View Full Version : Shudokan Dojo in Nottingham

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Mathias Lee
10-26-2006, 06:52 AM
I might be going to Nottingham in a while and was looking at the Shudokan Dojo there. Can anyone give me any information, like Prices or personal experiences with Shudokan, stuff that is not on the website but is essential/interesting? I would go and ask the dojo directly but I live quite far away and they can't check their emails very often so I can't find out any additional information directly from them.
Thanks if anyone can help! :)

Mike Grant
10-26-2006, 09:34 AM
A quick impression from my own brief research: These guys are OK. I was a bit dubious when I saw all that fighter pilot stuff on the website, but the feedback is good.

Guillaume Erard
10-27-2006, 03:50 AM
I have to agree with Mathias on the pictures stuff; don't like it very much.

I have lived in Nottingham for 3 years and the Shudokan school was (is?) about the only thing available at reasonable distance at the time.

I am Aikikai but since this was the only alternative, I decided to go and have a look anyways.
I must say I have been warmly received by Ken Robson, a very focused and sound man. I did one very interesting private class with him the first time and I came back for the normal class the week after.

In the end, I found that the style was not what I wanted to do (a little too static and "military" orientated for my tastes).

I must say that one thing that put me off is that they would not recognize any other grade than their own, whatever organisation you come from.

The other thing is that it is not exactly cheap and quite a rigid membership/attendance system (ask him for details, I can't really remember).

To conclude, I think it is definetely worth having a look because they have very interesting things to teach you if it is your kind of thing, plus on the human relationship point of view, this was my nicest experience in all the dojos I have visited in Nottingham and around.

If you need more info on the other places; I'd happily answer you.

Best of luck


10-27-2006, 06:09 AM
There is an alternative Yoshinkan doj oin notts, has over 100 members and a nice selection of grades and is really friendly.

if you check out the website you can make your own mind up...i am bias as its the club i go to but we get quite a few ex shudokan students coming along and staying with us...worth a visit in my opinion.....and it costs WAY less than the shudokan place but the instrcution is first class.

Its still a new club as we ahve only been going for 18 months but teh amount of students is testament to the atmosphere and friendliness of the club



10-27-2006, 06:16 AM
My old housemate was one of his students way back when he taught in Yorkshire. She even chose Nottingham Uni so she could still train with him.

His club in Yorkshire had quite a lot of military people, so maybe that's why his style is the way it is. Apparently they're also very particular on punching technique.

And as for not recognising your grade. That is normal for martial arts dojos. I never walk into a dojo of a style I have no experience of, and expect to be recognised as grade X just because I was grade X at something else. You wouldn't expect a world ranked squash player to automatically have a world ranking in tennis if he's never set foot on a tennis court would you?

Anyway, my mate's a big fan of his though she now lives elsewhere and had to quit due to injury (which was heartbraking).

Guillaume Erard
10-27-2006, 06:17 AM
It's about time there are more dojos opening in old Nottingham! :D

10-27-2006, 07:20 AM
There's our lot, Nottingham Uni Shodokan. Although you kind of need to be associated with the university, or at least able to convince them that you're an assistant instructor...

And it's not too big a drive up to Sheffield and Scott Albright's dojo.

10-31-2006, 08:32 AM
I currently train in Shudokan but at the Preston Dojo, as a member of this organisation i would recommend it to anyone. the service that you would recieve at nottingham dojo is of the highest quality and their Aikido matches this.
If you need information i would recommend giving them a call and organise a personal one on one intro class and make your mind up from their.

10-31-2006, 08:35 AM

If you are interested the best advice I'd give you is go and see for yourself. I believe that the dojo does do free introductory lessons so why not take advantage and decide for yourself.

Although as a student of Sensei Kens I would wholeheartedly recommend the Dojo

10-31-2006, 08:46 AM

If you are interested the best advice I'd give you is go and see for yourself. I believe that the dojo does do free introductory lessons so why not take advantage and decide for yourself.

Although as a student of Sensei Kens I would wholeheartedly recommend the Dojo

10-31-2006, 09:08 AM
I am a 3rd Dan in the Shudokan and have known Sensei Ken for a long time. He is an upstanding Character and will teach you traditional and practical Aikido of Yoshinkan Lineage that is equal to any in the west.

I personally train in Shudokan Devon but we are closely linked and Nottingham is our HQ. Sensei Kens reputation with world reknowned instructors is good and thus allows the students to have access to the best the Yoshinkan has to offer as often as possible. This is the benefit of S. Robsons Hard work and dedication in building a full time dojo. So dont let the corporate image put you off because it serves his students well when it comes to Hosting Seminars from the likes of Robert Mustard Sensei and Joe Thambu Sensei and Thamby Sensei.

