Chester Aikido Club

Ryusuikan Dojo - Established 1979

O Sensei

About Aikido

History

Aikido is the creation of Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969)

Master Ueshiba (pronounced 'oo-eh-she-ba') was born in 1883 in a Japan which had not fully emerged into the modern world and where many of the martial arts were still taught by masters in the old tradition.

In his early manhood, he mastered several martial arts including swordsmanship and various forms of unarmed self-defence. At the same time he developed into a deeply religious person and envisioned a new system of budo (the way of the warrior) which would provide a basis for both physical and spiritual development. This he named Aikido: the way (do) of harmonising (ai) the spirit (ki).

By ki is meant the creative, life spirit of the universe; one's own life energy. "True budo is the way of great harmony and great love of all beings" wrote Ueshiba. That he meant Aikido to be more than a method of self-defence is conveyed in his words, "I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind".

Principles

Aikido is a weaponless system designed solely for self-defence. It is essentially non-violent and as conceived by its creator, non-competitive. Force is never opposed with force. By means of spherical movements an attackers force is diverted and turned back upon him. In addition to throws to bring the assailant to the ground, there are also a variety of joint locks for controlling an attacker. Though these can be painful and induce immediate submission, they are applied so as not to cause injury. Aikido is perhaps the most subtle and graceful of the various martial arts. Since Aikido techniques do not demand physical strength or aggressive spirit, it is practised by people of all ages and physical make up, by women just as well as by men.  

Benefits

The Benefits of Aikido Practice Since Aikido is based on full and natural body movement, it exercises every limb and joint of the body. Flexibility, muscle tone, co-ordination, quick reactions are all developed. It does not demand unnatural body building preparation but is an absorbing way to keep fit along natural lines and within a framework of aesthetic movement.

As we get older, we lose the flexibility in our joints at an alarming rate. Aikido is an excellent way of restoring and preserving a supple healthy body. Moreover, there should be enough expenditure of energy in an Aikido practice to stimulate the heart and give it plenty of exercise.

Aikido is essentially a method of self-defence, so that through regular practice one will acquire a sound basis of agile movement and speed of reaction that should prove useful if the occasion ever demanded it in real life.

In common with other oriental philosophies (and indeed with modern science) Aikido teaches that there is no real separation between that which is body and that which is mind. In subjecting our bodies to the precise discipline of Aikido we might eventually influence our minds for the good: creating an inner calm and balance that my be carried into our daily lives, helping us to become better and more effective people. .

Modern Organisation

The Aikikai Foundation
Founded in 1948 for spreading the teachings of the Founder throughout the world, the Aikikai foundation, with its headquarters at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, is the guiding body of orthodox Aikido. It is represented in more than fifty countries. The Director of the foundation is Moriteru Ueshiba, the grandson of the founder. He is referred to as Doshu (Master of the Way).

The British Aikido Federation
 In 1968, the Aikikai of Great Britain was founded under the direction of Kazuo Chiba Shihan who had been assigned to Britain by the Aikikai Foundation, Tokyo, with the responsibility of developing Aikido in this country.  In 1976 Minoru Kanetsuka Shihan became the Technical Director of the organisation which had been renamed the British Aikido Federation.  With its student wing, the British Universities Aikido Federation, the BAF is composed of affiliated clubs or dojos from all over England and Wales (in 1978 the Scottish clubs previously affiliated to the BAF formed an independent Scottish Aikido Federation which maintains the closest links with the BAF). It is one of a very small number of associations in England and Wales with 'Full Recognition' from the Aikido World Quarters (the Hombu Dojo, Tokyo) and membership of the International and European Aikido Federations. The British Aikido Federation remains closely linked with Aikido World Headquarters.  All dan grades (black belt holders) within the BAF are recognised by the Hombu Dojo and registered with the Intentional Aikido Federation and receive certificates issued by the Head of the World Aikido Movement, the Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba.

The structure of the BAF Teaching Syllabus is closely based on that of the Hombu Dojo and not only proficiency of technique but also correctness of manner and attitude is greatly emphasised.  National Instructors' Courses are held each year and the Technical Director Kanetsuka Sensei, conducts weekend courses throughout the year at local centres all over the UK.  Two major national courses, the Spring Course and the weeklong Chester Summer School, attract many Aikido students from abroad too.

All members of the BAF enjoy the benefits of both Public Liability Insurance and Personal Accident Insurance; and all BAF Instructors have Professional Indemnity Insurance and basic first aid qualifications. The BAF is a member of the Joint Aikido Council.  The JAC is an umbrella organisation that represents, in the UK, all seven groups that are recognised, affiliated to and supported by the Aikikai Foundation (Hombu Dojo) the World headquarters of Ueshiba Aikido.

Thanks to its wide international connections the BAF stands very much in the mainstream of Aikido development, and by virtue of its close ties with the fountain-head of Aikido, the Hombu Dojo, it maintains a wholly orthodox direction in its teaching and development.

The teaching of the Founder of Aikido excludes any form of competition in Aikido and emphasises the principles of non-aggression and harmony.  The BAF strongly maintains this attitude.  Every effort is made to instil into our members the principle of non-violence and of concern for others both inside and outside the practice room.

Minoru Kanetsuka - Shihan, 8th Dan Technical Director of the BAF
Born in Tokyo in 1939, Minoru Kanetsuka began studying Aikido in 1957 while a student at Takushoku University (Tokyo). After graduating, he went to Nepal and during his eight year stay there gave instruction to the Nepalese Royal Family and the Nepalese Police Force. In 1972 he came to Britain and became assistant instructor to Chiba Sensei (then Technical Director of the Aikikai of Great Britain). After Chiba Sensei's departure from Britain in 1977 Kenetsuka Sensei became Technical Director of the renamed British Aikido Federation. As such, he is the official representative of the Aikikai Hombu (the World Aikido Headquarters) in the United Kingdom. In addition, Kenetsuka Sensei is the Technical Director of the Scottish Aikido Federation. As well as conducting frequent courses throughout Britain and Europe, he teaches regularly at the Ryushinkan International Dojos in London.

Chester Aikido Club

Chester Aikido Club (Ryusuikan Dojo) was founded in 1979, initially on a temporary basis to host a beginners course in the Chester area. The original intention was that any new students would then transfer, after completion of the course, to the Liverpool Aikido club, which at the time was the main club in the NorthWest area. That was more than thirty years ago and the Club is still going strong with many of the original students still practising regularly.

In its history, the Chester Club has moved location on many occasions around the City; the latest move in early 1998 brought us to our current location. This being an old chapel on the outskirts of the city centre that has been converted with the aid of National Lottery funding into a purpose built dojo (martial arts training hall) with excellent facilities that is used by a number of local martial arts clubs.

We hold regular classes for both adults and children, at which new students are always welcome, with gradings held regularly for all students. Instruction at the Club is provided by fully insured and qualified black belt instructors. All instructors have current DBS checks and 1st aid certificates.

In addition to trips to local and national courses, the Club organises a number of events each year at which Club members and their friends and families can get together and socialise away from the rigours of training.