I began my Aikido training in 1974/5 while studying at the University of Essex, practicing under a student of Kasuo Chiba Sensei, within the Aikikai of Great Britain. I also trained in Tae-Kwon-Do during the same period, and in the vacations trained in Ki Aikido with the Aikikai of Wales under Sensei Kenneth Williams, then 5th Dan and one of the highest ranked Aikidoka in the country, under the direction of K. Tohei Sensei.
In 1977 I moved on to the Sussex University Aikido Club, and after moving to West Yorkshire a year later had a brief spell with Leeds Aikido Club until transport difficulties prevented me from training for a few years. This problem was resolved when I found the White Rose Aikido Club in Huddersfield run by Sensei Riley, which I joined in 1982, and where I have continued training until the present day. I was awarded Shodan in 1985 within the Aikido Research Federation and Nidan and Sandan by Sensei Terry Bayliss within Seijitsu Aikido Ryu, the latter grade being awarded in 1993. Since joining the White Rose I have been able to practice consistently over this period thanks to the excellent teaching, support and inspiration provided by the club’s two senior instructors, Sensei Riley and Sensei Hemming; and I was proud to be awarded my Rokudan grade by Sensei Riley in 2010.
During these 33 years of practicing Aikido in the North of England I have managed to attend more than 250 weekend courses and special classes under different instructors. In my early years of Aikido I was fortunate enough to train under many high-ranking instructors such as Kasuo Chiba Sensei, Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei and Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei, and I was privileged to practice under the present Aikikai Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba in Hong Kong. More recently I have taken instruction from the likes of P. Lee Shihan, O. Obata Shihan, H. Yamada Shihan and K. Shimamoto Shihan, and in 2011 during a recent trip to Singapore I was honoured to be given the opportunity to briefly teach at the International Friendship Seminar. In addition to the experiences of international seminars and sensei I have particularly enjoyed the instruction of more locally born but very talented and experienced teachers such as Terry Bayliss Shihan, the late William Smith Shihan and the late and much missed Kenneth Cottier Shihan who have all added different things to my knowledge of technique and given me a deeper understanding of Aikido.
I taught the regular Sunday morning class within the White Rose for 25 years, at many different venues; and particularly enjoyed teaching the jo and bokken and its relationship to empty handed technique. I currently teach a Wednesday evening class at Pudsey, Leeds, and I am a senior instructor and grading officer for the White Rose Aikikai.
Sensei Paul Derrick, November 2015