Please scroll down to view all: Part 1 – News; Part 2a – 22 Months of Crisis. 14 December 2013: UCLU’s Lost Dojo; Part 2b – 22 Months of Crisis. 2014-2015. Newsclips: BF Martial Arts to UCLU Aikido; Part 3 – National Courses; Part 4 – Events We Held or Took Part In
Part 1 – News
Engage with us on our Facebook groups/pages. The latest updates on classes, events, club matters are posted here first. Plus lots of photos and links to interesting Aikido videos.
Leisure At Cheltenham sports centre, Tommy Taylors Lane, GL50 4RN
On 23 January 2018, Cheltenham & Bloomsbury Aikido Club opened a new GoShinKai club in Cheltenham. The classes, which are for adults of any age over 18 years old, take place during the daytime on weekdays. Our new club looks forward to building up membership by bringing Aikido to a new niche of people: those who would like to practise Aikido but may not be able (or prefer not) to train at the usual weekday evening and weekend classes, e.g. flexible workers, shift workers, retired people, parents of schoolchildren, students with flexible timetables, etc. We also welcome Aikido practitioners from other clubs and associations who may find an extra daytime class helpful in their schedules. Beginners and all grades welcome. Beginners may join at any time. All practitioners (first time beginners excepted) please bring evidence of insurance to train to each class.
Class fees for Autumn-Winter 2018 sessions: Standard £7; Concession £5 per person per class. Beginner’s first time trial class is free.
more photos coming up: see also Facebook UCL Alumni Aikido Group and Friends
2017 Reunion Teachers will be Julie Partridge, Mark Machin, Ara Schorscher-Petcu UCLAAG Reunion2017 InstructorProfiles
These annual Group reunions aim to feature different teachers from within the group. They are both social reunions plus training opportunities where we can sample the diverse Aikido experiences acquired by our Aikido practitioner members before and since their time at UCL. A social gathering follow the training. Non-practitioners, family and friends welcome.
How to Join UCLAAG on the Alumni Online Community Website – revised Sept 2017
UCL Alumni Relations recently re-designed its website and has a new online system – the Alumni Online Community (AOC),
https://aoc.ucl.ac.uk/alumni/alumni-community . AOC completely replaces the former UCL Alumni web community so if you were registered with the UCL Alumni and with UCLAAG on the old system you will need to re-register.
1. To register /re-register, go to https://uclalumnicommunity.org . This will put you into a queue while the Alumni Relations department checks your UCL alumni ID. This takes a couple of days and you will get an email to confirm your registration.
2. Once registered, go back to https://uclalumnicommunity.org and sign in with your chosen method, either via email address or “Linked In” or “Facebook”
3. Once signed in, go to ‘Pages’ to find the Alumni Aikido Group page icon (see screenprint below) and click on this to open the Group’s page. Click on ‘Follow’ to join the Group.
Read the BAC Newsletters Issues 2017-1 and 2017-2 to find out what the UCL Alumni Aikido Group & Friends, the Bloomsbury Aikido Club and the UCL Aikido Club are about (the UCL Aikido Club was renamed from “UCLU Aikido Club” in August 2017).
BACNewsletter 2017-2 2May “The UCL Alumni Aikido Group and Friends”
BACNewsletter 2017-1 This explains the nature of the Bloomsbury Aikido Club and the UCLU Aikido Club and the relationship between them.
“UCLU” no longer: UCL Students’ Union has rebranded itself, now calling itself “Students Union UCL”. As a part of the changes, the student union clubs are no longer expected to call themselves “UCLU …. Club” and have reverted to “UCL…Club”. Thus the student Aikido club at UCL is now named “UCL Aikido Club”, as it was when it was originally founded in 1976….Hooray!!!
With the exception of first time beginners and insured visitors, you need current club membership/insurance to train with Bloomsbury Aikido Club. Always bring evidence of your insurance to class. You should keep your membership/insurance slip in your association membership book.
First-time beginners are given a “first three classes” try-out period, covered by the association insurance arrangements:
First class – BAC (Upper Room) no training fee. Prior to class, please complete the Goshinkai Membership Application/Visitor Form and the Bloomsbury Aikido Club PARQ. These forms are needed for Health and Safety reasons.
