Bugeishi Aikido


Is Aikido any good for self defense?

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."

Aikido combines practical and effective self-defence techniques with other disciplines for health and inner vitality. The result is a form of physical training, which educates your body, makes it stronger and healthier and teaches you how to remain relaxed and in control when under stress. Repeated practice and training allows you to defend yourself effectively using as little violence as possible.

We never resist the power of the attack head on. Instead, we either stop an attack before it becomes a threat or we yield and redirect the initial attack using dynamic circular movements to unbalance the assailant. The attacker (or attackers) is then subdued using a variety of throws and joint-locking techniques, rather than potentially crippling punches or kicks.

What is the difference between Zanshin Ryu Aikido and the Bugeisha Aikido Club?

There is no difference. Zanshin Ryu Aikido is the style of Aikido we study in the Bugeisha Aikido Club. It is a style devise by Frukkh and Tariq Aslam who are Marek Fanaszuzck and Don Deacy's primary teachers. The name 'Zanshin' was bestowed upon the style of Aikido by Master Pat Stratford.

Which style of Aikido is right for me?

There can be a lot of posturing about styles, lineage and who is better.  For someone who is considering learning this wonderful martial art my advice is to go to several clubs and watch what they are doing. Don't try to understand the techniques as understanding only comes with time.  Instead, try to get a feel for the spirit of the club, see how they welcome you and see if the students are enjoying themselves. If it doesn't have a good spirit, if it's not welcoming and if the students don't appear to be enjoying themselves why would you want to be there?
There is really only one way that you will find out if a syle of Aikido is for you and that's on the mat actually giving it a go.  In time with a bit of understanding gained through experience you will decide for yourself if it's the right style for you.  Nothing is wasted as it all adds to the mix of experience.

How fit do I have to be to study Aikido?

You don’t have to be very fit to start studying Aikido because to start with you only do what you feel comfortable doing. Over a period of time and with dedicated practice you will quickly notice changes in how you move and improvements in your stamina and fitness.

There are of course medical concerns that are raised when undertaking any physical activity and medical conditions must be brought to the Instructors attention for evaluation, prior to stepping on to the mat for the first time. Like all physical activities, if you are in any doubt, you should always seek the advice of a doctor prior to commencing training in Aikido.

Aikido is based on full and natural body movement, exercising practically every limb and joint of the body. Flexibility, muscle tone, stamina and co-ordination are all developed through training, but the philosophy of ‘No pain, No gain’ does not apply to what we are striving to achieve. Practitioners of Aikido (called Aikidoka) improve in prowess with age, so that it is quite common to see teachers in their late 70’s giving instruction with an agility which people half their age would find difficult.

Is there a philosophy and spiritual element to Aikido?

In common with other oriental martial arts, Aikido teaches that there is no real separation between body and mind. By emphasising self-awareness, self-observation and relaxation, the physical discipline of Aikido creates an inner calm and balance that may be carried over into your daily life, helping you to cope with its often-stressful demands.

The objectives of Aikido are to unify mind, body and spirit to harmonise the individual's ki (energy) and the ki of the universe, and to develop the ability to live naturally in a constantly changing world. The name Ai-Ki-Do is essentially derived from three vital components: "The Way (do) of Harmony (ai) with the Universal Force (ki)".

What are the benefits of Aikido?

Some of the benefits of practising Aikido are as follows:

  • Promotes a more relaxed attitude, being at ease with oneself and others
  • Improves stamina, speed of reaction, flexibility, fitness and health
  • Provides complete defence against physical attack
  • Calms the mind and increases confidence
  • Promotes mental, emotional and physical stability

How long does it take to get a black belt?

"If you knew the time it took me to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful."

There is nothing wrong with wanting a black belt and some people who train are more motivated to achieve this grade than others; I know I was.   But it is imprtant to note that there is no set length of time to achieve a black belt in Zanshin Ryu Aikido, however, the majority of students take between four and six years depending on their attitude, commitment, ability and training. The important thing is to develop at a pace that you are comfortable with and to be okay with the fact that some people will be faster than others.  It really is swings and roundabouts when it comes to progression, the key is to stay in the game, enjoy the ride and you will get there in the right time.

Are Weapons used in Aikido?

In Bugeisha Aikido the wooden knife (tanto), the wooden sword (bokken) and wooden staff (jo) are studied not as weapons in themselves but as a means to enhance the aikido training.
Also a discipline akin to a combination of Kenjutsu (Sword fighting) and Iaido (Art of drawing and cutting with the sword) called Aikiken is practised in advanced levels of training.

Is it expensive to train in Aikido?

We believe the short answer to this is no, especially compared to other activities and the costs tend to be spread out throughout the year. Some of the costs you may expect to incur are as follows:

  • Class costs
  • Insurance
  • Club membership fees
  • Centre Membership (Depending on where the class is held)
  • Grading fees
  • Gi’s (Training suits)
  • Hakama (An optional traditional training garment)
  • Weapons (wooden sword, staff and knife plus a case to hold them in)
  • Weekend courses (Optional to attend)

Is Aikido better than karate/judo/any other martial art?

The answer to this question is very subjective as students of any particular martial art quite rightly tend to favour their martial art over any other (otherwise they would probably be studying another martial art!!).  So a better question to ask yourself is why do I want to studying the martial arts?  It could be for self-defence, for fun, for competition, for general physical health, for self-confidence, for improved self awareness or more; it's really up to you.

The thing to be aware of is that different martial arts, and even different styles within a particular martial art, emphasise different aspects. Hence 'better' really depends on what you are seeking from the Martial Art. So Aikido is no better or worse than any other martial art. It is simply different and its philosophy and application meet my needs and that's why I study it.

It should also be remembered that we are continually growing both physically and mentally. With this growth comes change in our outlook and needs. So what we started yesterday, or indeed today, may not be what we need tomorrow. With this in mind, we should continually assess why we are training and what we hope to achieve. This not only keeps our reasons and motivation for training foremost in our minds but also allows us to examine the depths of the art we are studying.

Am I too old to start training in Aikido?

The beauty of Aikido is that you are never too old to start studying, it takes as long as it takes and you do what you can do!

The term Uke is used frequently, what does that mean?

Uke is the name used for the person who receives the technique.  The word Ukemi is used for how the technique is received.  Ukemi is extremely important in studying Aikido and consists of 6 elements:

  1. Self preservation (breakfalls, also actively ‘going with’ a situation)
  2. Honest training (appropriate attacks working towards drawing out the best in each other)
  3. Strength of mind (to overcome ego and fear)
  4. Trust (in the intention to perform the technique without causing harm)
  5. Learning (from feeling the application and working towards drawing out the best in each other)
  6. Resilience (Ukemi ends with you back on your feet, balanced and on-posture).

The term Nage or Tori is used frequently, what does that mean?

Nage/Tori is the name used for the person applying the technique.  This consists of four requirements:

  1. Apply only the technique and the variation of the technique being shown by the instructor
  2. Apply the technique to the capability of the uke
  3. Apply the technique without the intention to harm the uke
  4. Apply the technique with the safety of the uke and those around foremost in your mind

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Contact Us

Visit our Payment and Joining page for details on how to join Bugeisha Aikido Club.

If you would like some further information about aikido or our club then please contact:
South Ruislip, London - Richard Watkins on 07803 594712
Perivale, London - Marek Franaszczuk on 07951 817458
Broadstone, Dorset - Don Deacy on 07740 415712
or send an email to