Ara Schorscher-Petcu, Nidan, 2nd Dan

Ara started Aikido in 2004, then a graduate student in neuroscience at McGill University, Montreal. She joined the student club McGill Aikido run by Daniel Laurendeau Shihan, and trained in parallel at Montreal Aikikai with Massimo di Villadorata Shihan. Both dojos are part of the US Aikido Federation under the umbrella of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (New York Aikikai).

In 2010, then 2nd Kyu, Ara moved to Paris and discovered the precise, dynamic Aikido and Kashima Shin Ryu inspired Kenjutsu of Cercle Tissier. There she had the privilege to study with Christian Tissier Shihan and his expert assistant instructors, in particular Patrick Bénézi Shihan,  Bruno Gonzalez, and Fabrice Croizé. Ara was awarded Shodan (2014), then Nidan (2018) by Christian Tissier Shihan.

Relocating to London in 2016 to take on a research position at University College London, Ara became a member of UCL Aikido and found her new home at Go Shin Kai. With the invaluable mentorship of Barbara Sotowicz, Ara has been leading UCL Aikido jointly with Andy Washbrook since 2017.

“When I picked up Aikido, my background was in Tango Argentino and I was fascinated to re-discover not only the same bio-mechanic principles of efficiency, but also the same feelings of harmony in a martial practice. This pushed me to venture into other disciplines - Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and various forms of dance. I wish I had time for all of them! So far, however I have always returned to Aikido … “

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2018 -2nd Aikikai Alliance Course 24th November 2018

2018 -2nd Aikikai Alliance Course

24th November 2018

In association with

Shun Poo Kan             Go Shin Kai              Te Shin Kai

24th November 2018

Kidderminster Aikido Club

Zortec Ave Kidderminster

West Mid DY11 7DY

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Tim Lee Sensei, Yondan Shidoin

Tim Lee, first practiced Aikido in the 1980s, shortly after starting out on a 30 year career as a police officer. He found the range of techniques and martial principles, together with the philosophy of controlling an attacker with the minimum of force, greatly enhanced his skills in dealing with confrontation and violence in his daily work. 

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Barbara Sotowicz Sensei, 5th Dan, Godan Shidoin teaching rank. BAB Coach Level 3.

Barbara Sotowicz

Barbara Sotowicz Sensei, 5th Dan, Godan Shidoin teaching rank. BAB Coach Level 3. 

Barbara Sotowicz has been practising, teaching and running a Dojo for over 30 years, actively promoting Aikido and ‘martial way’ training. I have trained students up to 4th Dan grade and up to Fukushidoin level. I started Aikido in 1977, got my 1st Dan in 1986 and 5th Dan at UKA Summer School 2012. I was awarded the Shidoin teaching rank in August 2008 by the United Kingdom Aikikai.

This rank authorized me to examine and promote Aikido students to 1st Kyu and to be a member of the UKA Technical Committee, sitting on the Dan grading examination panels. In 2016, I took a part in the founding of a new association, Goshinkai Aikido.

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Mr Patrick Palmer Sensei Yondan Shidoin Aikido Club

Patrick Palmer Sensei started training in spring 1995 under the instruction of Sensei Mike Smith and Shihan William "Bill" Smith (affectionally known as the gaffer). He obtained the rank of Shodan (1st Dan black belt) at winter school 2001, which was awarded to him by Shihan Smith.

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Mr Paul Wilkes Rokudan Shidoin Ren Sei Kan Aikido Club

Paul Wilkes began his Aikido career in 1971 practising at the Ren Shin Kan at West Heath Community Centre mainly under the tuition of Sensei W J Smith MBE and at the Austin Longbridge Club as assistant instructor.

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Mr Roger Douras Rokudan Shidoin Ren Sei Kan Aikido Club

Roger Douras began practising Aikido in 1967 at the Birmingham Athletic Institute under the instruction of Sensei Ralph Reynolds who also taught at Hampstead House Community Centre, West Heath where he first met the ‘gaffer’ Mr W.J. Smith M.B.E.

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Mike Smith Sensei Mike Smith 6th Dan Shidoin - GSK House Principal


Michael Smith began practising Aikido in 1968 with Mr W.J. Smith M.B.E, that year he was promoted to 5th Kyu on his first grading. It was later this year he met Chiba Sensei and soon realised that this was the path of Martial Arts training he wanted to take.

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Budo: Teachings of the Founder of Aikido

About the author (1996)

MORIHEI UESHIBA was born in Western Japan in 1883. After mastering classical styles of judo, kendo, and jujutsu, he created aikido, an entirely original martial art, based on the spiritual teachings of the Omoto-kyo religion. After the Second World War, Morihei established the Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo to promote the dissemination of aikido throughout the world. Morihei died in 1969.

KISSHOMARU UESHIBA is chairman of the Aikikai Foundation, the largest aikido organization in the world. He has written several books on aikido in Japanese and English, including the classic Spirit of Aikido.

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About Aikido - Hombu

Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art created during the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba (1883~1969), an expert who reached the highest level of mastery in the classical Japanese Martial Arts.

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Jon Price