I spent an enjoyable, interesting and challenging afternoon hosted by the Wellsprings Aikido Club in Dorset yesterday. This was a Kumi Tachi (paired bokken) workshop given by Sensei Paul McGlone, 6th dan Iwama Aikido instructor. My experience of Iwama weapons work only dates back to last year when I began studying aiki-jo and aiki-ken with Sensei Richard Small in Bideford. The tradition of weapons practice in Iwama Aikido is very different from my previous experience in Ki Aikido and I still regard myself as a complete beginner in its study.
I am very much of the conviction that it is beneficial to anyone who wants to study aikido seriously to learn from as many other traditions and 'schools' of aikido as possible. Sadly, some aikido clubs are very 'insular' and do not encourage practice with people from other clubs. At the Hartland Club we welcome everyone, no matter what your previous experience and no matter which 'school' of aikido you may have studied with. Put simply: if you are happy to practise with us, we are happy to practise with you.
I am grateful to Sensei Mark Allcock of the Wellsprings Aikido Club for his similarly open and welcoming attitude. It has been a great joy to study at this series of weapons workshops. Here is a souvenir of yesterday - in this picture, I am 3rd from left at the back, Dermot Hogan (also from the Hartland Club) is 4th from left at back, Sensei McGlone is next to Dermot, Sensei Small is on the extreme right at the back, Sensei Allcock is kneeling directly in front of Sensei McGlone.