Mike Grant
10-31-2006, 11:50 AM
For me, any reference to 'special forces' on a martial arts website is an automatic turn off as 99.9% of the time it's total bullshit (and even if it wasn't, who cares?). Coincidentally (from the details in his profile), it looks like Robson went through fast jet training with my cousin and their RAF careers ran pretty much in parallel, but I'm not sure what the relevance to aikido is-especially if you're flying an old rust bucket like the Tornado F3. There's an interview with him elsewhere on the web where he talks about running a dojo for profit as well which also sets the alarm bells ringing...

But despite this, the feedback is good, so I'd be interested to here what you think if you do get around to checking the place out.

10-31-2006, 03:38 PM
There's an interview with him elsewhere on the web where he talks about running a dojo for profit as well which also sets the alarm bells ringing....
I saw that too, and had a similar gut reaction to it, that and the tons of advertising around Nottingham for the Shudokan Aikido "Black Belt Academy".:yuck: I suppose we're just not used to seeing an aikdio dojo run on the "macdojo" business model (not saying anything about the budo here, folks, just the marketing).

I googled. This is the business model I'm talking about:
I think the thing I read before was one of the "testimonials" on this site, or another one very like it. Can't seem to find it anymore, though the name "Ken Robson" does still figure quite prominently.

Guillaume Erard
11-01-2006, 02:30 AM
I must admitt that I found their advertisement methods (huge adds on Nottingham buses for example) a wee bit aggressive (defend yourself and so on...) but I guess it proved efficient for them. They seemed very active on communicating about their dojo (I also remember a demonstration in Victoria Shopping Center).

Now, since Aikido has no competition to get exposure and funding, it is understandable that some use available means to attract students, particularly in England where many dojos are quite small and of poor standards in terms of facilities (no funding from the state like in France for example).

11-01-2006, 02:45 AM
Now, since Aikido has no competition to get exposure and funding, it is understandable that some use available means to attract students<snip>

I don't think that's relevant, most of the <ahem> "Black Belt Academy" type places are doing things other than aikido, its because its so rare that we all find this aggressively commercial approach to teaching aikido a bit of a shock.

Nottingham is one of a few places in the UK where 'competition' in aikido is easy to find, there's an excellent Shodokan group practicing at the University there (they're mostly, but not exclusively, uni students), and they get pretty regular opportunities to engage in a bit of shiai.


Guillaume Erard
11-01-2006, 03:55 AM
Too bad... I myself did find my point relevant since we were talking about the Shudokan group that does precisely advertise on AIkido and has no competition, remember? Now, other schools may do different things but that has nothing to do with my precedent post.

11-01-2006, 04:57 AM
with regards to running a dojo for profit, i am as squemish as the next Aikidoka, but the benefits of a full time dojo far outweigh what S. Ken has sacrificed as far as what people who don't train with him have to say about him. The 'Macdojo' nick name implies that through franchising you lose integrity and quality in training. I can tell you that this is not the case in S. Kens Dojo. Do not take me for some one who is reared on clapping and stuff like that, and therefore even more biased, this simply isnt the case, and it is not how i train or teach.

again my advice is, train wiht him and then judge for your self. if you wont step on the mat with him do not judge for yourself.

Guillaume Erard
11-01-2006, 05:51 AM
Whether or not you like the style (again, I personally don't); the place I visited had nothing of a "MacDojo" place.

You had to sign in and engage for a certain attendency frequency. Consequently, students in this school have to be commited or won't see their money back and won't fulfill the requirement for their grading. This is miles away from some of the "pay as you go" dojos out there isn't it? (yeah, sorry for the cheap analogy...). Pretty rigid to me but a serious and consistent way to teach nonetheless.

Mike Grant
11-01-2006, 07:44 AM
The question is, how far should one go in marketing terms?

I think I saw the same testimonial referred to above and I, for one, felt that it had gone too far (asking for referrals before you can do a grading, references to 'special forces' and fighter pilots etc etc). But then again, I'm not looking to make my living from aikido and neither is my teacher...

Making people pay a monthly fee and commit to regular training on the other hand, that's a good thing in my book.

The overall impression is that the reality of this dojo is nowhere near as bad as the hype would suggest. Is that fair comment?

And by the way, the idea of some fighter jock teaching combat survival is faintly ridiculous. In my experience, the 'survival training' would probably take place in the bar of the nearest five star hotel or night club. I did have a laugh at that part of the website!

Mike Grant
11-02-2006, 06:17 AM
I just want to make it clear that I don't doubt anything Ken Robson says on his website about his military career or survival training. However, as an ex soldier, the opportunity to take the mickey out of these lounge lizards and their toy planes was just too good to miss :)