Billy Knowles – 5th Kyu

I have never liked sporting activities, back at school when playing football I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t simply wait by the other teams goal and wait to be passed the ball to score the goal, when playing rugby I would always pass the ball forward towards the try line to get the points faster, in basketball I didn’t understand why you had to keep bouncing the ball when moving about and trying to hit the rounders ball with that stupid stick just seemed pointless to me

Since growing up, or should I say since getting older, I have started to enjoy the personal progression and skill building related to sports enough to train and compete in a Triathlon, I started to understand the competitive side needed to drive me forwards


I have now started Aikido and have enjoyed learning new skills and progressing myself towards a grading, although you are solely training yourself to get better you also need a group of likeminded individuals that are willing to take the time out of their day to help teach and train with you, the team of individuals makes each training session new and worthwhile and I appreciate everyone who has helped me so far







Climbing Mount Fuji using shinkokyu      Hayley Nicholls – 5th Kyu  

After our second visit to Japan,  my fiancée and I decided to go back in the summer to climb Mount Fuji. Knowing it could be difficult if we were unfit, we started to train more at the gym and in martial arts. One if the aspects that we found very important was shinkokyu, deep breathing technique. Learning to perform techniques whilst synchronising your breathing with your movements is important in aikido and we applied this to climb Mount Fuji. When we arrived at the 5th station, our Japanese speaking guide spoke of shinkokyu, which fortunately for us we understood and followed all the way up the mountain to avoid kansoybyou (altitude sickness). Unfortunately for some of the non Japanese speaking tourists, they missed the crucial point of breathing deeply and not taking quick shallow breaths and had to stop. During the night climbing, the air got very cold and I found that I had the wear a face mask to stop my nose hurting when I was breathing in. Every time we crested a small hill, it felt like we were at the summit, only to find we had more to climb. From the summit, we had an amazing view of the sunrise above the clouds. I had a huge sense of achievement standing there and felt like I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it. If you look, I think it is easy to see aspects of martial arts, especially aikido, in everyday life……








My year of sport           Andre Vock – 5th Kyu     

Doing something over a long period of time requires dedication. Being motivated to do something new for long requires that you are able to improve over time and that you enjoy what you do from the start. 2012 was not only the year I started doing Aikido, it was the year I discovered a whole new interest in sport.

I’m not a very sporty person to start with and so far I struggled to find a sport that I really enjoy. I always wanted to try a martial art but never found the confidence to do so. After I finally started with Aikido in June 2012 my first thought was “I should have started this way earlier, this is so much fun”. Later in the year I got interested in endurance races but the main problem was that I’m not a runner! However, I wanted to try it and signed up for the Swanbourne Endeavour, a 5K obstacle race that marked the first time I ran 5K in my life. After the race (with me struggling quite a bit) my friend finally believed me that I can’t run and she convinced me to start with Parkrun, a free 5K event which is held every Saturday morning at different locations throughout the UK. Despite strong initial doubts I enjoyed running and in March I participated in the Milton Keynes 10K. It went well and gave me the needed push for something bigger: I signed up for Though Mudder. Tough Mudder is a massive 12 mile obstacle course that tests your all round strength, stamina and camaraderie. The event was held in May, I had two months to train and none of my friends were up for it. Through a colleague at work I signed up to a team and completed the challenge with people I only met once before.

Now in August I had my first ever Aikido grading. A completely new experience altogether and the closure of a year that has changed and shaped me. On my personal scale it was a crazy year. I discovered and learned a lot that I never thought I would but most importantly I met new people. New friends that helped me to improve and enjoy what I started with them. Thanks a lot.







Why I Started Aikido     Danielle Saunders – 4th Kyu       

Back in January 2013 I joined Seibukan Aikido in Milton Keynes simply as a means to an end. I am in training for the UK Stunt Register and martial arts, to brown belt or above, is one of the 6 skills they require to qualify so I decided to join this club, after getting a great first impression with them, train hard and work my way to 1stKyu as steadily as possible.

However! What I’ve actually experienced is proving to be so much more than ticking a box for the register for me. I’ve fallen in love with Aikido and, by association, Japan. Watching two Shodans for example is like watching two dancers, and practicing the move; feeling the reality of taking control of someone attacking you whilst still protecting them, or being protected while being taken control of is amazing! I always find it amazing how soft the move feels when you are Uke and how much better it works the softer you are when being Tori. I have had a particular instance in my past where I have been the victim of an attack and I have thought back a few times over how that instance played out and how if I knew then what I know now, even at my very early beginners level, I would possibly have reacted differently and have left it with a different outcome.

The social life with the new friendships we’ve built within the club made has been brilliant and rewarding and meeting truly inspiring people like Nakao Sensei and Nakao Akiko San has been eye opening and started to give me glimpses of a culture I now want to know so much more about. I’ve surprised myself by wanting to learn Japanese, which I’m in the early stages of doing, and my partner and I are joining others from the Dojo in a trip to Japan next year to explore the country and practice Aikido on its home ground with Nakao Sensei which I can’t wait for and most certainly wasn’t expecting to be on the agenda when I joined in January just to ‘tick a box’.