Second class – BAC (Upper Room) training fee, non-member rate, applies.
Third class – BAC (Upper Room) training fee, non-member rate, applies. After this class, if you decide that you would like to train with us, the annual membership fee is payable before your fourth class.
For the time being, Bloomsbury Aikido Club is not holding regular classes in London. BAC’s present function is explained in BAC Newsletter 2017-1.
Club Annual Membership Fees from 1 February 2017
This is a combined fee for membership to Goshinkai Aikido Association, to the Bloomsbury Aikido Club and to the British Aikido Board. Membership includes insurance to practise Aikido in the UK. Payment methods: cheque or bank transfer.
Standard: £37; Concessions £30.
of which £5 goes to Bloomsbury Aikido Club membership
Beginners and Visitors are welcome
Visitors from other associations and from abroad are always welcome, especially UCL Alumni Aikido Group & Friends. If you have a UCL Alumni Card, please bring this to get a discount on the Bloomsbury Aikido Club non-member training fee (only applies to BAC classes, not to GSK events). If you are a visitor from abroad, you should arrange that insurance for the practice of martial arts is included in your travel insurance
UCL Students who are members of UCL Aikido Club – your GoShinKai association membership/insurance is arranged by via your UCL Aikido Club officers. Your UCL club membership (paid to the Students’ Union) covers training at UCL Aikido classes only. You are welcome to train at the Bloomsbury Aikido Club dojo (Upper Room) and BAC or GSK courses and events: please bring evidence of your UCL Aikido Club membership or your insurance slip to the training session and the appropriate training or course fee.
Commemorating The Traditional Dojo at UCL
There had always been a traditional Dojo in the Central Collegiate Building (CCB), now known as the Bloomsbury Building until 14 December 2013, when the new BF management demolished it to replace it with a ‘Multi-purpose Room’. The martial arts clubs and activities were not consulted and were not notified until 4 days prior to the demolition.
Bloomsbury Aikido club and 4 other UCLU Dojo-using clubs initiated a petition to restore the permanent traditional Dojo. A formal complaint was sent on 3 June 2014 to UCLU Sabbatical Officers . The petition was run between 29 May – 27 June 2014 and 147 people responded: 50% UCL students, 35% UCL Alumni and staff, 15% public. 67% of the response was from people who were current members of the Bloomsbury Fitness centre. Responses came from 10 different martial art and other dojo-using activities and from dojo-using individuals. Because of the time of year at which the petition was run, this will be a substantial undercount of the numbers affected, particularly of students.
The Petition and Complaint documents and the comments sent in by signatories can be viewed here:
Cover Letter 29 May 2014; Petition Restore Permanent Dojo
Petition Practical Problems mp room; Dojo Petition Appendix 1
Dojo Petition Comments 15July2014
The photos below (1-4) show the Dojo over the years between 1978 and 2013.
1. 1978 The original “Judo Room” on the 3rd floor of the CCB. Class with Sekiya Sensei.
2. 1998 The same room, now named the Dojo and a part of the Bloomsbury Fitness Centre. Course with Ken Cottier Sensei.
3. Bloomsbury Fitness Dojo 2003 – 2013. In 2003 the Dojo was transferred to the 4th floor, due to the BF’s ‘Phase One’ gym expansion.
4. Bloomsbury Fitness Dojo 11 December 2013. The last Aikido class in the traditional Dojo.
Part 2b – 22 Months of Crisis. 2014-2015. Newsclips: The loss of the Bloomsbury Fitness Martial Arts Programme to the revival of the UCLU Aikido Club.
* UCLU Aikido Club Revived by Students. Classes start 30 September 2015
UCLU Aikido Classes will start at the beginning of term. First class will be on Wednesday 30 September 2015.
The situation to date is that affiliation will not be complete until two Club student officers have attended all the compulsory UCLU student club officer training sessions.
* March 2015: The student Aikido Club has obtained affiliation to the students’ Union and is now the UCLU Aikido Club
The Bloomsbury Aikido Club, founded as the UCLU Aikido Club in 1976, has now evolved into the revived, student-led UCLU Aikido Club (2015) and Bloomsbury Aikido, an associate of the UCL Alumni Aikido Group. Bloomsbury Aikido will support the student club.
