Cambridge Aiki Dojo

Our aikido club

Brief history

Cambridge Aiki Dojo was founded in 1992 by Simon Whittaker, who at the time was with the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. It had emerged from a police club. Initially training took part in the police gymnasium (which does not exist anymore due to a conversion). Soon Glyn Davies, now 4th Dan, joined the dojo. Glyn is the most senior member of our club and still regularly training as well as teaching in classes. Simon Whittaker (who was also awarded 4th Dan during his Aikido career) had to stop training due to health and professional reasons and the day to day running of the dojo has been taken over by his students.

Since its founding, members of the club have come from all parts of the globe and Cambridge Aiki Dojo frequently welcomes visitors from other parts of the world who are temporarily in Cambridge. It is not uncommon to find as many languages spoken "on the mat" as there are practitioners on a particular evening. And several different styles and influences of Aikido are represented. Experiences and knowledge is shared - on the mat and during "after class deliberations".

Our club now has active members training regularly between the ages of 15 and 70 years old.

The style of aikido

We practice aikikai style aikido, and are affliated to the Komyokan Aikido Association (KAA), who are endorsed by the Hombu Dojo ("Aikido headquarters") in Tokyo. The Senior Instructor of the KAA is Terry Ezra shihan (7th dan so hombu), whose full-time dojo in Birkenhead, Merseyside is the Headquarters of the organisation.

The chief instructor of our club is Glyn Davies sensei (4th dan so hombu), who has over 50 years of aikido experience.

We have a very friendly and international dojo, so even if you are only in Cambridge for a short time, you are very welcome to come along and train with us.

Where and when is the class?

We have three classes per week... you can find out the times of classes, costs, where the dojo is, and so on, but having a look at our Useful Information page.

Gradings

We encourage our students to take part in gradings, in order to move through the kyu grades, from 6th kyu up to first kyu, in preparation for a shodan (1st degree black belt) grading. Gradings usually take place twice a year, in spring and autumn, and ar annonced in advance.

To find out what you need to know for each grading, please ask one of the senior grades in the class. There are syllabus lists that we can hand out on request.

Weapons in aikido

We generally use three kinds of weapon in our regular aikido practice. These are the jo (a wooden staff, about 1.5m long), the bokken (a wooden sword), and the tanto (a wooden knife). Have a look at the About Aikido page for more detail.

Instructors (senseis)

All instructors have completed the BAB coach level 1 course. Instructors coaching the children's classes also hold additional qualifications in coaching children.

Glyn Davies (4th dan so hombu)

"With a group of friends in 1963 I attended my first Aikido class, it was held at the Regal Sports Centre in Cardiff. The Dojo, primarily a judo club, shared space with a dance school on the first floor of the centre.

My first teacher was Ken Williams of the Renown Aikido Society, who travelled from The Hut, West Drayton Road, Hillingdon to Cardiff on a regular basis. The Renown Aikido Society guided our dojo for 3 years, it was during that period that I met my first Japanese teacher. Noro Sensei began to visit Cardiff and I will never forget how much he influenced my Aikido. He taught many weekend courses with a total emphasis on graceful movement and focused power.

My first Summer school experience was Grange Farm, where Nakazano Sensei taught for the week. This was my first insight into the link between Taijutsu and weapons.

As a 1st Kyu in 1967 I met Chiba Sensei for the first time, I believe Chiba Sensei was 27 years old at that time. I was so influenced by his teaching that I became a regular student of his. Chiba Sensei graded me Shodan on the 23 December 1967 and I enjoyed being his uke for many of his visits to Wales.

In 1971 domestic matters started to influence my regular practice. Career development had to take precedence over my Aikido. I began to travel extensively, chasing job opportunities, and working long and varied hours. My Aikido practice became very patchy and my fitness deteriorated.

In 1981 I arrived in Cambridge and found the Iwama dojo, Tony Sargeant was Sensei, studying under Saito Sensei. It was at this point that I began to visit overseas dojos particularly Israel and the West Coast of North America. Study under Saito Sensei concentrated mainly on weapons and influenced me greatly.

