The BAA winter school at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield provided an opportunity to practice under two world-class coaches Lesley Hepden and Fumika Yamasaki ably supported by Ayaka Nakashima, Vanda Fairchild and Mick Pratt.

Over 60 practitioners attended the weekend, which on the Saturday focused on the technical applications of the kneeling and standing sections of the Dai Roku.

The Dai Roku is an interesting and intricate sequence of techniques with underlying subtleties expertly explored by Lesley Hepden. The day was intense but rewarding and all who took part thoroughly enjoyed the content and delivery. Recognised to be the most complicated and difficult Koryu-no-Kata. This is the only one of two Kata, which includes weapons. It is the only Koryu-no-Kata to include techniques where Tori (or Toshu) are armed with the knife (Tanto).

Candidates should show slow, smooth and flowing kneeling techniques. The speed of the standing techniques should steadily increase and end in a crescendo. The whole Kata should be demonstrated with soft, flowing, gracefully movements.

Fumika provided an excellent demonstration that was highly informative and enjoyable. The session incorporated many aspects of traditional Aikido within a modern framework. A highlight was Tanto avoidance Ninin Dori style, providing for a dynamic and exhilarating

Following the course was a BAA Dan and Kyu grading with over 25 candidates at all evels. Adrian Tipling 5 Dan, with Paul Holding 5 Dan and Rob Hartshorne 4 Dan, headed the Dan grade panel.

Bob Jones 7 Dan, Mick Pratt 4 Dan and Lee Mazacs 2 Dan undertook the kyu grading.

Overall the standard was good and the majority of candidates were successful in their endeavors. The syllabus, whilst maintaining a balance between kata and freeplay, must still be seen as a tool to extract from the candidates a performance that demonstrates
that they understand the underlying principles of Tomiki Aikido.

Anyone can read Shakespeare but only a seasoned performer can demonstrate Congratulations to members who achieved Dan grades on the Saturday at the BAA National Dan Grading including

  • Mark Jenner 2 Dan Leeds,
  • Tom Houghton 2 Dan, EPIC,
  • Jon Paul 2 Dan, Jugokan,
  • John Parker 1 Dan, Leeds.