It’s fair and truthful to say my life has been enriched in many ways by starting Aikido, I believe in particular with the Seibukan Milton Keynes dojo, and I can’t wait to see what else it has in store to surprise me with!









Tony Epps – 4th Kyu

I first encountered aikido personally at a small seminar with several arts being represented, although largely Jujitsu – my primary art at that time.

There was a lot of difference between the Jujitsu instructors styles of teaching (the same as I always found at these events), some of whom used blending movements almost exclusively while others showed more direct interception and striking.

The Aikido instructor at the course by comparison was much more interested in the subtleties such as foot placement and angle relating to uke etc.

Having spent some time in an art which almost gave value to a destructive nature it was unusual to see someone so much in harmony with their uke. This was probably my first real personal interest in the art and led me to research it’s origins before finding a club with which to train.

Since then I feel I have learned a lot and grown as a martial artist.

It is easy to see both the correlations and the disparities between the two art however whilst it has been frustrating at times with Jujitsu being so subjective and (essentially) westernised in small groups throughout the UK it is refreshing to be able to follow so closely in the path of the arts origin. I look forward to continuing to train and expand my knowledge of the art and am grateful for having found a club with which I can train and learn without the often found, regular gradings purely for ‘club funds’ or favours/friendships that seems a little too common in many arts.








Aikido in a golf swing          Shin Bateman (age 13) – 4th Kyu     

When you hold the golf club you must touch the grip and not grab the shaft. Once you have done your warm up before lining up to hit your golf ball, you must have a good posture otherwise you will fall off balance. When you take the club back there is 100% effort. But once you get to the top and start your down swing, there is 0%. On the down swing, your club must be going down towards earth. But once you hit the ball and the club comes up, it must be going towards heaven. When the ball is in the air, you must make sure to look up because if you look down, you won’t be able to see where the ball goes.

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Aikido v My-mind         Joe Szmutko – 2nd Kyu  

My mind at this moment reflecting on Aikido.

I am lucky I have not really had the need to defend myself properly for some time however I know survival is the most powerful instinctive emotional states of the human mind specially just before & during violence. May be you have experienced none-adrenalin or Shock, then the rush of adrenalin just before action. This Phenomenon or rush is very overpowering in real life situations & cannot be emulated outside real life. You will know this state of mind if you have ever been unfortunate to experience it, difficult to summarise or to put into words but, “Life flashing before you, blood turning to concrete, thinking of loved ones, confusion, disbelief, images in the mind simultaneously in one second” this is a very addictive feeling for some, luckily for me I am not an adrenalin junkie, it is not something I need in my life to feel alive.

Unfortunately I am no stranger to violence I grew up in a rough neighbourhood & found escapism in football which turned into a long career as a semi-pro football; I have been a centre forward or “Striker” 28 years in England during the violent football years.
I have experienced violence & carnage of all kinds most weekends, during this time I have learnt many things about my own mind in the interests of self-preservation, glory & regret.

I think a lot of the problems I experience during Aikido practice come from the struggle occurring within my inner mind “Aikido practice” is not quite like a real attack depending on who I train with. In order to learn Aikido we have to simulate an attack as best as possible without hurting each other. To study safely we telegraph our strikes and reduce speed 50% otherwise people would obviously get injured & it would be hard for beginners & all to learn anything. I find it difficult being Uke at the same time I am allowing Tori to feel a technique, if I am to keep my attack true? (These are some of my challenges when I practice Aikido & Uke)

I also know that before we can produce Aikido to a useful level we have to first learn the intricacies of the art very slowly, I think of Aikido as more than a martial art for different reasons. As we train we learn to control the mind & slow down enabling a calmer approach to dealing with attack. It’s a medium that allows me to kind of experience a safe combat environment without threat, Aikido also keep me fit without damaging my body further, this is a necessity for me as my physical condition changes daily. Since I have studied Aikido I have noticed various improvements with in my mind & physically damaged body, as I get older I am slowing down a little but my speed of thought is good & my reflex actions have are better than before I practiced & more accurate. My joints have improved considerably, medical issues aside; my general wellbeing is good I hope this continues as I would like to continue to study Aikido. I also now own three companies with in the security industry & believe Aikido has helped me calm my mind & I can see more clearly, Aikido has also helped me by giving me an alternative option to deal with stress levels most of the time.

Many thanks to all who take the time to train us.







Mark Langdon-Jones 1st kyu

A martial art with No punching, No kicking, No hitting, No anger, No first attack. No aggression?

Are you mad they said, it’s just not you and at your age you will never change.

Everyone I know was surprised that I started Aikido and then even more surprised that I persisted with it.

But it is me, the same me, but on a different plain, calmer, reflective, controlled.


It gave me this and the more I give to it the more it gives back to me.






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