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What got me into Aikido

April 5, 2013

Last night after class, Simon Barrand asked why I got into Aikido, I gave a quick answer, but I thought I’d expand here and look at the reasons and circumstances at how I began training with White Rose Aikikai. (sorry this is a long post)

 Cast your minds back to Aril 2001, I’m not sure what you were doing back then, but I was reflecting on my recent 1nd Kyu grade exam in Wado Ryu, it had been a tough physical grade, all had gone well, but I had struggled with a section on holds and grab type attacks, I realised there was a weakness which I needed to address, this coincided with 2 of the senior instructors wanting to look into the Jujitsu origins of the system.

 We heard about an Aikido demonstration, and went through to watch, Sensei Dave Hey and Sensei Jim Wilson  began training there for a short while after the demo, the club was a shodokan (Tomiki) style and after a few lessons they came away fairly unsatisfied.

 We (the seniors at the Karate club) began to attend Jujitsu courses and mixed Budo courses hoping to improve our skills, this helped, but with this kind of training the effects are often short lived, and it’s often hard to integrate these new skills into an established syllabus and training culture.

 A year on and was no further in really increasing my skill set, I bought a couple of Aikido books but without instruction it was very hard to understand and learn from them. I was at this time training 2 hours a day 6 days a week and in the best shape I’ve probably been, so by the summer / Autumn of 2002 I decided to start Aikido, after a quick search on the internet I found the BAA club at lightwaves in Wakefield, on a Friday night.

 The training was physical, a lot of running up and down the mat, press ups and sit ups kind of thing, which was fine but I was already doing that most of the week with wado ryu and Taekwondo already, now I know that it is wrong to come into a style with preconceived ideas of what that system will look like, but for me this wasn’t the Aikido I was looking for, so for that (and a few other reasons I wont go into here) I decided that this kind of training wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

I returned to Wado Ryu on a Friday, (along with Tuesday’s and Thurday’s) until taking my 1st Dan in 2003, again it was a tough physical grading which went well, but once again I felt the holds and grab attacks were my weak areas.

 I happened to attend a Self defence course with Dave Turton, at the Skoposs mill in Batley around the time of my grading and noticed the poster for White Rose Aikido on the notice board, I saw also the tradition kamiza, and I got a good feeling about the dojo, I sent Sensei Riley an email, and was invited to come down.

I started there with Sensei Derrick in June 2003.

There’s quite a funny story about my first lesson, maybe I’ll share that a bit later…. 


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