Beginners self defence classes for adults and children enrolling now.
Free trial lesson available. (Book here)
Traditional Martial Arts Lessons for Adults and Children in Solihull, Birmingham.
Why choose aikido: Aikido is often described as “moving Zen” and the characters are translated as “the way of harmony with nature”. However, the focus of the Dojo (training hall) is practical. Repetition and hard work are required to master the fundamentals of training.
There are no competitions in Aikido. Students’ development in Aikido is tested by their interaction with others, their capacity to blend with an attack or deliver one, to take a fall safely, and to redirect the energy of an aggressor. After the teacher has demonstrated a technique, students practice in pairs, alternating turns as the attacker and the defender. Aikido techniques depend primarily on circular movements to harmonise with an aggressor’s force. Additional training with wooden sword and staff complement the body art and allow for improved balance, stance, timing, and distance in martial encounters.
Training in Aikido improves flexibility, muscle tone, endurance, and both body and martial awareness. Here at Genpu Kan, we integrate our training into our way of life, so that our training adds to our total development as individuals, across our physical, mental and social dimensions. We continually challenge ourselves to deeper personal growth by advancing our Aikido training, and supplementing it with the associated martial disciplines of Batto-Ho (sword drawing) and Zen meditation.
“This is not mere theory” O’sensei said “you must practise it!”
Tuesday 19.00 Beginner’s / Children’s Aikido (Classes separated)
Tuesday 20.00 Basic Weapons
Thursday 19.30 Intermediate / Advanced Aikido
Thursday 20.30 Iai Batto-Ho (Sword Drawing)
Saturday 10.00 Outdoor Training: Weapons / Conditioning
(By arrangement with Chief Instructor. Venue subject to change.)
Adult Beginners £20 p/m
Adult Full £35 p/m
Children £15 p/m
Parent / Child £25 p/m
Hatchford Brook J&I School
Old Lode Lane
You are invited to watch or participate in one aikido class free of charge
Every class begins with a formal bow to the spirit and recognition of O Sensei as the founder of Aikido. The instructor is then recognised with a formal bow. The class is then led in warm up stretches that stimulate the muscles and joints. After warming up, the instructor demonstrates techniques that are practiced by the students in pairs. During training, breathing and body motions are combined within Aikido techniques in order to understand and practice the efficient use of the body. Injuries in Aikido are rare because constant attention is paid to the safety of all students; especially beginners.
Each new student is individually trained in the techniques of falling and rolling properly. Beginning students receive special attention from the Chief Instructor and senior students to ensure correct practice and understanding of the basics. After several classes, the beginning student is free to practice with all students who possess a variety of skill levels. Class closes by bowing to O Sensei, the instructor, and fellow students in thanks for instruction and mutual respect.
Weapon training is an integral part of the curriculum at Genpu Kan. By working with weapons such as the wooden staff and sword (jyo and bokken in Japanese) one can feel the weight, balance, stance, timing, and distance of one’s body movement, oftentimes more easily than without them. “The sword and jyo are extensions of your body and must be handled as if they have your blood running through them” writes the late master Kisshomaru Ueshiba in his book, Aikido. “Unless you can make the weapons part of your body, you have not truly trained in Aikido.”
Batto-ho, “sword-drawing method,” is based on Iaido, “the way of sword drawing” and other traditional forms of Japanese sword work. Batto-ho is studied largely for the same reasons as weapons work with bokken and jyo: for what it reveals about the roots of Aikido as a martial art.
Aikido has many virtues for the physical and emotional development of children. It develops discipline and concentration, and emphasises respect, harmony, and an inner centre of calm and strength. It utilises many different exercises to help the child to practise safely, learn to judge and take advantage of the distance from the attacker, and to improve on timing and precision.
Children work on flexibility, balance, awareness and coordination which are vital to the development of a strong and grounded body. They also learn to work in pairs and groups as well as how to cultivate their independent practise. Furthermore, Aikido is a discipline of a thousand repetitions. Not everything comes easily and immediately. Children learn perseverance and persistence which are important skills in themselves.
(Children’s and adult beginners classes are held on Tuesday evenings at 7pm)
History and Lineage of Our School
O’ Sensei Morihei Ueshiba
Aikido is a martial way that was created in Japan in the early 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). O-Sensei, which means “great teacher,” was a man dedicated to the study of classical martial arts including both empty-hand combat, and the use of the sword, spear and staff. He developed Aikido through an intense and committed lifelong study of these ancient warrior traditions.
O-Sensei, however, was not merely satisfied to create an effective form of self-defence or combat. He sought true victory over himself as well. Through vigorous spiritual and physical training, the art of Aikido emerged, which in Japanese means “way of harmony with the fundamental force of the universe.” Like other Japanese martial traditions, O-Sensei’s Aikido was a type of Budo, or martial path meant for the polishing of the spirit as well as the body.
As O’ Sensei said: “The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.”
TK Chiba Shihan
Chiba Sensei was born in 1940 and began his Aikido training at the age of 18. He successfully petitioned to become an uchideshi or “live-in student” of Master Morihei Ueshiba. For seven years, he trained intensively under the master himself, and his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu.
As part of the world-wide dissemination of Aikido, Chiba Sensei was assigned to Britain in 1966 to form the country’s first national Aikido organisation, the Aikikai of Great Britain (later known as the British Aikido Federation). At first, Chiba Sensei established his headquarters in Sunderland, and then in London, naming his dojo Ten Pu Kan, “the House of the Heavenly Wind”. Chiba Sensei spent ten years promoting the development of Aikido in Britain and many other countries throughout Europe. In 1970 he was promoted to 6th Dan and awarded the title of Shihan or “master instructor”.
Chiba Sensei returned to Japan in 1976. In 1981, on the invitation of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF), he moved to San Diego, California, to become Chief Instructor of San Diego Aikikai and Chairman of the Teaching Committee of the USAF Western Region. He was promoted to 8th Dan in 1994. In February 1995, a group of Chiba Sensei’s students in the United Kingdom came together to form the British Aikikai with Chiba Sensei as its Technical Director. In 2001, Chiba Sensei created Birankai International to bring together all his students throughout the world under one umbrella, and to ease the financial burdens on Aikido students in poorer parts of the world. Chiba Sensei strives to maintain a traditional outlook in his training by adhering to the teachings of O-Sensei and the historical Japanese philosophical traditions of personal struggle as a way of self-improvement:
“I try to stick to the traditional ways as much as possible. The martial, warrior spirit is something I admire greatly and is something I try to preserve. The combatative arts have a profound body history in them and I don’t want to lose it. But it’s more than that. We follow the art, which is struggle. And through the struggle, we transcend into the path of Aikido. Eventually, it brings harmony between you and the external world.”
Genpu Kan Chief Instructor
Paul Robinson began his martial arts training at the age of 8 years old, studying traditional kung fu, and later full contact karate (kick-boxing), before discovering Aikido which he has now been practising for over 20 years. This includes a period of full time study as kenshusei at Berkeley Aikikai, under the instruction of Shibata Shihan.
He is a member of the Birankai Teaching Committee, graded 5th Dan Shidoin (National Instructor). These grades were awarded directly under examination by TK Chiba Shihan, a direct student of the founder of Aikido, O-Sensei.
The Japanese name for the dojo, Genpu Kan, was a gift from Chiba Shihan, which translates as following:
Universal Essence (Gen) Wind (Pu) School (Kan)