* September 2014. Students Reviving UCLU Aikido Club. Aikido Classes on Saturdays and Sundays During Transitional Phase
*September 2014 BF UCLU Cancels Aikido Classes from its Activity Programme
In September 2014 the BFUCLU management cancelled all Aikido classes from its BF Activity Programme. The last Aikido classes on the Bloomsbury Fitness Activity Programme took place on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th September. Aikido’s Monday and Wednesday evening slots have been handed over to the Squash Club.
After negotiation and complaints, the BF administrators have agreed to allow the club to book whatever times are left over on the timetable, now that BF Class and UCLU Club allocations have been made. This is just for the period of a few weeks while the transition is made to UCLU society status. Once the student club is approved (new club applications are to take place by 5pm, Friday 3rd October) it will have to apply to Clubs and Societies for allocation of times for classes at the BF.
We were sent the provisional activities timetable only on the 19 September so there has been very little time in which to make new arrangements. Adding further to the problems at the Bloomsbury Fitness centre, the building work scheduled to be completed by 15 September over-ran and the multi-purpose/Dojo room did not become available until 6 October.
For now, we have received confirmation, for the transition period, for classes on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning (go to ‘Classes’ on home page). We are trying to obtain another slot for either Thursday or Friday evening.
Photos from Sensei Mike Smith’s weapons class at the GSK Spring Course 2017. Three of Sensei Mike teaching and one of GSK Fukushidoin and Shidoin working with GSK juniors. It was a great course packed full of good things and various aspects of Aikido: the teachers’ course running parallel with pre-grading classes on Saturday morning; all coming together for Dan gradings in the afternoon and further classes on Saturday and Sunday with GSK Shidoin and Fukushidoin. Congratulations to Darren, Eric (of Gloucester Dojos) and Chris (of Kidderminster/West Heath Dojos) for doing so well at their grading examinations.
Goshinkai Autumn Course Photos and Congratulations!
The very first-ever Go Shin Kai Autumn Weekend Course and Dan Gradings 15-16 October 2016
at Renseikan Dojo, address: Samurai Judo Club, Zortech Avenue, Kidderminster DY11 7DY (between Kidderminster and Stourport). Phone: 01886 821087.
The course will include high-level teaching for all levels of ability and Dan Grade examinations.
The provisional teaching programme is as follows:
Saturday 15th October: 10.30 – 11.30 Mike Smith; 11.45 – 12.45 Dennis Cantillion; 12.45 -13.15 Lunch; 13.15 – 13.45 Free Practice with tuition; 14.00 – 15.30 Grading examinations; 15.30 – 16.00 TBA and Finish.
Sunday 16th October: 10.30 – 11.30 Paul Wilkes; 11.45 – 12.45 Patrick Palmer; 12.45 -13.15 Lunch; 13.15 – 14.30 Andrew Moseley-Packer; 14.30 – 15.00 Grading Announcements & Finish
1.Photo from UKA Winter School 17-18 January 2015 at High Wycombe Judo Centre, HP12 4UE.
2,3. Photos from UKA Winter School 8-9 March 2014 at High Wycombe Judo Centre
Part 4 – Events We Held or Took Part In:
Section 1. Club Grading Results
Congratulations to the following students who were successful in their grading examinations:
Bloomsbury Aikido Club Grading Results 2013-2016
15 October 2016. 1 Dan: Kris Zymla – Dan gradings held at the Goshinkai first Autumn course, Renseikan Dojo, Kidderminster, presided by Mr Mike Smith Sensei, 6 Dan, GSK Principal.
