Update: International Aikido Federation AGM, 2021

Some thoughts about aikido and COVID-19

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 currently practising with the following caveats:

  • Two sessions per week (Thursday, 17:30-19:00, and Saturday, 10 am-12 noon).
  • Both sessions are at Leighton Sports Centre, Westbury.  
  • Hands and weapons must be sanitised; please cultivate the habit of sanitising hands and weapons frequently during the session.
  • Be prepared to arrive, practise and leave without using the Leighton Sports Centre changing facilities, in case these are out of use.

Students are no longer required to submit a COVID-19 Indemnity Form before each class, but it is a condition of practice that you do not attend if you have COVID symptoms or have reason to think you might expose other members to infection. If you develop symptoms in between sessions, you should notify the club.

We review the safety factors regularly and will 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 07425 921 512)


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.

Our instructor is Robert Hill sensei, 6th dan, who has practised and studied aikido for over 50 years. He is currently serving as Secretary of the UK's Joint Aikikai Council (JAC).

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, lockdowns permitting, members of the club travel to Belgium for training seminars led by senior instructors from Australia and Belgium. Each year, for several years, we have welcomed Hanan Janiv shihan, 7th dan - a senior Aiki Kai Australia instructor from Canberra -  to Wiltshire for our Spring keiko weekend.


2021 News from the International Aikido Federation

The IAF held its 2021 annual general meeting in October and elected a new Directing Committee. A summary of the meeting can be found on the IAF website, here:


Our links to the IAF include:

  • Tony Smibert shihan of Australia Aiki Kai and long-time student of Sugano Sensei. Smibert shihan has conducted several Spring seminars and Inner Aikido Schools in Belgium.  
  • Frederic Heylbroek from the Belgian Aikido Federation (who some club members will recognise from the tatami in Belgium).

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: 07425921512

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.