Intense thoughts, actions, emotions and stress fill our lives. All anxiety, fear, frustration, anger and stress come from our thoughts. Vacations to “get away” from the intensity and stress for awhile appear to be the only relief. Unfortunately, the choice is often a theme park or trip designed to stimulate and excite us. What are we trying so desperately to escape? Responsibilities, duties, deadlines, pressure. Although our biggest need is to get away from thoughts and emotions, very few of us have found that release in our annual “vacations!” Stress is the hidden killer in our society. In record numbers, people visit therapists, take anti-depressants and sleeping pills, and in desperation, sometimes even commit suicide.

It is possible to reduce our stress by learning how to control the mind and breath. Slowing sensory input, calming the mind, and reacting from a state of centeredness means being actively calm and calmly active. Become mindful of each moment. Imagine how life would improve if you were always able to react from a calm and peaceful centre. What if you could respond to even the most difficult or aggressive circumstance with focused peacefulness?

If you have not committed yourself to true emptiness, you will never understand the art of peace.

–Morihei Ueshiba

The breath and the mind are inseparable

When someone offers you a gift, and you don’t accept it, to whom does the gift belong? The answer is obviously the giver. So, if someone tries to give you anger, hate or negativity of any sort, and you refuse it, you remain unaffected. Strive to be peaceful and centred, rather than reactive and impulsive. You might think, “How is it possible to remain calm and peaceful when everyone else is hurried, rude, insulting and aggressive? Life is as complicated and stressful as we allow it to be. Remember that the breath and the mind are inseparable. The condition of one directly reflects the condition of the other. Being angry, frustrated or upset is impossible, if your breath is calm, deep and relaxed. Being calm and peaceful is impossible if your breath is fast and shallow. The secret to being peaceful is to have control over thoughts. Learn to control your thoughts by learning to control your breath.

Develop a calm routine

For most people, the body and mind are naturally calm only during a subconscious state or while sleeping. However, I am suggesting that you spend time each day fully awake, building a mental habit of becoming peaceful. Start with the quieter times of your day, perhaps early in the morning, or late at night before bed. Spend time with your thoughts and feelings, practicing your breathing exercises and other techniques. Enjoy simple things such as reading inspirational works, listening to quiet music, praying or meditating. Work on controlling your breath and stilling your mind. Notice the feeling of true calmness and peacefulness, and then several times during your day strive to return to that state.

Peace and happiness can only happen in the moment. You cannot experience it in the past or in the future. So always strive to live in the now.

As you get better at manipulating your mental and emotional state, you will find that you are able to be calm and peaceful even during difficult times. The value of peaces truly priceless. It allows you to stay in control of life rather than allowing life to control you. In short, take a minute.


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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The Value of Peace; Part 1

When we are unable to find tranquillity within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

–Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Our hectic society

Our hectic society is flooded with communication, information, intense entertainment, and stress. People wake early in the morning and hit the ground running, packing in as much as possible each day. Rarely getting enough sleep each night, we become caffeine junkies, supporting three-dollar habits at our corner coffee bars, or we simply push through the day trying to meet the next deadline while ignoring our physical and mental fatigue. Cell phones, e-mail, fax machines, Palm Pilots, and pagers dominate our lives. We play seemingly endless games of phone tag, and our 40-hour workweeks have expanded to over 50 hours, not to mention the countless and frustrating hours we spend each week battling traffic. We’ve coined the term “road rage” to describe the stress and tension that many drivers feel.

When the day finally ends, too many people gobble down fast dinners in front of the T.V. As many as 500 cable and satellite channels numb us until we finally drift off to a short night’s sleep, which is abruptly ended by a loud alarm…so we can begin the same hectic cycle again. At the end of the week, our choices of entertainment and relaxation are often noisy bars, or the latest box office hit filled with intense themes. If we happen to miss one, our local video store is always there to catch us up on the violence, revenge, deceit, betrayal and sex we might have missed.

The difference between being bored and being peaceful is attitude and perspective.

Constant stimulation

Children and teenagers spend hours each day listening to loud, head banging acid rock or rap music. They chat online with twenty buddies, while simultaneously surfing the internet. Bored with baseball, basketball and football, they often prefer extreme sports–sports designed for the adrenaline rush that are so dangerous, nobody would have dreamed of doing such frightening stunts 30 years ago.

Read next Thursday’s post for part two of this topic.


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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News Update 25th August & Acheiving Perfection

Bank Holiday Closure

We will be closed on Monday 29th August due to the Bank Holiday. If you would normally train on the monday class don’t miss out on your tag, make it up during the week and take your catch up class.

Holiday Competitions

Holiday Kamai

Time is running out to submit your Kamai Photos. We will anounce the winner on the 9th of Septemeber so get your photos to us by the 4th to enter the draw.

Clic Sargent fund raiser

7 days left to bring your completed Peel 2 Save order forms back to us.The last day you can submit your form is the 31st of August so don’t delay if you want to win!

Do What You Can Do-Perfectly

Pt 1

Most people would agree that one of the best ways to improve in martial arts is to practice hard. But what does practicing hard mean? By performing techniques with as much speed and power as possible, most people would believe they are practicing hard. The workout is vigorous, and they leave sweating, sore and smiling. Although I subscribe to the ‘sweating-sore-and-smiling theory’, practicing hard involves more than just throwing technique with power.