3 October 2015. 6 Kyu: Liyin Sun. 2 Kyu: Pawel Karczewski.
14 December 2014. 6 Kyu: John Leung. 3 Kyu: Alberto Roldan, Pawel Karczewski.
2 July 2014. 4 Kyu: Pawel Karczewski. 2 Kyu: Jon Wong. 1 Kyu: Kris Zymla.
26 March 2014. 4 Kyu: Alberto Roldan.
19 March 2014. 5 Kyu: Erin Niles.
9 December 2013. 6 Kyu: Cristina Butchosa.
27 November 2013. 6 Kyu: James Fairney.
7 August 2013. 6 Kyu: Anna Boldina. 5 Kyu: Alberto Roldan.
31 July 2013. 3 Kyu: Kris Zymla, Jon Wong.
24 April 2013. 4 Kyu: Nanami Hara.
20 March 2013. 6 Kyu: Alberto Roldan.
UCLU Aikido Club (revived 2015/16) Club Grading Results
3 June 2017. 6 Kyu: Jing Yeung (Valerie), Yassine Hamila.
Section 2. Events 2013 – 2017
UCLU Aikido Congratulations: 6th Kyu Gradings 3 June 2017
Saturday 3 June 2017 – Congratulations to UCL students Jing Yeung (Valerie) and Yassine Hamila for passing 6th Kyu. These are the first gradings for the UCLU Aikido Club, Goshinkai branch, and its new coaches Senseis Andy Washbrook, Ara Schorshcer-Petcu and Fr. Tom Plant. The standard of practice demonstrated by the students at the grading exam is a reflection of the high quality teaching delivered by the team of coaches at UCLU Aikido Club.
Bloomsbury Aikido Club Hosts Goshinkai Teachers’ Course Saturday 20 May 2017
with Sensei Mike Smith 6 Dan, GoShinKai Principal. GSK Teachers’ Course Poster BAC2017
We had an excellent course, attended by instructors from the West Midlands, Gloucester, Birmingham, Leominster as well as local Bloomsbury and UCLU Aikido instructors and members. Thank you to all who attended the course, especially those who traveled and to Sensei Mike Smith for his illuminating class, to James Kirkpatrick for taking the Warm Up and to Ara Schorscher-Petcu, Fr Tom Plant and Alex Ash for their clear and engaging teaching demonstrations.
More details on venue: The Upper Room is a church hall without a reception so the door onto the street is kept locked. To gain entry, please ring the doorbell which works on an entryphone system. We have to keep to the room booking times so we will not be able to get in 5 minutes before the hiring period and must depart 5 minutes after.
There are no mats, training is on a wooden floor. Facilities comprise separate female and male toilets and one accessible toilet and a tiny kitchen. There are no designated changing rooms.
The Upper Room is very close to Camden Tube Station (Northern Line) and a 25-30 minute walk from Euston or St Pancras main line stations.
Sensei Kris’s Leaving Class and Meal 17 February 2017
Friday 17 February 2017
We are holding a “thank you class and leaving meal” for Sensei Kris, who due to circumstances,has to return to Poland at the end of February. Kris has been invaluable to UCLU Aikido and Bloomsbury Aikido and we will miss him greatly. I hope you can join us on Friday 17 February 2017 when we will be holding a special class at The Upper Room, 5:30-6:30pm after which we will go for a meal at Max Orient, a Chinese Restaurant at 273-275 Camden High Street, NW1 7BX, which does an excellent buffet for under £10 per person, excluding drinks. For those of you who cannot make the class, we will meet at the restaurant at 7pm. If you can attend the class and/or meal, please email Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: BAC Hosts GSK General Course 19 November 2016
Bloomsbury Aikido is one of the founding clubs of the new Go Shin Kan House, UKA, formed on 1 January 2016. On 1 June 2016, the House became independent from the UKA, becoming the GoShinKai Association. Goshinkai is member of the British Aikido Board (the UK Governing Body for Aikido). Goshinkai has applied to the Aikikai Foundation, Japan for Hombu Recognition and this is in progress. Download the Go Shin Kai Association Constitution v1.0 here.
Bloomsbury Aikido Club is hosting the GoShinKai General Course on Saturday 19 November 2016
11:00-16:00 at The Upper Room. Goshinkai General Course 19Nov2016 Poster
Teaching on this GSK course will be instructors from Kidderminster, Gloucester and London: Mr Mike Smith Sensei, 6 Dan, GSK Principal; and Senseis Darren Wells and Barbara Sotowicz.
Course Fee: Standard £20; Students £15.
