Firstly – Happy New Year to everyone!!

The last couple of months of 2012 were just as busy and rewarding for the White Rose Aikikai as the first part of the year. November 24th saw the big White Rose course of 2012, and we were delighted to welcome back two long standing friends of the Association; Shihan Terry Bayliss (8th Dan, Seijitsu Aikido Ryu) and Sensei Frank Burlingham (6th Dan, Institute of Aikido). The course was extremely well attended and everyone enjoyed a full day of expert and insightful tuition from Sensei Riley (7th Dan, White Rose Aikikai) and from our two guest instructors. As always the Aikido was of the highest standard, and students were again able to experience differences in emphasis and technique.

Before the course started there was a surprise presentation made to Stewart Robinson who has recently been forced to retire from active practice due to illness. He was very pleased to be given a Certificate of Achievement in recognition of his many, many years of involvement in the martial arts and his long term commitment to The White Rose Association.

During the morning session, in parallel with the teaching session, a number of kyu gradings were conducted. In the afternoon there was a pause in the tuition as Faye Clarke had the unenviable task of taking her first kyu examination in front of the whole class, and a full panel of sensei. (We added up the total years’ Aikido experience of the panel – let’s just say it was extensive and impressive!). During the class John Thorpe was asked to help demonstrate some techniques, and some more, and some more – and some of us started to wonder if John was being asked to do more than he expected as uke!!! After that the class enjoyed another session of tuition and practise before the formal part of the day was brought to a close.

The evening saw the informal part of the day where many joined us for drinks and a chance to chat informally with each other and with the Sensei. The informal and social side of the White Rose Aikikai again being an important part of our association and our aikido.

Congratulations to all those who passed their examinations on the day. Particular mention should be given to Faye who passed her first kyu; Diane Martin, after 20 years association with White Rose, was given permission to wear hakama; and John Thorpe had indeed participated in more than he expected. Although he has had some time off, it has been more than seventeen years since John gained his shodan in front of Sensei Bayliss, and after his grading in front of the full panel in the afternoon he was promoted to sandan.

On 10th December the Morley class was visited by guest instructor Sensei Ian Reynolds from Tai Jutsu Leeds. Sensei Reynolds, who has many years experience in the martial arts provided an evening of ground work with about 14 students. His instruction was very enjoyable and instructive and gave everyone something to take into consideration within their normal aikido practice (as well as bruised windpipes)

As hoped for, Sensei Riley lead an extended Sunday morning weapons class in December. The session had been a great success last year, and this year numbers were limited to ensure sufficient space in the training hall. The class was, of course, fully subscribed, and students enjoyed (and appreciated) three hours of detailed and dynamic tuition and practise in weapons technique from Sensei Riley and Sensei Derrick. The session delved into many aspects of paired bokken work not often covered in regular classes. Another example of the depth and standard of instruction that we have been privileged to experience at the White Rose Aikikai during 2012.

The association started a Facebook group in 2012. Many of the students have taken to utilising it during the week to exchange ideas and experiences, both in and out of aikido. Even Sensei Derrick has opened up a Facebook page! Thanks to everyone who has contributed!
Please remember to check the website regularly for news etc. Sensei Derrick regularly updates the gallery and front page notices, and the dates for the courses etc will be put into the calendar. We would like to develop this further during 2013. If anyone has any ideas, or would like to contribute to the site or future newsletters etc. then please contact Sensei Danford.

Wishing you all the best for 2013!
From everyone at White Rose Aikikai.

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