The second half of 2013 seems to have flown by, with the last few weeks being particularly busy.
As mentioned in the last Newsletter, Sensei John Pryce opened his new dojo in Kyoto, Japan in August, and this is now fully up and running, holding several classes a week for adults and children. Check out his website for more information www.kyoto-aikido.com
Some of you may know Sensei Nick Waites, who runs his own permanent dojo, the Koteikan, from his home near Bishop Aukland in the N.E. of England. Sensei Waites has been a friend of the White Rose for many years and Sensei Riley and some of our students have attended two courses hosted by him in recent months. The first, at the end of August, was taken by Terry Ezra Shihan, and the second, in November, saw classes being taught by both Sensei Waites and by Sensei Riley. Sensei Waites has recently produced another book – Essential Aikido, which is intended as a step by step guide for beginners. Further information can be found at www.aikido-koteikan.co.uk
Another long-time friend of the Association is Terry Bayliss Shihan, and in September his Seijitsu Association hosted a weekend course in celebration of his 75th birthday and also in recognition of his 40 years of teaching Aikido. Several senior instructors of Aikido and other martial arts taught classes, including Sensei Riley, and Sensei Bayliss himself took one session before the course ended and the presentations began. It was quite an emotional time for Sensei Bayliss when his own students and the many different Instructors who had taught over the weekend sang his praises and thanked him for his commitment and dedication to Aikido over such a long period. We all hope that he will continue teaching for many more years to come.
In September Sensei Riley organised another Yudansha seminar for the White Rose; designed to give senior students a more in-depth understanding of a different aspect of Aikido. Unusually, it was held at Allegiance MMA dojo in Batley, but this provided a large and well-matted area for training. The course was open to students of 1st kyu and above as well as to invited guests from other associations, and it was well attended, with students travelling from as far afield as N. Ireland, Scotland and Thailand. This time Sensei Riley concentrated on the swordwork roots of Aikido, and demonstrated the relationship between this and empty-handed technique, showing the way in which some of the basic body movements and techniques which we all recognise had been developed. This was something that some of the students had never seen before and was very well received if the enthusiasm for training was anything to go by.
The final course of the year took place at Dewsbury at the end of November. The first session was taken by Sensei Heseltine who then handed over to Sensei Riley who taught for the remainder of the day. Once again some students had travelled long distances to attend, including Sensei Frank Burlingham and one of his students who had come all the way from Lowestoft. Everyone had a great time as usual and the day was rounded off with an evening Christmas meal at a local Italian restaurant organised by Sensei Danford, which was attended by over 40 people. It was an excellent social event, and lots of people have been urging Mark to volunteer to organise something similar again next year.
Following a recent change in procedure, gradings are now being held during regular weekly classes rather than occupying time and space on courses, and a number of students have been successful in recent months. From Sensei Maloney’s class, – Lee Bamforth, Peter Hoyle, Adam Jones, Nasreen Razaq and Bini Razaq all gained their 5th kyu, and from Durham – Amy Dobson, Lee Dobson and Martin Wolstencroft were also successful in achieving this grade.
Diane Martin has been attending White Rose classes for many, many years when constraints have allowed, but her recent increase in attendance and commitment have resulted in rapid progress and it is particularly gratifying therefore that she gained her Shodan grade in October. More recently still, in December, the following students were successful:-
Rafal Jackowski – 5th kyu
Andrew Besford – 4th kyu
Eric Darley – 3rd kyu
Shaun Fairweather – 3rd kyu
Two students also travelled down from Durham to grade, and Gary Elphick and Steve Mitchell were both awarded 1st kyu and were given permission to wear hakama.
Finally, after the last class of the year, congratulations must go to two long-time students of the White Rose Association; to Wing Pang for gaining his Sandan and to Ian Tyler for being successful in reaching Yondan. Very well done to all those mentioned.
That’s it for 2013; but Sensei Riley has already been asked to teach at a couple of courses for other associations next year; there maybe the possibility of one or two trips to foreign parts, and as next year is the Associations 35th anniversary it’s probably going to be a busy 2014. Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.