About the 2019 Weapons Course

After a number of requests from members,  it has been decided to arrange a Weapons only course, and this will take place on 6 April 2019 at Brunel University, a venue which the British Aikido Board has used many times.  For more details refer to the course page National Weapons Course 2019

 The 3 instructors teaching and their details are as follows:

Paul Barker Sensei, 7 Dan, Aikido Circle’s chief instructor, who has been practicing Aikido for more than 45 years and Iaido for 40 years, drawing inspiration from Tamura Shihan, Saito Shihan, Chiba Shihan and Nishio Shihan.
The style practised by Aikido Circle is traditional Aikido, with emphasis placed on practical techniques and martial effectiveness. The Aikido Circle continues to evolve and adapt their style to meet the needs of the modern world whilst remaining true to the tradition of the art, such additions to practise have included being able to defend yourself whilst seated. 

Within the Aikido Circle, weapons practice is treated just as importantly as the unarmed training so that the student can learn the relationship between the unarmed techniques and the Ken (sword) and Jo (staff).  The importance of weapons in day to day training has led to the creation of an independent weapons syllabus which has provided students with the opportunity to further develop their knowledge.   Other aspects that are focused on in practise, are the use of Atemi (striking),  a fundamental part of the  art as O-Sensei (the founder) himself stated that Aikido in its purest form is Irimi (enter) and Atemi (strike).

Paul McGlone Sensei, 7 Dan,  Takemusu Iwama Aikido Europe, started practising Aikido in 1969 at the age of 18 whilst living in Glasgow.  om Weir Sensei was his first teacher, though he also went to classes under William (Billy) Coyle Sensei.  He also attended courses under Hayden Foster Sensei, Chiba Sensei, Kanetsuka Sensei and Kanai Sensei, as well as Pat Hendricks Sensei, Hoa Newens Sensei and a number of other Sensei from the USA. 

When Morihiro Saito Sensei came to the UK in 1985 he taught a seminar at Brunel University.  This was the first time Paul Sensei had seen Saito Sensei and it so impressed him that he changed his focus completely.  Since then Paul Sensei has attended further seminars under Saito Sensei in the UK and USA,  and spent a short time as Uchideshi under Saito Sensei in Iwama in Japan.  He has also attended seminars under Hitohira Saito Sensei. Paul Sensei started his own club in Glasgow in 1974 and after moving to the south coast in 1979 founded Poole Aikido Club.  Together with Tony Sargeant Sensei, they formed an organisation called Takemusu Iwama Aikido Europe to specifically follow Saito Sensei and train in Iwama Aikido.

O-Sensei used Ken and Jo in his aikido and developed the techniques of Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo which are not the same as other arts.  Saito Sensei continued these teachings and maintained the focus on the use of weapons.   So in Iwama Aikido as much time is spent studying Bukiwaza (sword and stick techniques) as is spent on Taijutsu.  Paul Sensei believes that to truly understand Aikido one must study not only the body techniques but also the relation of sword and stick to the body (riai) as intended by O-Sensei.

Paul Sensei will be celebrating this year 50 years of training in Aikido, and has gained the first three Bukiwaza Mokuroku (weapons teaching scrolls) for Aiki-Ken and Aiki-Jo.  These scrolls were all hand-scribed by Saito Sensei and were awarded personally by him in Cambridge (England), San Diego (USA) and Iwama (Japan.

Richard Small Sensei, 4 Dan, Takemusu Iwama Aikido Europe , teaches Aiki weapons at Bideford, North Devon,  Member Instructor of Ability Martial Arts Association.

Sensei Small started practicing aikido in the mind 1970s, at Aubrey Smith Sensei’s Wellingborough club,  he moved to Cambridgeshire and joined Tony Sargeant who inspires interest in Aikido to this day.    Sargeant Sensei encouraged his students to visit other styles, arts and master teachers,  and as a result Sensei Small travelled several times to China, Russia, Holland, Switzerland and France in pursuit of martial arts.   Moving to Devon he began to teach weapons classes in street clothes and shoes, and the simplicity of Jo, if not its applications, made teaching it as an art opportune.

Sensei Small’s club pursues principle based teaching and not mere choreography.  To this end it has been fortunate to have a local Ki Style teacher join his class.  The similarities of the application of principles from outwardly different styles become more evident with study.    Principles should be constant even if politics, egos, opinions and learning are not.  Students need to train slowly and purposefully in order that their bodies can inform their minds about what feels correct or not,  and to change what is asked of them.   What secrets Sensei Small has discovered on that journey, he wants to share with his fellow travellers, i.e. course practitioners.