Sensei, CL1 Instructor, 2nd Dan
I started training in Aikido in 2003 and had no intention of grading as I originally just wanted to stay fit and learn something different from the punching and kicking arts which i had already done as a teenager and later in my adult life boxing and Judo in the Armed Forces.
After I began Aikido, I developed a real passion for the art, learning its complex movements and the way it flows, also the spiritual aspect that runs throughout all martial arts which took me on a path of healing and discovery.
I trained in Rieki to Master Level with Anne Marie Carratu of Reiki Light and later trained and completed two years Shamanic Healing with Jay and Kestrel Oakwood.
I started to grade and once I reached 1st Kyu (Brown Belt) I started training for my 1st Dan. During this training I had a major motorbike accident which set me back eight months, but i still continued to visit the Dojo regularly to help out and watch others train which can be very insightful.
Once recovered I continued my training against medical advice but I knew i just needed to keep going and relearn and overcome the fears.
I graded to 1st Dan in 2009 and also took a self defense Instructors course under the Martial Artist Association.
I later set up Aikido Spirit in June 2010 and we are still going strong.
I graded to 2nd Dan in 2015 and I still train and run classes in Chessington.
CL1 Instructor, 2nd Dan
I discovered Aikido around 2010 after looking for a local Martial Arts club for my son as a confidence building excercise. I took him to an Epsom based Aikido club and was immediately intrigued as I had never seen Aikido before coming from a boxing background.
After taking him for many months I was invited to join in and haven't looked back since.
During this time I meet Darren and started to attend his club as well, this allowed me to train in different techniques and meet these amazing people.
Aikido Spirit was hugely influential in me obtaining my 1st and 2nd Dan, so much so that to now be a part of the team is an absolute honor.
Its always an amazing experience progressing through your belts/Dan grades but for me to see the growth in others that I have helped teach is as rewarding.
CL1 Instructor, 1st Dan
His passion Aikido began when he left university in 1994. Having always wanted to try a martial art but never knowing which and previously not having had the time, a conversation with a very close friend resulted in him being taken along to an Aikido lesson and straight onto the mat. From that moment he was hooked.
As a member of Tolworth Ki Aikido club he achieved his 1st Dan in just four years, benefiting from a fantastic Sensei and a small group of higher grades and his close friend who helped speed up his learning considerably. A combination of his Sensei moving, loss of a location for the club and becoming a Dad saw him stop practicing.
In 2014 he took his 3 children to an Aikido class near the family's home in Chessington, Greater London, since a number of their friends were attending and they were keen to try it. This was Aikido Spirit and was how he met Darren. As soon as Darren found out he had previously practiced Aikido, it only took a bit of persuasion to get him to join.
The sense of achievement he felt gaining his 1st Dan has been surpassed by seeing adults and particularly the children/teenagers of the club progress, not least his two daughters and son. Being a part of all their learning whether as a partner, Sempei or on a grading committee is a great honour and privilege.