In the mid 90's I redirected my practice and joined Simon Whittaker Sensei at the Cambridge Aiki Dojo. Bill Smith Sensei honoured me with Yondan (4th dan) in 2002 and in July 2013 I be celebrated 50 years of Aikido practice. Cambridge Aiki Dojo enjoys a unique atmosphere and I hope that my life experiences can play a supportive role within this progressive dojo."

Britta Kleinsorge

Britta started Aikido in autumn 1990 at Kaiserslautern University with the Tendo-Ryu Association. She originally thought of doing Karate or basketball, but her timetable "only" permitted Aikido, which she now thinks was quite lucky.

She then caught the virus and has trained ever since, albeit with some intermissions due to travelling, moving or having a babies. Britta moved to England in 1995, when she joined Sensei Sargeant's Dojo. She then joined Simon Whittaker and Glyn Davies at the end of 1996 or beginning 1997.

She was awarded her Sho-Dan in 2000 and Ni-Dan in 2011.

 

AdrianaGonzalez

Adriana started training Aikido in Colombia in the early nineties. Her first teacher also practised zazen and was soon to become a zen nun, and the emphasis on the spiritual side of the training deeply impressed her. Afterwards she realised that at her university there also was an Aikido club and therefore she joined the Colombia Aikikai, under the instruction of Yamada sensei.

Adriana moved to the UK in the year 2000, but then took a long break from training when starting a family. Three babies later she was missing Aikido terribly and was not sure she could ever train again, but then her daughter, then six, found out about Aikido and said she wanted to train with mummy- that was the little push she needed to find a dojo. Adriana was delighted to find such a great club as Cambridge Aiki Dojo and has had a great time training here since. Now her two youngest children train regularly as well . In 2011 she was awarded her Ni-Dan by Terry Ezra Shihan.

 

Francis Rowland

Francis started training in Peterborough before moving to Cambridge. He was awarded Sho-Dan in 2010 and manages to fit in teaching and training with a busy family live.

 

Karyn Megy

Karyn started training at Cambridge Aiki Dojo in 2003, when she moved to the UK, to meet new people, and because a friend of her recommended "this great martial art, [she] should really try". She tried, caught the virus and never stopped, apart for two family breaks. She was awarded Sho-Dan in 2012.

 

Hugh Purser

Hugh originally started training Aikido in Japan under William Reed Sensei. After he moved from the Far East to Cambridge he joined Cambridge Aiki Dojo, brining with him unique insights and experience. He was awarded Sho-Dan in 2012

 

Dojo committee

Ever wondered how things get organised in the aikido club?
Who looks after the finances? Who keeps track of attendance? Who decides when gradings will be? Who organises the Christmas raffle and celebrations? How do we find out about and announce courses? Who decides which organisation we belong to?

OK, maybe you have never asked yourself any of those questions, but perhaps you should.

The answer is that the dojo has a committee to oversee the smooth running of activities.
It meets two or three times a year, as necessary, to discuss all the important things going on in the club.

The committee members include all dan grades and other members. Special roles are:

  • Glyn Davies (Head instuctor)
  • Britta Kleinsorge (Dojocho - head of committee)
  • Mel Rose (Club Welfare Officer)
  • Guillaum Chansin (Social Media Officer)
  • Norman Marles and Guillaum Chansin (Grading Officers, also helping with course organisation)
  • Hugh Purser (Social Secretary)

It is YOUR aikido club, and YOUR aikido committee.

That means, if you want to raise any issues; if you have ideas or suggestions, please talk to us.
We always try to act with the best interests of the club in mind, so knowing what is important to you will help us a lot.
After all, co-operation is a fundamental aspect of aikido.

Simon Whittaker, as founder of the club, has the position of honorary chairperson.

"Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat an enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family"

Morihei Ueshiba