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The ARNI Group

The ARNI group (Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury), is being currently run by its founder, Tom Balchin, 27, at the Lingfield Leisure Club. It is dedicated to assisting people to rehabilitate from stroke and other head injuries resulting in partial paralysis. Individual and group classes are on offer every Friday at the moment, Tom has lived in Lingfield all his life and is keen to help local people with his techniques.

It has been formed directly from the founder's own experiences of self-rehabilitation, creating real-life training techniques which have been recently shown to be superior to physiotherapy isolationary rehab. In 1997 he had a major brain haemorrhage which paralysed the left side of his body. When he came out of hospital he was determined to rehabilitate himself with the aim of complete self-reliance as soon as possible. Since then, he has developed specialised training techniques in order to become physically fit again; his successes coming especially from involvement in the realms of serious strength training, martial arts and energy work. 

Using this unique knowledge gained whilst training round paralysis, he has since trained a number of stroke survivors using his methods so they can regain actual movement, function and confidence. He has also completed his MA(Ed) and M'Phil and is working towards PhD. A major problem for many stroke survivors is that there are very few strategies for people to try that actually work, and few accessible sources from which they can find out how to try and regain actual movement. The means of effective rehabilitation can be unavailable from the Health Service sources once sufficient movement to move around seems to have come back. The lasting effects of the many classes that do exist do not have the power to allow the survivor effectively to change the overwhelming sense of physical inadequacy that often keeps them firmly inside their comfort zones, particularly if extra problems persist such as epilepsy or aphasia.Example of martial arts used

To counteract this lack of direct assistance to allow the survivor to develop their own recovery techniques, the ARNI group offers an alliance of three different disciplines; aikido and other martial arts movements, mixed with resistance training and chi-gung energy work. Regular physiotherapy assessments are integral to it's success. 

ARNI offers uniquely tailored training for the individual which revolves weekly round the elements, relying on the holistic effects of a combination of all the complementary strategies, which aim to hit individual targets for individual cases.

Training is done at a very basic level, using the principles, techniques and attitudes from each strategy. For example, aikido is a martial art, but they have taken the flowing body movements that are required from it to make it therapeutic. Importantly, it is presumed that each case will be different and will require different emphases. As the training is so personalised, it offers a unique chance to reap the benefits of training which is normally absolutely inaccessible to the average stroke survivor. The stroke survivors on their course already feel that it has been designed specifically for them because they have shown the necessary motivation to push themselves in the quest for further regain of movement and ability to cope. Before they found ARNI, many had almost resigned themselves to life with disability. One even comes down from Leamington Spa every week on the train, and another from Cambridge.

Tom's team ranges from the Head of the Kyudokai Martial Arts Clubs around the UK (a 6th Dan Aikido instructor who works at a very advanced level with the principles of movement and energy) to a physiotherapist of twenty-five years standing. ARNI is going to be running group classes starting in May, so keep a look out for the flyers or contact us directly. All personnel on the team so far are dedicated to working towards rehabilitation from paralysis, and have had experience of doing so through their own disciplines. They are carrying out two pilots of half a year each to gather performance data and also are running group classes from 4 to 5 o'clock each Friday.

It is an excellent opportunity to work with experts who are dedicating their time towards enhancing the quality of life for stroke survivors. If you feel that you could benefit from one day-per week contact with the ARNI group, or know someone who could, and would like to come along, please email Tom at: or write to:

The ARNI Group,
PO Box 68,


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