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Having previous martial arts experience was a real boost for me when it came to choosing Aikido. I'd previously studied Wing Chun and Ninjutsu so I was already well aware that my passion lays with Martial Arts (second only to my beautiful fiancÚ - more about her later ).
If you're reading this, you probably found AiKiWeb the same way I did;
Our friend Google! Never underestimate how useful Google can be.
A quick search for "Martial Arts in Cambridge" quickly turned up a link to the Cambridge AiKi Dojo. Magic says I!
Having bounced around their website reading, practically, everything I could get my hands on I decided that Aikido was what I wanted to do.
Now... My fiancÚ!
Her Martial Arts experience equates to slapping me if I misbehave and Jackie Chan films. Absolutely nothing.
However, with a little encouragement from me, coupled with her desire to learn some form of martial arts she agreed that she would accompany me on a test visit to my local dojo!
A day or so later I placed a call to the Sensei and sought his approval to come along and observe a training session. He, very kindly, allowed us to come along.
My first impressions of the dojo were fantastic.
Everyone observed proper etiquette, down to the smallest detail and we were greeted almost immediately by one of the Dan-ranks.
After a brief explanation why we were there he quickly arranged us some seating and simply requested that we keep the noise to a minimum. He then returned to setting out the mats that, I was fairly confident, would soon be gaining imprints of my face!
Then Sensei took to the mat. He was greeted by bowing, respect and a picture of O'Sensei Ueshiba, that he promptly bowed to himself.
I won't go too much into the next section as I expect the warm-up differs from dojo to dojo but it was conducted efficiently and quietly.
I appreciate this, having trained with guys that "hulked out", grunting and straining on the warm up. It's not pleasant to witness!
A short while later, after some gratuitous wrist-twisting, the practice turned to the 31step Jo-Kata.
"Brilliant!" I think to myself as the dojo is lead through the kata.
A while later and class was concluded.
I had a quick chat with the Sensei and the Dan-grade (I do know his name but I'm not posting it for his privacy) and we were invited back to observe / participate in the next session. At this point however neither of us was prepared, mentally or physically, to do so. The following session we attended and observed and the decision was made that we would, indeed, be studying there
We participate in our first practice session tonight!