September 21, 2011 11:35
| Children and Kids
The Budokwai in Chelsea is one of those overlooked, insider secrets, which once discovered, fills your chest with the smug pride of neighbourhood love. It is one of the oldest and most respected clubs in Europe for the study of Japanese martial arts. The Budokwai has a long and interesting history in London. Established in 1918, the club boast several Olympic medal winners, including two current Olympic British team members.
The modern Budokwai now stands just off Fulham Road
, near World’s End, in a recently refurbished building that is beautifully accented with Japanese inspired finishes, keeping as many natural elements in the space as possible.
The changing and shower rooms have foot baths, and other touches that remind you that it is more than sport, it is also cultural. The club is competitive and you may enter on a day when there are skilled adults focusing on their practice, in the full throws of a workout or a match in the studio. Novice and experienced adults alike may take part in martial arts classes; there is a pilates section, too.
For children, the mini and midi judo sessions are age appropriate, emphasising focus and discipline while allowing children a chance to play and have fun. They are taught by highly trained instructors who seek to see judo enrich the lives of their pupils. The idea is to harness the energy to learn to focus in and out of the judo room.
The baby gym classes are really good fun. The equipment is clean and in good repair, and the goal is for the kids to get a really good play in. The classes were straightforward and enjoyable - both for the children and adults. My son had a blast navigating the room, he ran, he swung from the rope, he rolled around in a tunnel and was completely exhausted at the end.
George, who teaches on a Wednesday, is amazingly brilliant. He is also a children’s entertainer. George makes the class especially enjoyable for little boys and very silly adults. In addition to baby gym and judo, The Budokwai also offers art sessions for young children.
The classes are not inexpensive at £185 per term, but they are competitive in terms of the neighbourhood. Venues are not inexpensive in Chelsea, especially one so unique, rich in history and with a strong record of accomplishment.
Laura Vogel is a local mum of two and publisher of London Baby, a local parent's guide to free and affordable activities for babies, toddlers and young children in London.