Commemorating Sugano Sensei, 10 years on

Some thoughts about aikido and COVID-19

What can I practise during a lockdown?

COVID-19 and resumption of practice

Our principles for practising aikido in the context of COVID-19 are:

  1. Protect our health and that of our families and communities;
  2. Comply with legal requirements;
  3. Follow the recommendations of the UK's Joint Aikikai Council.

With those principles in mind, we are resuming practice in August 2020 with the following caveats:

  • One session per week (Saturday, 10 am -12 noon)
  • Outdoor practice only, consisting of weapons work and tai sabaki: no physical contact
  • Six people or fewer per group, with social distancing within and between groups
  • Students will be required to submit a COVID-19 Indemnity Form before each class
  • Hands and weapons must be sanitised; weapons must not be exchanged or shared
  • Be prepared to arrive, practise and leave without using the Leighton Sports Centre facilities 

We will review the safety factors regularly and adapt as conditions and facilities change over time.


If you are joining us for the first time, please contact us first so we can make you aware of COVID-19 precautions. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call/SMS 0705 005 2931)


Aikido is a modern discipline with its roots in Japanese martial arts. Developed in the early 20th century by its founder, Morihei Ueshiba, and based on his background of rigorous training in traditional Japanese jujutsu, sword and spear techniques, aikido offers a comprehensive system of throwing, joint-locking and pinning techniques. It is effective as a martial art, but it is based on a philosophy of non-violence and self-fulfilment, and its essence goes beyond the resolution of physical conflict.

Ueshiba, often referred to as "O Sensei" ("the great teacher"), spent the latter half of his life developing his physical disciplines as a means of refining and uplifting the human spirit. He named the result 'aikido', which can be roughly translated as 'the way of harmony with natural energy'. Aikido is a true 'budo' path, in which training in a physical discipline is used as a 'Way' to spiritual growth. As a result, practising aikido has both physical and psychological benefits.

In recent decades, aikido has risen in global popularity while remaining true to the principles of budo. In accordance with the founder's ideals, aikido has remained distinct from sports, in which one person competes with another. Aikido offers a path for personal development, for people who want to fulfil their human potential.

Aikido is a Way

There is commitment and there is obligation.

Do not abuse or misuse the art of aikido.

Study carefully, honestly and humbly.

Respect your seniors and look after your juniors.


Sugano Seiichi Shihan - 1939-2010

Although we are a small club, we are part of a global aikido community, and maintaining those connections is an important part of our practice.

In the UK, we are affiliated with the Joint Aikikai Council (JAC) through membership of UK Aikikai (UKA).

Our instructor is Robert Hill sensei, 6th dan, who has practised and studied aikido for over 50 years.

Our teaching lineage is through the late Sugano Seiichi shihan, 8th dan, who was a live-in student (uchi-deshi) of O Sensei, and then taught in Australia, Benelux and New York over a period of 45 years.

Through that lineage, we have close links with both the principal aikido federations in Belgium (the Association Francophone d'Aikido (AFA) and the Vlaamse Aikido Vereniging (VAV)), and with Aiki Kai Australia.

At least once a year, members of the club travel to Belgium for training seminars led by senior instructors from Australia and Belgium. Each year, we welcome a senior instructor from Canberra - Hanan Janiv shihan, 7th dan -  to Wiltshire for our Spring keiko weekend.

Training fees are as follows:

* Annual club membership: £20

* Annual student insurance: £6

* Mat fee (per session): £5

The membership and mat fees cover the following costs:

  • Hire of training locations (both premises are operated by third parties, who charge us a fee for the use of the mat space). Any surplus funds also help us keep the mat fee to a consistent £5 on those occasions where there are not enough people present to cover the cost of the premises.
  • Instructors' insurance and CRB certification.
  • Ensuring that members can buy aikido clothing and equipment at a reasonable cost, so that the cost does not represent a barrier to practice.
  • Costs (travel, accommodation) of visiting senior instructors.

You can contact us by email or phone, or by coming to see us shortly before or after a class (see When and where we practise for details).

Email address/SMS: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Phone: +44 705 005 2931

If you phone and are asked to leave a message, or if you send an SMS and don't get a prompt reply, please drop us an email as well.