Aikido is an empty-handed, weapons-derived martial-art with an emphasis on harmonising with the movement of an attacker to take their balance and control their action. The name itself roughly translates to The Way of Harmonising Energy.
It's more than just self-defence. We train to to exhaust aggression. To physically and mentally neutralise violence when it confronts or tempts us.
Above all else, it's a lot of fun!
Developed in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba during the last century, the spirit of his teaching evolves today through many who have been inspired by his skill and philosophy.
Phil started practising Aikido in 1998 while studying for his Physics degree at the University of Sussex. He trained regularly; attending all 6 classes per week that the Brighton Aikikai had to offer. Receiving expert tuition from Jeff Balmer and Mark Hale - two top students of Pascal Durchon - Phil's interest in Aikido grew to an all encompassing level.
As part of Phil's ongoing research into the martial arts he has sought instruction from Thai Boxing and Karate to add an understanding of the more offensive art forms, in an effort to try and understand the principles of Aikido as a defensive system.
Having instructed at the Brighton Aikikai for over a decade, Phil has trained up many Aikidoka to become internationally recognised Aikikai black belts and subsequent BAB instructors.
Amyas started practising Aikido in 2004 in Vienna, where he lived for half a year before attending university in Brighton. Under the instruction of Karl-Heinz Reiter, he trained intensively to gain a solid grounding in both unarmed practice and sword work.
In March 2010, Amyas received his Shodan from Pascal Durchon, and then 2nd dan in November 2012. In autumn 2010 he became a qualified BAB instructor and has been teaching regular classes at the Brighton Aikikai.
Over the years, Amyas has been following Phil's instruction closely in his efforts to improve his own practice and to become a better teacher for the club. Being the first student to be trained to Nidan level under Phil is testament both to the student's persistent dedication and to the teacher's inspirational quality of practice.
Conan was introduced to Aikido and Brighton Aikikai at the start of 2007. At that time the Club was run by Nik Doyle, Mark Hale, and Phil Rozier. Fascinated, Conan attended nearly all classes on offer, and soon started taking part in local and overseas seminars.
When Mark and Nik left the club, Conan's influence came not only from Phil, but Jeff Balmer who had returned to Aikido after a long hiatus. When Jeff formed Crawley Aikikai with Frank Slama, Conan started attending their lessons too, supporting the club in its nascency while still training in Brighton.
After promotion to Shodan in 2012 under Pascal Durchon, Conan has been instructing and training at Brighton and Crawley. He considers Phil's strong martial emphasis essential to the utility and aesthetic of Aikido, and hopes to impart these qualities to others.
The BAB is the only Aikido representative in the U.K. that is recognised by the Government's Sports Council. As a member you can train in any other BAB certified dojo with the confidence that you are, at the very least, insured to practice.
However, while it does promote quality Aikido, it is not within the remit of the BAB to curate every style for its authenticity or practicality, nor to actively regulate the teaching methods of any particular club.
Aikido is an expressive martial art, and there are as many ways to teach it as there are people who study it. The BAB understands this, so it focuses on the broader aspects of adminstration, insurance, and encouraging good coaching principles.
It is an important part of Aikido in the U.K., but belonging to the BAB is only part of the story.
With myriad styles to choose from but no absolute arbiter of quality, to whose standard should you hold your chosen club to? The only sensible answer is; your own.
Of course, if you are a beginner it is difficult to know if what you are studying is right for you. It is an unfortunate fact that many people train for years before realising another style might suit them better.
So be inquisitive, ask questions, and make your own judgements about the quality of teaching you are receiving.
The least we can say is no club should hold its students honour-bound. We offer our studies to anyone wishing to learn and appreciate that people come and go. But while you choose to train with us we hope you find the experience as enjoyable and fulfilling as we do.
First class? It's on the house! Just turn up in loose-fitting clothes; don't spend any money on kit until you know what you're getting in to!
Our bank details for DD and SO:
HSBC UK Sort code: 40-14-01 Account number: 11516205
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