London Aikikai - Traditional Aikido in London
Tradition - Lineage - Excellence
London Aikikai Dojo (Since 1968)
Founded 1968 by T K Chiba Shihan, 8th Dan Aikikai. Officially recognised by Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan. Member of British Birankai (British Aikikai) and Joint Aikikai Council of Great Britain (JAC)
London Aikido is synonymous with the London Aikikai dojo. London Aikikai was Headquarters dojo of the Aikikai of Great Britain under T K Chiba Shihan when it was situated in Chiswick, West London. Chiba Shihan, a former uchideshi (live-in student) of Professor Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder, was assigned to Britain in 1966 to form the first national official Aikido association. The headquarters then moved to Earls Court in 1972 and was named Tenpukan Dojo.
After Chiba Shihan left the UK in 1976 to return to Hombu Dojo, Japan, the Dojo underwent more changes. In December 1985 it was reorganised and renamed Shinmei-kan Dojo (Chiba Sensei took the original name of Tenpukan dojo with him to San Diego Aikikai). Since its inception Shinmei-kan Dojo had close ties with Chiba Shihan 8th Dan through regular exchange visits with his dojo, San Diego Aikikai, California USA where he was the chief instructor from 1981. Chiba Sensei passed away on 5th June 2015 aged 75
London Aikikai is the biggest dojo within British Birankai (British Aikikai) and offers highest levels of instruction in London, with 2 classes every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
The Birth of Aikido
History, in many respects, has unfolded on the battlefield. Nations and races have risen and fallen to ruin in the midst of struggles - battles waged in the name of justice and peace, but which instead gave birth to the notion of military might and conquest.
In Japan, the Samurai or warrior class were the curators of the art of battle, known as bujyutsu. The Samurai's influence rose with the Minamoto family's establishment of military rule over Japan in 1205 and continued until the Meiji restoration of 1868. The restoration ended 200 years of self-imposed isolation from the outside world; Japan had realised the urgent need to modernise. With the change, came the destruction of the long heritage of the samurai with the establishment of Haito-rei, the law prohibiting warriors from carrying swords. Still, some schools of bujyutsu survived, preserving the traditional values of the warrior class.
Morihei Ueshiba, born five years after the Meiji restoration, studied in several of the surviving bujyutsu schools, including swordsmanship in the Shinkage School and jujitsu in the Kito and Daito schools. He joined the Imperial Japanese Army and fought in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905-1906. This early taste of war, coupled with other experiences during the two World Wars, forged Morihei Ueshiba's opposition to the use of martial arts for destructive purposes.
Beginning in his early thirties, with the opening of his first dojo, he searched ceaselessly for the true meaning of budo as a path for the spiritual development of man. In 1942, twenty-two years after the opening of the first Ueshiba dojo in Ayabe, Japan, "aikido" was officially recognised as the name of Morihei Ueshiba's art. For the next forty-six years until his death at the age of 86, O-Sensei, as he came to be known, taught and trained students vigorously in the art, and in the process earned a reputation of unshakeable fame in Japan and around the world.