There is a nearby Thai restaurant, the Taste of Siam, which is open all afternoon and where we can adjourn after the course. Please let me know if you would like to join us there and I will book in advance.
Thank you to: Senseis Mike Smith and Darren Wells for your interesting classes; to everyone who attended course and meal, especially people travelling from Sutton Coldfield, Kidderminster, Gloucester, Kent and especially our new beginners Dexter and Yasine from UCLU Aikido Club; Kris, Jagoda and Tom for your help with arrangements on the day and photography. Bloomsbury Aikido Club hopes to do this again next year.
UCL Alumni Aikido Group & Friends Reunion 2016
Saturday 30 July Bloomsbury Aikido Club hosts the first UCL Alumni Aikido Group Reunion, 10.30 – 14:30 at The Upper Room, 8 Greenland Street, Camden Town. Four instructors from the Group teaching at the course, including UCL Alumni: Andy Washbrook, Professor Mire Zloh and Barbara Sotowicz.
There will be a mat fee to cover costs: £10; concessions £5. To attend training you need to be aged 18 years +.
Class sequence: 10:40-11:30 Barbara Sotowicz; 11:35-12:25 Ivor Cinderby; break; 12:35-13:30 Andy Washbrook; 13:35-14:25 Mire Zloh.
The Upper Room is a church hall. The room will be free from 10:20. There is no reception so to gain entry, please ring the doorbell.
Training is on a wooden floor so there will be no projections or suwariwaza. Bring plimsolls or similar suitable for training; bring bokken and jo. If you are training, please bring evidence of insurance (course instructors, I already have yours) . If your insurance has expired or if you haven’t yet joined an organisation, annual membership to Goshinkai can be arranged on the day: £32 ; concessions £25; student members of college clubs £7 (special terms) ; insurance without membership £5.
A social gathering will follow the training: This will be for a meal at the Taste of Siam restaurant on the Camden High Street, opposite Mornington Crescent tube, a short walk from The Upper Room. Non-practitioners, family and friends welcome, we will rendezvous with you at the restaurant. Our table is booked for 3pm. We look forward to seeing you.
This is to be the first course of what we are planning to become an annual Group reunion, featuring different teachers from within the group. This will be both a social reunion plus a training opportunity where we can sample the diverse Aikido experience acquired by our Aikido practitioner members since their time at UCL.
UCLU Aikido Course 9 July 2016 Photos
Saturday 9 July UCLU Aikido Course at the BF Dojo, 10:00 – 14:00. Taught by Barbara Sotowicz
Essentially a course to meet the training and grading needs of UCLU Aikido/ Bloomsbury Aikido regulars but all are welcome (need to be aged 18 years +). There will be a 15 minute break. No mat fee but BF charges a day membership fee to non-BF members. This is of the order of £3-5, check the UCLUBF website www.uclu.org/bf
After training, we will go to Brunswick Centre for al fresco coffee and a snack at Carluccio’s or similar, where we hope some of our non-training, social members will join us.
28 May Photos: UCLU / Bloomsbury Aikido at Kew Gardens
Saturday 28 May 2016 Class at 9:00-11:00am, lunch at Quaker Cafe then outing to Kew Gardens
On Saturday 28/5/2016 the class started one hour earlier, at 9am and finished at 11:00am to give us time for a quick lunch and then go on an outing to Kew Gardens.This was a special day to say au revoir to Aurore who has finished her course at UCL and is going back to France. Of course we will stay in touch via UCL Alumni Aikido Group.
Photos from Class on 7 November 2015
Saturday 7 November, 10:00am-12:00noon: Class with Sensei Barbara Sotowicz, followed by a pub lunch after class. Friends and family always welcome at our social gatherings.
Gradings 3 October 2015: Congratulations 6th and 2nd Kyu
Regular classes have resumed after the summer break: Wednesdays 6-8pm and Saturdays 10am – 12 noon.
Saturday 3 October 2015 – Congratulations to Liyin Sun for passing 6th Kyu and to Pawel Karczewski for passing 2nd Kyu. Thank you to Kris Zymla for taking all those ukemi.
