Patchway Ki Aikido Club celebrates 15th birthday

Members of Patchway Ki Aikido Club.

A martial arts club in Patchway is celebrating its 15th birthday and, to mark the achievement, is offering a FREE first lesson to anybody who would like to try a session.

Patchway Ki Aikido Club is a small, well established, very friendly club that practises twice a week at Patchway Community Centre in Rodway Road.

The club was established by Sensei Andrew Vickery, and is still run and taught voluntarily by him. (‘Sensei’ literally means “the one who has gone before” but in martial arts it means teacher).

Andrew will have been practising this art for 20 years in June of this year. He regularly attends courses at The Ki Federation of Great Britain’s Headquarters in Somerset, to make sure his own level of practice is kept fresh and up to date and he is regularly assessed by the Ki Federation at these courses. Andrew is CRB checked and also holds full insurance to teach this martial art.

This is a martial arts club with one main difference to most others – it is non-competitive, i.e. there is no pressure to perform against other people. With this art, you practise and learn at your own rate and there are none of the costs that come with competitions and travelling.

“Ki Aikido’s philosophy is that you learn best when you are enjoying yourself, and enjoy yourself you will,” said Andrew.

For more information about the club or to arrange to watch or try a session, contact Andrew on 07967 441 436 (please leave a message with contact name and number).

Practice times are Tuesday 7:30pm – 9:30pm and Thursday 7pm – 9pm.

The cost for a two hour lesson is only £5, and this includes a cup of tea and biscuit! Now that’s got to be good value nowadays! There is an annual membership/insurance fee, the cost of which varies due to personal circumstances, but it’s still relatively cheap (comparable to one months membership to a gym).

Please Note: Unfortunately, due to insurance reasons the minimum age allowed in an adult class is 14 years old.

Aikido consists of exercises with a partner and all the stretching and exercises come naturally within the individual’s physical limits.

To start with you learn the basics, suitably described by Andrew as the foundations of the art, which will help you throughout your practice. Don’t worry about being unfit or not very flexible, this will change at your own pace.

Once you have these skills the practice becomes even more enjoyable and more dynamic – if that’s what you want. Everybody is treated as an individual and nobody is made to do exercises they don’t feel ready for. After practising for a while, you will then get to practise more advanced exercises which you thought you would never have been able to do. What an achievement! You can really start to see how this can build up people’s confidence!

There is a grading system which most people choose to follow, but there is no rush or time limit to achieve. Again, the philosophy is that you enjoy the practise first and foremost.

Over the years, Patchway Ki Aikido Club has trained many students to black belt level and most of these have gone on to achieve 3rd Dan level or above. Andrew does describe the art as “a marathon, not a sprint” and has said “you only get out as much as you put in,” which is true of everything we do.

Practising this art certainly helps you improve your fitness. You’ll be surprised how much exercise you can get from some of the simplest exercises that are practised. Like most things, they always look simple – until you have a go yourself. But don’t let this put you off – every student started with going to their first lesson and nobody at this club has forgotten how nerve-racking this can be. You can see that this club has placed a huge importance in making new members settle in as quickly and comfortably as possible. After your first lesson I’m sure you will feel like you have been a regular member for a long time.

Patchway Ki Aikido Club is affiliated to The Ki Federation of Great Britain (, whose UK headquarters is only 45 minutes away in Somerset.

The Ki Federation of Great Britain is a non-profit making organisation whose aims are to cultivate and develop co-ordination of mind and body using the principles of Ki and to teach Ki Aikido to its members.

Sensei Kenneth Williams, with over 55 years practice, is the founder of The Ki Federation of Great Britain. At the age of 24, Sensei Williams began to study all the arts under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei 10th Dan, and then became his number one full time assistant. The first and only non-Japanese assistant to a Japanese teacher. He was later promoted to National Coach for the British Aikido council and representative of the Aikikai.

Sensei Williams explained:

“Aikido certainly fosters a high moral standard among its true teaching. The real Aikido spirit seeks to help others as well as one self. Respect is important between all students.”

“In today’s society many people have a highly pressurized lifestyle which can cause tension, fear and worry. This can create physical ailments such as backache, headache, migraine and mental strain. When the mind is disturbed or we have physical tension we withdraw our power.”

“We can learn through the Ki exercises to obtain a calm mind and relaxed body enabling our power to be fully extended. Rather than depend solely on pills or doctors for common ailments we can help ourselves through specific exercises, breathing and meditation and so create a happier life.”

It shows with the teaching of this art that there is a very strong emphasis put on how this practice can help people live a happier and calmer life.

Patchway’s Sensei Vickery concluded:

“If I had to sum up the last 20 years practice it would be one word – ‘confidence’.”

“Confidence enables everybody to live their life more happily.”

Practice session at Patchway Ki Aikido Club.

Photo: Practice session at Patchway Ki Aikido Club.