Hello, my name is Alaric and I'm a teacher in training with Isshinkai Aikido. I first started practising Aikido in 2005 when a housemate suggested I do something physical and with movement to counter-balance all the sitting meditation I was doing at the time - and also to get me out of my head! That first part of my training was up in Manchester and lasted until 2008 when I moved down to London.
I was very keen to continue my training, but couldn't find any Aikido club that had that same flavour of dynamic but expansive practice which would leave me feeling that I was two inches taller than at the beginning of class. I tried 5 or 6 different teachers and came away a bit discouraged, though every now and again I would give it another shot.
Eventually, after writing to my teachers, I received a hearty recommendation for Isshinkai, which they thought had classes near where I lived in Waterloo. The first class I went to, led by Emile Swain Sensei, one of the Founders' senior students, was a bit like returning home. I knew straightaway that this is what I had been searching for. Powerful but with a light touch, creative & playful: wanting to give people a bigger experience of what they could be.
This positive response was multiplied when actually getting to work with Denis Burke Sensei in seminars and feel the depth of his engagement with the Art of Aikido and the elegance and ease with which he made tangible in his technique the profound ideas he was teaching us about. I have been attending on Tuesdays to class and Thursdays to practise pretty much without fail since 2014, such has been the positive effect I noticed from such consistency.
Aikido has changed my life, no question. I feel much more balanced, more grounded, more accepting and less afraid. I passed my 1st Dan black belt in Summer 2017 and that really is just the beginning of all the learning and development I feel is possible if I keep challenging myself with the teachings and ideas in Aikido. The more I practise the more I see how wide the application of the principles we explore through attacks and throws on the mat can be in my life off the mat.
Aikido is a practical way of bringing together the different sides within our psyche and the different energies within our bodies. When mind and body start to be co-ordinated life can be experienced in a much more fulfilling way - and I encourage you to come and try it out for yourself as it really is a wonderful path towards deeper connection and authenticity.