Sensei Mick Hajdysz, 5th Dan.
I met Mick some 32 years ago at the BAF dojo in Bradford. We were both young and very spirited. Both of us had a karate background and tattoos, so we hit it off straight away. I only participated at Bradford as a guest as I was teaching 2-3 times a week at our own dojo, but whenever I turned up Mick and I would have a great physical practice and then he would have me laughing my head off in the bar after the class.
Mick got caught up in all the dojo politics and hated it; he just wanted to practice. Around 25 years ago he approached me to see if he could practice with the White Rose. I of course said “yes”. This was a big step for Mick and his girlfriend Janet as they were Aikikai and we were not, but Mick just wanted to practice and practice hard.
Eventually Mick took over the Friday class at Halifax. This became known as ‘The Friday Class’ or ‘Mad Fridays’. The dojo had padded walls, being a nursery during the day, but the dojo suited Mick’s teachings and personality. Everyone had to attend ‘The Friday Class’ as a rite of passage in their Aikido journey.
Mick’s Aikido was very practical and physical, but he had a great understanding of the principles of Aikido and was very technically correct in his technique. He had taken ukemi for many Japanese and home-grown sensei, and was well liked and respected by them.
Mick had a fantastic sense of humour, both on and off the mat. He was always very respectful when I was teaching his class but berated his students with his humour any chance he got; often making me laugh out loud on the mat. The Friday night students took Mick’s humour in their stride and made a fantastic atmosphere on the mat. I have never been to a dojo with such a feeling before or since – etiquette or humour.
Mick was an extremely loyal student and very good friend, being supportive of myself and our Aikido, offering advice and backing when required. He has left us with a legacy with his students who have grown under him and continue to practice, and some now teach.
He will be remembered for his great humour, his technical Aikido and above all ‘The Friday Class’.
A true friend and Aikidoka. I will miss him!
Shane Riley Shihan. November 2015