After 10 years of Muay Thai and Karate I wanted more than just hitting heavy bags of sand and wooden posts.

I started my Aikido journey in Stockport under Sensei Keith Downs of the Lancashire Aikikai. I found the powerful and dynamic movement intriguing and I was hooked. I trained whenever I could and had the pleasure of attending many courses within the Lancashire Aikikai and throughout the UK. I attended many courses with visiting instructors from Japan; Chiba Sensei, Saito Sensei to name a couple.

During this time I also attended many BAB run courses and received instruction from some of the UK’s best homegrown instructors, including William Smith Shihan. This is when I first came across Sensei Riley. I attended a course that was all about defence against kicks and was blown away by what I learnt; up until then defence against kicks was not explored or even taught. I attended a couple of White Rose Aikikai courses in the late 90s and early 2000s. I also travelled to Scotland and attended regular courses when Yamada Sensei visited and would travel to Brighton to train with Christian Tissier Sensei.

In 2002 I started to study under Daniel Linden Sensei ASU and obtained my san dan in 2015. I have run the Stockport Dojo from 2010.

In 2014 I invited Sensei Riley to teach in Stockport, and a new aikido journey began. For the next 3 years Sensei and I kept in touch and when he was available he came and taught in Stockport and my students and myself attended many White rose courses. I have also had the pleasure of teaching aikido at the White Rose Dojo in Kyoto. Then in 2017 I indulged in a conversation with Sensei Riley and asked to Join the White Rose Aikikai.

Aikido is changing more and more; teachers and students are moving away from what is and should always be a traditional martial art. We must keep what has gone before and not lose sight of the fundamentals that O sensei and many of the great shihans left us. We must retain the spirit and the mindset that we had when we were younger and keep spreading aikido as a martial art.

Sam Wilson January 2018