Perform every action with conscious intention

Practicing hard means to do everything that you are already able to do, perfectly. Maybe the word ‘perfectly,’ brings to mind the idea that no one is perfect. This might be true, but everyone can do some things perfectly… every time. Some skills and concepts are quite easy to learn, and having a specific fitness and flexibility level to perform them is not necessary. For example, everyone can stand in a perfect attention stance with heels together, back straight, eyes looking forward, and hands sharply by their side. Each time, when standing in attention stance, everyone can bow deeply and respectfully. Everyone can remember to wear a uniform to class, to line up straight without gaps in the line, to re-cock or chamber the leg after kicking, to make your fist tight when making a fist, to keep your knees bent when they are supposed to be bent, to keep your hands up when they are supposed to be up, and to keep breathing through class. The list of other moments of possible perfection can go on and on. Believing that these are little things and that they don’t really matter is not the correct attitude. Remember the saying, “If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”

Success lies in the details

As a beginner, this is one of the most important lessons to learn. The essence of practice, and often, the success of any technique lie in the subtle details. If you watch a beginner, an intermediate and an advanced student, and compare their basic techniques, undoubtedly, the differences between them will be in the subtleties, not in the gross movements. To discipline the mind, increase awareness, and develop a strong body and strong technique, you must realize that mindfulness of each detail is crucial.

So, if we are capable of performing specific learned skills perfectly, why don’t we? Because our wandering mind is distracted by other thoughts and is too busy to notice mistakes. We must be aware of mistakes before we can improve them. So, how can a person become more aware? He must develop self-control and discipline of the mind, so that the mind stays focused. At the deepest level, the art absolutely demands total awareness and concentration, helping you to stay in the moment


“You are not here to try to get the world to be just as you want it. You are here to create the world around you that you choose.”

Rhonda Byrne


Sensei Matt Thurman Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham


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News Update 21st July

Summer School 2011

Summer School 2011 will start on Thursday 28th July and run to Sunday 31st July. See below for the schedule.

Thursday 9:30 to 17:00 followed by the Black Belt tests and then to the Pub!

Friday 9:30 to 17:00

Saturday 9:30 to 17:00 course photos will be taken during the lunch break and we’re all going to the Horse and Groom Pub for a meal.

Sunday 9:30 to 16:00 followed by any necessary tidy up, volunteers welcome.

Juniors’ Thermopylae Day

On the 11th of August we are going to re-enact the legendary battle of Thermopylae. This even will consist of two parts; the battle and a training session.

The Training will take place on the 4th of August and we will have an expert in historic hand-to-hand warfare come in and teach the children about the tactics of sword and shield fighting as well as a history lesson.

A New Staff Member

Our team continues to grow with the addition of another instructor. We are very excited to say that Sensei Wayne Thomas will be joining the team from mid August. Good luck Wayne!

Junior and Dragon Summer School

Junior Summer school will be taking place on Tuesday the 16th and Thursday the 18th of August from 10:00 to 15:00.

The Dragon Summer School will be on Wednesday the 17th from 10:00 to 15:00.

The classes will be at the Dojo so don’t worry about trying to find us somewhere new. We have lots of fun things lined up for the days so drop everything and come along!

Junior and Dragon Community Project

On the 27th of August we will be taking part in a community project to help tidy up Bestwood Park. This will be a special event that will include outdoor weapons training for the kids and a group picnic. As a reward for taking part and showing their spirit to help others all students who participated will be presented with a special badge to attach to their Gi.


Sensei Matt Thurman Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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Achieving Mastery in 7 Steps

Today steps 5 & 6

5. Practice exactly what you want to perform

As human beings, our nature is to like what comes easy to us, and to shy away from things that are hard. Success makes us feel good. The same is true in martial arts. After several months of practice, you might begin to gravitate toward your favourite moves. You do them fairly well, and you feel successful. Other techniques will still be difficult and this is normal. Excelling in some areas and finding others more challenging is to be expected. But to become a well-rounded martial artist, you will need to execute all of the techniques in the curriculum. Keep challenging yourself.

Use this principle as a compass to guide you to your highest performance in the rest of your life. Frequently ask yourself, “Am I practicing exactly what I want to perform?” Maybe you need to manage your time better, so that you are more productive at work. Look at your relationships with others. Which are fulfilling and which are frustrating? Are you doing everything that you can to make your life work in the best way possible? Your life is not a dress rehearsal-this is the real thing. 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?

Remember, if the highest goal is a joyful satisfying life, practice what you want to perform. Smile often. Laugh and have fun. Find solutions, rather than focusing on problems. Practice being happy and you will find happiness.

A serious martial artist sees his practice as a path leading to greater awareness, concentration and patience—with himself and others.

6. Mindfulness

So you’ve found a good teacher, you’ve been patient and perseverant, and you’ve worked out hard, and you are trying to practice what you want to perform. By diligently following these first five steps, you can learn to defend yourself well, and you will get in great shape. But these accomplishments do not make you a true martial artist.

The primary difference is that a serious martial artist sees his practice as a path leading to greater awareness, concentration and patience with himself and others. He believes that his practice is more than just physical movements, and he cultivates mindfulness in all phases of his life.

Introspection and self-analysis are important techniques to the martial artist. In other words, reading about philosophy, and discussing the subject is not enough. You must do the work. The only person who can change you is you. Change does not happen overnight, but incrementally on a day-to-day basis. In the activity and the technique sections of this lesson, you will be given the real work. Complete the assignments and practice the techniques. In doing so, you are choosing to take your practice and your life to the next level.

You need something to live for and something to die for. You are very fortunate if they are one and the same.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

Sensei Matt Shudokan Black Belt Academy - Aikido Nottingham

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