Here's a few FAQ's that I hope you find relevant and useful. If you have any particular questions you'd like addressing please feel free to drop me an e-mail. can't promise I'll get back to you or have the answer straight away but I'll do my best, or point you in the right direction.
STARTING OUT IN MARTIAL ARTS
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Firstly when undertaking any physical activity it's always best to get the all clear from your GP/Medical Practitioner. Then come and watch a lesson and have a chat with the instructor to see if you think the style is what you're looking for.
The simple answer is no. You can train in any comfortable outfit eg: joggers and a t-shirt/sweat shirt etc. I do advise that ideally clothing should be free of zips or buttons and of course remove all jewelery. Also it shouldn't be your favorite items, as our style encompasses throws so normal clothing can get ripped during practice.
A warm welcome first of all. The atmosphere is always light in Daishin Ryu Dojo. Sensei Simon is there usually well before the class starts so raise any queries then.
You will be bowed onto the mat.
Etiquette is performed, don't worry about getting it right it comes with practice.
Then the warm up exercises and stretching....again don't try and kill yourself, do what you can not what you see others doing. Remember it's your first time.
You then go through break falls, very important for your safety.
Basics follow teaching you the foundation techniques of the style.
Then a series of selected techniques from the training syllabus.
Usually kata (a prearranged series of moves) is practised at the end of the class and is used as a way to warm down.
We finish again with etiquette.
Your first lesson is FREE
Jnrs under 16 are £4.00 per session
Snrs over 16 are &5.00 per session
After 4wks you'll need to take out a licence and insurance book which is an annual fee.
New Licences are £20 Snr & £18 Jnr this is a requirement to continue training.
Not at all. It's about learning so if you don't mind learning our basics and the way we do things there shouldn't be a problem. Infact you maybe able to show us a different way or something new.
At present we have one senior judo black belt, a senior ju jitsu blackbelt and a jnr judo black belt training with us as well as a couple of juniors from the karate dojo we train in.
Gradings are held at the discretion of Sensei Simon. Usually every 6-8 months. Again this depends on your level of competence and ability. There are no short cuts in Daishin Ryu and a black belt averages about 4-5 years to achieve. Your grades are earned. We do not support this current wave of instructors in training, or assistant instructors running dojo when they in some cases are still only medium to high Kyu (non black belt) grades. Once you become a Shodan then you can instruct basics but experience comes over time.
That entirely depends on you and if you want to grade or just train with us. To grade and be recognized as such then yes you need to start over. Most previously trained individuals adapt quickly to our style. So gradings are just a matter of course.
However if you just want another nights training then no just come and train but you will still need a licence of course.
Yes Sensei Simon carries all his licences and a full martial arts CV with him to every lesson, and can be shown upon request. He is continuous contact with Sensei David Hand who is more than willing to verify the grades.
Sensei Simon also has regular CRB checks done as a matter of course.
At present we have a only a few members, and hire cost's can not justify another night. But this is constantly in review by Sensei Simon. The dojo is run for it's members not for profit and as such everyone contributes towards the hall hire (yes this includes Sensei).
However a few more regularly attending students would justify another session. This of course would benefit everyone's training.
Become a member of the site and make sure Sensei has your contact details, and he will e-mail/phone you if the club training times change or increase.
No not at all. The majority of martial arts indeed do have a higher number of male practitioners but I am glad to say more females are coming into the arts. This is great as they offer a greater need for diverse and open teaching methods, as well as bringing their own views, values and attributes.
One of my best students is female and she's a force to be reckoned and holds her own against all the men (myself included).
No within reason. As long as the individual is in good health generally we will train anyone who's willing to give it a go (but obviously they should get the all clear from their Doctor and come to watch a couple of sessions first). On saying this we would not expect a 60yr old to do everything the same way as a 20yr old, so we would focus the training to suit their needs.
I remember back in my Bushi Kempo days two chaps gained their black belts at the ages of 65 and 69.
Well to be honest neither do I and I'm the instructor. I understand perfectly that horrible feeling when you walk into somewhere new and it's full of strangers. However I have a very open approach and as much as possible keep the training atmosphere light and enjoyable for all. Most of the time the dojo is filled not with the sound of martial arts shouting but laughter. Please do not think we don't take it seriously we take training very seriously but make it enjoyable.
If I can make a new student smile and laugh on their first session I have achieved my first objective to give them an enjoyable experience.
Firstly see my response to the 'age limit' question. What we do is a contact art, which include throws, take downs and joint manipulations and locks. So it's a matter of physical dynamics really. As long as your doctor says ok and you're confident we'll openly except you. Please understand that hitting the ground shocks the body (regardless of how good a break falls you are) and as such you should be aware of the recovery time needed. So do it slowly and carefully and build up from there.
I personally believe understanding that the ground isn't the enemy is the hardest lesson for anyone to learn.
Red Belt is still only £7. The price increases then up to £10 for most low and intermediate Kyu (non Black Belt) grades. It increases again at Brown Belt and Brown & White Belt to £15 & £25 respectively and Black Belt (Shodan) is £75. All other Dan grades are currently around £100.
These fees include grade registration, certificate and relevant belt.
NB: All grading fees are separate to training fees and this should be taken into consideration, as lesson fees still apply.
Also these are the current fees which I've not increased from my grading days. It should be noted that this is only the current guide and reserve the right to increase them without prior notice.
As long as you want to train does it really matter? I do NOT allow discrimination in my dojo at all! Anyone found having this attitude will be banned from training and their licence will be revoked. I don't care whether you're black, white, gay, straight or from the planet Zlob if you want to seriously train in martial arts then it's up to you.
Remember it's not you who is the problem it's people who think you are. Again come have a look, have a chat and see what you think?