Friday, 15 November 2019

Does anyone in North Devon want to learn Aikido?

It is a great sadness to me that so few people have the interest or dedication to learn Aikido. This is a beautiful, powerful, elegant martial art. But it takes many years of sincere and hard study to make any progress. That fact, I think, deters people.

I have struggled for many years to encourage people to learn Aikido but very, very few people are sufficiently interested or motivated to take up this art. I can appreciate that people find it difficult to get to our venue in Bucks Cross. So here's an offer. If you would like to learn Aikido and you have a venue locally - maybe you already study some other martial art there - as long as it is within travelling distance, I am happy to come and teach one or more classes (no cost to you).

I've studied Aikido since 1983, my teacher was Sensei David Currie (7th dan), I've spent the last 8 years studying the Iwama weapons syllabus with Sensei Richard Small (4th dan). I've also studied at courses led by teachers in diverse Aikido styles including the great Koich Tohei (10th dan). I've been teaching Aikido since the late 1980s and have run clubs in London and in Devon. I would dearly like to pass on some of the knowledge and skill I've acquired over the years. All I ask is an open mind and a sincere desire to learn.

If you are interested, please use the contact page on this web site to get in touch.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

No Aikido 3rd October

The class at Bucks Cross is cancelled next Thursday (3rd October, 2019) due to work being done to the path leading to the Village Hall. We are back as usual next week!

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Aikido Cancelled (25th July)

Sadly, tonight's class is cancelled. I hope we'll be back as normal next week.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

No Aikido on 20th June

Sorry. There is no class this Thursday (June 20th, 2019). We are back as usual next week.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

30 Years A Black Belt!

I've just realised that next year is the 30th anniversary of my grading to black belt. I took my 1st dan grading in 1989, and my belt was awarded by my former teacher, Sensei David Currie. Where did the time go...?

Meanwhile, here's a video of Koichi Tohei, sadly no longer with us. Other than my own teacher, Tohei has been the greatest single influence on my own aikido.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

No Strength in Aikido!

The power of softness, the effectiveness of removing strength... these are the things that my students find hardest to understand. And they are the things which, in my view, are the most important to understand. I sometimes talk about "following the path of least resistance". For example, if someone is holding you strongly, by removing your own strength you will be able to let the person who is holding you find a path of movement that is simple and effortless. If you use strength against strength you will never find this path. Here's a short clip in which Endo Sensei illustrates this idea...

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Aikido Weapons - Martial Arts training in North Devon

The study of weapons in some styles of aikido is almost ignored. In fact, weapons are at the heart of aikido. Working with the bokken (sword) and jo (staff) teaches you balance, correct distance, dynamic movement, whole-body movement and it helps to build in many other important qualities such as being centred, fluidity, blending and much more.

Saito Sensei shows an 'Iwama-style' jo kata

Of all the 'schools' of aikido, it is perhaps the Iwama style, based on the teachings of Saito Sensei, that is best known for its strong emphasis on weapons training. Iwama aikido has a very large weapons training syllabus with katas, jo-taking, jo-throwing, paired bokken exercises and much more.

Tohei Sensei shows a 'Ki-style' jo kata

Ki Aikido, based on the teachings of Tohei Sensei, also has katas and other exercises though in my experience, Ki aikido practitioners usually devote much less study to weapons than Iwama students. Even so, the Ki style has much to offer. Its katas tend to be more dynamic and 'flowing' than those of the Iwama tradition. In fact, however, the two style overlap considerably - hardly surprising since both Tohei and Saito were long-term, high-grade students of The Founder.

Remarkably few students of aikido have experience of both the Tohei and Saito style of weapons practice. Which is a great pity. If you study both you will soon appreciate how well they complement one another and how much you can learn from both traditions.

Well, here in North Devon, you have the rather unusual opportunity to study both styles. The Sensei of the Hartland Club, Huw Collingbourne, has studied in the Ki tradition since 1983. For the last six years he has also studied Iwama weapons with Sensei Richard Small of Bideford Aiki-jo. And recently Sensei Small has been studying the Tohei-style katas to add to his extensive knowledge of Iwama weapons practice (which he has studied and taught since the 1970s).

Both Sensei Richard and Sensei Huw welcome practitioners of all styles of aikido. If you have studied Iwama style, Ki style or a style with its own weapons syllabus or no weapons syllabus at all, we hope you may find something of interest in the sorts of aiki weapons that we both teach.

Please, come and join us!