August 2015 Mitsuteru Ueshiba Course: UKA 30 Years Anniversary
Mitsuteru Ueshiba Sensei (great grandson of O Sensei) 21 – 23 August 2015: at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre, Shropshire. www.ukaonline.org.uk. Celebrating 30 years of the United Kingdom Aikikai.
Hombu Dojo Shihan Shigeru Sugawara, 7 Dan Course 27 February – 1 March 2015. Hosted by North London Aikido on behalf of Azami-Kai
Sugawara Sensei taught an excellent course. There was a great atmosphere on the mat. The Dojo was full but practice was well managed by splitting us up into two or sometimes three groups so that there was plenty of room on the mat for ukemi. It was great to meet up with old friends from the early UCL Aikido, Ryushinkan and Tenpukan clubs.
1. Sugawara Shihan with Old Tenpukanians
2. Sugawara Shihan with UCL Alumni and Friends and Old UCL Ryushinkanians
3. UCL Alumni and Friends and Old UCL Ryushinkanians
Course group photo to follow
Sunday 14 December 2014: Kyu Gradings, Last Class of 2014 and Leaving Meal for Alberto
Our last class and last grading examinations before Christmas took place on Sunday 14 December. Congratulations to the successful candidates.Thank you to all who gave their support by attending this class and particularly to Kris Zymla for taking uke. It is actually Kris’s 5th anniversary with Bloomsbury Aikido Club. He started his Aikido training here with us on 14 December 2009.
After class we were joined by some members of the UCL Alumni Aikido Group and Friends for a lunch at a local restaurant to say goodbye and thank you to Alberto as he is moving to Cardiff University in early January. Fortunately, Alberto will continue to be involved with research at UCL’s Chemistry Department so we will still be seeing him when he comes to London.
OCTOBER-DECEMBER COURSES AT “THE OFFICE STUDIO”
Thursday 27 November, 4 December, 11 December 2014, 6-7pm. “The Office Studio” at RAG Support Group. Unit 2, 17-19 Bonny Street, London NW1 9PE.
6-7pm Mixed ability. Beginners welcome
Mat Fees (to cover cost of studio hire):
The full course paid in advance (by Thursday 27 November, no refunds for missed classes ): Students £13.00. Others: £18.00. Members “Bring Someone New” to any class – the new person pays £1.20 for first class.
Pay as You Go: Students: £5.00. Others: £6.50. Members ” Bring Someone New” to any class – new person pays £1.20 for first class.
Students, please bring student ID. Club members, please bring UKA membership books and insurance slips.
“Bring Someone New” – one person accompanying full mat fee paying club member. New person need not be a beginner, just new to the Bloomsbury Aikido Club.
Participants must be aged 18+ years.
The Office Studio has room for a maximum of 20 people so please email email@example.com to reserve your place.
“The Office Studio” is next to Camden Road Station (overland trains). It is the second door on the right hand side, coming out of the station. You enter via large blue doors through a garage passageway. As you turn the corner there is a smaller, white painted corridor on your right. As you come out of this corridor, turn left and the RAG Support Group office unit is immediately on your left. There are RAG Support Group signs to guide you. Training is on a wooden floor so if you prefer not to train in bare feet, please bring flexible plimsoll type shoes that will not mark the floor.
Thank you to Mike Sensei for an excellent class. This time we requested that Mike Sensei run through fundamentals of various empty handed techniques from the grading syllabus as a number of students are preparing for or considering gradings. As always the insights Mike Sensei provides on the martial aspects of the techniques are illuminating. Thank you to everyone who took part, welcome to our new students and thank you especially to Roger and Tim who travelled to London with Sensei. We look forward to the next course in February.
UCL Alumni Aikido Group and Bloomsbury Aikido Club Event Photos: Training course with Mike Smith Sensei, 6 Dan, Shidoin, So Hombu, followed by a Social Gathering. Saturday 8 February 2014.
Saturday 9 November 2013. New Students’ Welcome Course, Social Gathering and Inauguration of new UCL Alumni Aikido Group
Bloomsbury Fitness Dojo. Instructor: Barbara Sotowicz. Thank you to all those who took part in the training and to those students and Alumni who later joined us in the pub.