This year’s BAA ‘South of the River’ school brought together some of the BAA’s most senior coaches to teach; Bob Jones 7th Dan, Ken Broome 7th Dan, Shaun Hoddy 6th Dan and Paul Wildish 6th Dan respectively.

These sessions were also watched and enjoyed by a very distinguished visitor from the Japan to the BAA, Mr Tetsu Ehara 7th Dan, Vice-Chairman of the Japan Aikido Association. Tetsu Ehara Sensei, is no stranger to the England, having worked for his company in London as a young man. As a Waseda graduate and 4 Dan Tomiki Aikido, he naturally trained in his free time with the London clubs and made a major contribution to the BAA’s early formation and growth. A skilful randori player he and Ken Broome share many ‘aikido sto-
ries’ during those days and have remained good friends.

Shaun Hoddy, who has been closely associated with SOTR from its inception, one again brought his in depth knowledge of Ohba Shihan’s Koryu no Kata, to the programme. Shaun taught the Koryu dai Ni this year and everybody appreciated the detailed insights into how the techniques work individually and flow together as a kata.

Bob Jones taught to a theme that explored the relationship between maai (distance) in judo and aikido. Demonstrating that while in our randori based aikido we look to defend and respond to attack at a distance, one must often close the distance to tight judo range to throw effectively.

Ken Broome, explored variations and randori techniques from his limitless repertoire gathered over years of top-level shiai experience. His sutemi (sacrifice) techniques particularly appealed to those who attended and were practised enthusiastically. There was the time in Mr Ehara’s and Ken’s early competition careers when a limited number of such throws were allowed in shiai. Some of those at SOTR
practising seemed keen to see these throws reinstated!

Keeping the randori focus, Paul Wildish looked at exercises that might help players establish the all important ‘distance apart’, essential to both toshu and tanto randori. The proposed new Toshu Randori rules from the JAA, seek to eliminate close quarter grappling and these ideas were also explored in this closing session.

Numbers were slightly down on last year, no doubt Brisbane may have had an effect on this, however this was more than made up
by the enthusiasm shown by all those taking part.

Thanks to Phil Eyers, Christophe Courtin and the Genryukan members for organising this very enjoyable high level event.