The White Rose Aikikai has had a busy first half of 2013. March 9th saw the first White Rose course of the year, held at Dewsbury Sports Centre. Sensei Riley led the course for White Rose students as well as guests from other associations, and Sensei Derrick also taught one of the sessions. As well as the days training, students also assisted in Graham Terry’s Shodan grading. Graham had recently moved to live in Thailand, but he returned briefly in order to be able to take this examination with the White Rose. He also travelled here a week early in order to attend some additional classes with Sensei Danford in preparation for his grading, and at the end of the course Sensei Riley was therefore delighted to award Graham with his Shodan, and present him with his black belt. Graham is now enjoying his training (and teaching) with his new association in Thailand, but he intends to join us on future courses whenever he is back in the UK.
At the end of March some of the students travelled up to Durham with Sensei Riley, who was taking the regular Wednesday evening class at the university. This has become a regular event over the last 25 years, and is a very enjoyable training session for those who are able to make the journey.
Similarly this year Sensei Heseltine and Sensei Murray, along with some of their students, have regularly travelled down to Dewsbury to take tuition from Sensei Riley at the Tuesday class. They also attended one of Sensei Danford’s Thursday classes, at which Sensei Heseltine taught some of the bokken forms which are based on Chiba Sensei’s weapons instruction. This was a valuable addition to the instruction given by Sensei Riley and Sensei Derrick at an extended Sunday class at Batley in April. Following the popularity of this course last year the class was again full, and students were given the opportunity to practice the whole of the bokken awase forms; this time following the Iwama style set out by Saito Sensei. The class was vigorous and focused, and gave many students a deeper understanding of the way in which such weapons practice can enhance their regular Aikido training.
In March Sensei Chris Wright launched his Doncaster class. It can be difficult starting a class from scratch, and on this occasion it was made even harder when Chris was not given a great deal of support from the management of the venue where he was training. At present Chris is unable to train due to injury, but we all hope that he will be back on the mat very soon.
Another new class started with Sensei Mark Danford opening his children’s class at Dewsbury Sports Centre. This session, running from 6.45 to 7.45 each Thursday evening, is aimed at juniors (8 to 13) and intermediates (14 to 17). Mark has the assistance of John Thorpe and Lawrence Pybus in running this new venture, so we hope that it will be very successful and grow quickly over the next few months.
The 4th (BIG 3) International Friendship seminar 8/9th June 2013- Lowestoft was hosted by the one and only Sensei Frank Burlingham from Broadland Aikido club.
Instructing during the weekend
- Osamu Obata Shihan from Canada
- Philip Lee Sensei from Singapore
- Frank Burlingham Sensei from England
There was a very good turn out to this event by White Rose Aikikai, which was led by Sensei Riley.
The weekend started with a very comfortable journey for some, where everything was catered for. On Friday night an informal hog roast allowed White Rose Aikikai from West Yorkshire and Durham to mix and mingle with other Aikidoka from countries including France, Singapore, Belgium, Greece, Canada and England. The event was attended by 110 Aikidoka and two days of interesting and enjoyable training followed. Fortunately or not the rest of the country was enjoying a heat wave but Lowestoft was not warm enough to melt a Dan grade’s ice cream. Sensei Riley gave some important etiquette instruction on Saturday to enrich the day.
We all scrubbed up well because Saturday night’s proceedings were more formal and Sensei Uncle Frank put on a good spread! There were candlesticks, a three course meal, speeches and an important toast to absent friends.
White Rose Aikidoka received several comments from members of other clubs insisting that some of the kyu grades must!! be a higher grade than they said they were.
Meeting other clubs and organisations highlights the fact that we are very fortunate that White Rose Aikikai has a large number of dedicated very high grades. A vast experience and range of skills is available. Something for everyone at all levels.
Sensei Riley and Sensei Heseltine have now been regularly travelling to Northern Ireland to conduct courses for nine years, and this June saw them again carry out a very successful series of classes at Ki-Shin-Tai over the weekend. Sensei Riley tells me that he was very pleased with the progress that the students had made in their Aikido practice, and that this was in no small part due to the efforts of Gavin Campbell who has attended several of our courses in order develop his own Aikido and in so doing has passed this knowledge onto his own students. Sensei Riley also tells me that, as usual, the visit was characterised by an exceptional level of hospitality from all those they met in Northern Ireland.
The next course of the year was again in June, this time in Durham. After a very successful day’s instruction from Sensei Riley, it was rounded off with another excellent display of Aikido when Keith Murray took his 5th Dan examination. Those who watched Keith’s previous grading will not doubt the vigorous, practical quality of his Aikido, but this time he was given the task of also showing a very advanced ability to control ukes balance and posture. This he did in very sophisticated, subtle and refined way, working with students as different as Peter and Rose. No-one who watched his grading was surprised when Sensei Riley awarded him his Godan grade. Many congratulations.
A low point in the first half of the year was the decision to cease the Sunday class. The poor condition of the mats (a situation which the Sports Centre had failed to rectify), had led to low numbers of students attending, which meant that the class could no longer be sustained. Many students wrote messages of support on the club’s Facebook page thanking Sensei Derrick for his teaching and his support.
I case you are not aware; White Rose Aikikai now has a Facebook group and a Facebook page, set up by Nick Smith, and many students are using it to keep themselves informed about Association events and to pass on information and their thoughts about White Rose matters and Aikido in general. Join in.
Now for the rest of the year, and some dates for your diary. Seijitsu Aikido Ryu will be holding a course on September 14th and 15th; partly to celebrate Terry Bayliss Shihan’s 75th birthday and also to mark his 40 years teaching Aikido. The following weekend, on Saturday September 21st the British Aikido Board will be holding its annual national course; this year at Warwick University in Coventry. On September 28th Sensei Riley will be instructing at the White Rose Yudansha course, which will be held at ‘Allegiance MMA’ on Bradford Road in Batley. This will run from 12.00 to 5.00 and is open to White Rose students of 1st kyu and above as well as to invited guests from other associations. The final White Rose course of the year will be held at Dewsbury Sports Centre as usual, but the date has been changed to November 30th.
Two final dates might be of interest to some students. In the past when gradings were held during weekend courses it was felt that they were conflicting with the main purpose of the event, which was training, for example by taking up too much mat space. It has therefore been decided that in future gradings will take place during special class nights. There will therefore be a kyu grading at the Morley dojo on Monday December 9th. There will be a class as usual taken by one of the senior grades at the same time as the examination takes place, so no-one should lose out by this. Similarly, there will be a Yudansha grading on December 17th at Dewsbury in place of the usual Tuesday class. Students are welcome to attend, and will not be charged, but will be expected to take ukemi for those who are grading on the evening. It is expected that this will be followed by a social occasion at the pub! We are also making amendments to the grading syllabus, but any changes to the content or protocol will not come into operation until next year.
Finally; hot off the press – John Pryce began his Aikido training with Sensei Heseltine in Durham and was awarded his 3rd Dan by Sensei Riley in 2005. He moved to Japan in 2003 and after originally starting his own dojo in Nara, more recently he has been developing his own understanding of Aikido by training with different Sensei from different organisations (most recently with Payet Shihan from the Yoshinkan). After this intensive period John has decided to open his own dojo in Kyoto, Japan in August of this year under the auspices of the White Rose Aikikai and with the full support of Sensei Riley. More information can be found at www.kyoto-aikido.com and we would like to wish Sensei Pryce every success with his new venture, and perhaps one day train with him again, this time on a mat in Kyoto.