I started training in 1992 in North London under the instruction of Sensei Paul Barker who is the principle instructor of the Aikido Circle. The association was part of the NAF and our technical director was Tamura Sensei who I was fortunate to take tuition from (but too inexperienced to really understand the nuances of his aikido)
In 1995 I moved back home to Yorkshire and was lucky enough to find the White Rose Aikikai. I have trained consistently here ever since and have had excellent tuition, encouragement and guidance from Sensei Riley and, before his retirement in 2003, Sensei Hemming. I achieved the rank of Go Dan in June 2011.
We are fortunate that Sensei Riley encourages us to explore different ways to make our aikido work for our individual bodies and minds, whilst keeping us in mind of strong basics. With this in mind I try to attend courses outside of the White Rose to continue to broaden my knowledge and depth of understanding of the art. These combined with visitors to White Rose have enabled me to take instruction from, among others Yamada Sensei from New York, Donovan Waite and Hayden Foster. More locally we have been fortunate and I have very much enjoyed the instruction from Shihans Terry Bayliss, Terry Ezra and the late William Smith Shihan. In particular I recall the teachings of Ken Cottier Shihan who visited the association regularly and is sorely missed by many of us.
I started teaching as an assistant to Sensei Hemmings in 1999 and have had the pleasure to instruct in my own dojo since 2004. I currently instruct on a Monday and Thursday at the Morley and Dewsbury dojos and take tuition on Tuesday evenings. I am currently a senior instructor and grading officer for the White Rose Aikikai.
I am qualified with the NFPS to instruct self defence to BTEC Level 2 (Personal) and Level 3 (Trainer).
I have been lucky over the years to train with some fabulous teachers and students and I still wonder at how this simple, beautiful and potentially devastating art continues to confound my efforts to understand it.
“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping” (Chinese proverb)