Forest Blue Bells



Takemusu Aikido Forest Row is a not-for-profit club, and has been dedicated to weekly traditional Aikido practice since 2009. Classes are suitable for both men and women aged 16 and over. Students are taught in the Iwama-Ryu pedagogy after Morihiro Saito Shihan. This means that there is a balanced emphasis on Buki Waza (weapons) and Taijutsu (body techniques), as well as a strong focus on basic techniques and their correct application.

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art, or Budo, created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). It literally means “the way (-do) of harmony (Ai-) through universal energy (-ki-)”.

Learn more about Aikido

Morihiro Saito Shihan (1928-2002)

Locations & Class Schedule


Village Hall, Forest Row, UK
7.30 pmBuki Waza
8.00 pmTaijutsu
9.30 pm(End of class)


Ashdown Forest, UK
6.30 amBuki Waza
7.30 am(End of class)


Nicolas de Knoop began studying Aikido in 1990 at Rhodes University, South Africa. He achieved Iwama-Ryu Aikido dan grades in tai-jutsu (empty handed) and buki-waza (weapons) in 1996 & 1997 respectively, through Dr. Paolo Corallini Shihan and Morihiro Saito Shihan. Nicolas is fully insured and a registered Aikido coach with the British Aikido Board (BAB).

Coming for the first time?

Please note: Aikido is a martial art which requires a certain level of fitness. If you have any health concerns, please consult your doctor before coming to practice. Aikido involves wrist, elbow, shoulder, lapel (etc) grabs and strikes, and involves falls and joint locks. Every effort is made to ensure safe and enjoyable practice, with a step by step approach geared to all levels of practitioners. If you have any concerns, please get in touch.

The first lesson is free.

Please arrive at the Village Hall (Peter Griffits) for 7.20 pm. Mats are laid out for a 7.30 pm start.

If you do not have a keiko-gi (training uniform), please wear comfortable but sturdy clothes, e.g. track suit.

Membership, Insurance, & Fees


Upon expressing a wish to continue to practice after an initial training session you will be required to complete a “New Membership Application Form”. This form must be submitted along with two passport size photographs and the annual insurance and registration fee of £25 (see below). Students under the age of 18 will require a parent or guardian to verify the application.


It is a requirement for all individuals who wish to train at TAFR that he or she has suitable insurance. The registration and insurance fee of £25 covers a practitioner for 1 year (renewable). TAFR is a member club of the Aikido Research Federation, which in turn is a full member of the British Aikido Board, a National Governing Body of Aikido within the UK.


The first lesson is free. From there it is £30 per month, or £9 drop in. Fees can be paid via standing order.


The basic equipment required for students are a keiko-gi (training uniform), a bokken (wooden sword), and jo (wooden staff). These products can be bought from a variety of online sources.


A choice in Keiko-gi is a personal one, the only restriction being that it is white, and kept clean! This being said however, it is suggested to purchase one that can withstand firm grasping, for example, a Judo gi. Most retail outlets provide a sizing guide depending on your height and weight.


When purchasing a bokken, search for an “Iwama” or “Takemusu” bokken. This type of bokken is characterised by the tip being squared off, i.e. it does not have a point. This is for safety reasons.
High quality bokken from Japan can be purchased from the links below. The White oak Takemusu Bokuto a.k.a. IWAMA Bokuto from Iwata Co. for example, was developed by Morihei Ueshiba, with a length of 106cm and weighs 600g.

Jo (Short Staff)

The Jo length should neatly fit under your armpit when standing (without high heels!). Standard Jo’s seem to come at a length of about 127cm. If you are over 6 foot tall, you may want to consider purchasing a longer Jo. Jo diameter can also vary. If you’d like a heavier Jo, then consider 27mm or 30mm.

Please find below links to high quality products made in Japan: