My name is Gary Harper and I joined RSK in December 2014.
I have a history of studying other martial arts and have done so for the last 30 years.
I came to RSK as I wanted to improve my knowledge of joint locking and aikido throws of which I had a little knowledge about from studying Ju jitsu.
I was delighted to discover that RSK has three 6th dan ( master grade ) instructors who have been involved in aikido in this country since the early days and all studied under Chiba Sensei, a renowned Japanese aikido master. You can read about him in the book - The Sword master's apprentice, it's well worth it.
Chiba Sensei put a heavy emphasis on weapons training and as aikido was born from the sword this makes perfect sense. In Sensei Mike Smith we are lucky enough to have a great Weapons master and the other Sensei are none too shoddy either!
From the " body art" of aikido I have massively improved my footwork and coordination as well as getting better at using my whole body in my techniques rather than just my arms. I have a long way to go still but I am getting there!
Aikido is also the best art, in my view, to learn " ukemi" - rolling out of techniques applied on you and other self preservation strategies. This alone has massively improved my Ju jitsu.
My aim is to continue studying aikido until I am no longer physically able to do so as it is such a great art and I know of no better place to do this than RSK.