The Gloucester club was founded by Dennis Cantillion Sensei in the early 1970s at Gloucester YMCA in Sebert Street, Gloucester after initial activities at Dowty Judo Club in the early days of Aikido in the UK. When Gloucester YMCA closed, the Gloucester club moved to Wynstone's School, Waddon.
In 1975, the Gloucester club expanded into the newly-opened Stratford Park Leisure Centre in Stroud. We had been practicing there on Sunday mornings but the COVID lockdowns caused us relocated to the Painswick Centre in 2020. As a consequence of the closure of Wynstone's School, we have retarted Tuesday evening practices to the Painswick Centre.
The Tetbury club was opened in 2006 by Steve Brignall Sensei and moved to the current location at Tetbury Leisure Centre, Sir William Romney's School.
There are many styles of Aikido that follow the paths of the masters that propagate them. From its origins in the destruction of the battlefield, O’Sensei’s legacy through Aikido is the promotion of harmony in all situations of conflict, whether that be a physical assault or attack or a disagreement in the work place or the home. In creating such harmony we learn to value and protect all life rather than destroy it. For this reason there is no fighting and no competition in the Aikido that we teach and practice.
Aikido is a martial art whose aim is much more than to be simply a form of “self-defence”. Although it is the case that Aikido can be effective as a self-defence art, Gloucestershire Aikido Club’s primary purpose is to provide instruction in the principles upon which aikido is founded including the study of both empty-handed techniques and the weapons origin of the art. Traditional Aikido is intimately linked with particular Japonese weapons techniques that O'Sensei synthesised with the empty-handed techniques to make Aikido unique. We practice Aiki Ken using a wooden sword (Bokken) in place of the Japanese katana and Aiki Jo using a wooden staff. Surprisingly, the techniques of Aikido, Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo are the same, unlike a mixture of Judo and Kendo.
Through these principles the individual discovers the true power that resides in us all and how it can be harnessed to enhance the existence of all things.
We make no claim that practicing Aikido with us will empower you with devastating self-defence techniques that enable you to overcome any attacker. This is not the spirit or the intention of aikido. Aikido as a mechanism for self-defence is something that the individual develops and evolves over time - years rather than weeks or months - and relies on a deeper appreciation of the true meaning of “self-defence”, gained through the extensive practice of Aikido.
Practice sessions will generally involve formalised attack and defence routines happening in a co-operative way where the attacker and defender work together to study and learn the techniques and principles of harmony. Proficiency in such techniques leads to a much wider application in the real world and one may then say that aikido can act as a form of self-defence.