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Morihei Ueshiba, O-Sensei, Founder of Aikido PDF Print E-mail

Morihei Ueshiba was born in Tanabe in the modern-day Wakayama Prefecture of Japan on 14th December 1883. His interest in martial arts stemmed from witnessing his father being beaten by ruffians, which affected him deeply. He overcame his small physical stature and poor health as a child to become an accomplished student of Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jutsu under Master Sokaku Takeda. He was also a deeply spiritual man who opposed the use of martial arts for destructive purposes. By the early 1930s, he had established his own school and style, which later came to be known as Aikido: the way of harmonising energy. On account of his great prowess as a martial artist and a teacher, he was (and still is) referred to as O-Sensei, which simply means "great teacher".

O-Sensei found all warfare abhorrent, and was particularly sickened by the senseless destruction of the Second World War. Transformed by a vision that he experienced in 1942, at the height of the fighting, he set about developing Aikido as a means to heal the illnesses of the modern world by reconnecting people with the true meaning of Bushido (the Code of the Samurai): a tireless devotion to all life, everywhere.

"The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent slaughter: it is the Art of Peace, the power of love."

Originally, Aikido had been an art taught only to a select few, usually those who were already skilled in other martial arts, and was certainly not taught to non-Japanese persons. In the years following World War II, O-Sensei opened the art to all, convinced that "everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow". In due course, O-Sensei dispatched his apprentices (among them Chiba Sensei) to spread Aikido around the globe, telling them, "One day, this Art will be practiced by people all over the world!"

Even as his health grew frail with advanced age, O-Sensei continued to train and remained committed to Aikido and the vision of a better world through the practice of the Art of Peace. He passed away on 26th April 1969, and was succeeded by his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei, who took the title Doshu: "way master", personal heir to the Founder as head of the Art. Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei passed away in 1999, and the founder's grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba Sensei, took the title of Doshu.

 
Traditional Aikido PDF Print E-mail

Birankai British Aikikai

Founder: TK Chiba Shihan. Officially recognised by Aikikai Hombu - Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan). Member of Birankai InternationalJoint Aikikai Council of Great Britain (JAC)

Chiba Sensei (left) and O-Sensei

Aikido is a modern and dynamic martial art, developed from ancient Japanese martial arts, incorporating powerful self defence techniques derived from several schools of Ju-Jitsu, Sword and Spear arts. It is often referred to as moving Zen, spiritual healing, meditation therapy and intelligent man's martial art. Aikido training is a path to complete physical, mental and spiritual development and growth. Aikido is used by police forces and armies for self defence, by business leaders to develop mental focus, business intelligence and competitive intelligence as much as by ordinary men and women to develop physical and mental coordination, inner peace, self confidence and self mastery.

British Birankai Aikido training is deeply rooted in traditional Japanese culture and etiquette thanks to its chief instructor and technical director T K Chiba Shihan who has enjoined hard physical training with weapons training, Iaido and Zazen. The traditional training environment thrives with traditional etiquette, traditional teacher-student relationship, traditional teaching methods and a deep understanding of each and every technique.

British Birankai offers a complete martial arts system of powerful Aikido techniques coupled with a deep focus on inner peace and spiritual development through relaxation and Zen meditation, a vehicle for a deeper understanding of the nature of Aikido through weapons (Bokken, Jyo, Tanto) and Iaido (Katana/Iaito) training, encourages and stimulates its members to study and realise their true self/nature/potential (spiritual awakening).

British Birankai instructors are internationally recognised and offer Aikido lessons and instruction of the highest calibre, to all abilities, from beginners lessons to master classes. Our gradings are recognised internationally with Aikikai certificates issued directly from Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan).

 
Dee Chen Shihan, 6th Dan so Hombu PDF Print E-mail

Dee Chen Sensei first started practising Aikido in 1971 under Shihan TK Chiba at the Chiswick Dojo in West London.

She was actively involved in developing the Aikikai of Great Britain (AGB), the first national Aikikai association in Britain formed by Shihan Chiba. As General Secretary of the AGB she represented Great Britain at the First Congress of the International Aikido Federation held in Tokyo in 1976.

She returned to Tokyo in 1977 for 2 years to study Aikido at Hombu Dojo and Muso Shinden Ryu Iai-do with Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei.

She was awarded Fukushidoin in 1987 and Shidoin in 1990.

Chen Sensei was one of the seven founder members of British Birankai (then British Aikikai) in 1995 and was appointed General Secretary, a post she still holds today. She edited Musubi, the British Aikikai/British Birankai  newsletter since its inception in 1995 and has continued as editor of the Birankai Europe Musubi which was first published in July 2010 following the demise of Birankai Continental Europe (BCE) and the amalgamation of its newsletter Shiun with Musubi.

She has attended many Aikido courses in Tokyo, USA, Canada and France and taught in Canada and France. She was awarded Rokudan (6th Dan) in January 2001 and promoted Birankai Shihan on 28 October 2006. Chiba Sensei presented her with her Aikikai Shihan certificate on 14 August 2007 in London at the London Aikikai Aikido Dojo in Maida Vale.

Chen Sensei is the chief instructor of London Aikikai (Shinmei-kan) Dojo in Maida Vale, London. At present she is on a leave of absence from practice.

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Tony Cassells Shihan, 6th Dan so Hombu PDF Print E-mail

Tony Cassells Sensei started Aikido in 1972 at the BAI under the instructor Mr Ralph Reynolds, continuing to practise there until 1975 before moving to the Dojo at East Birmingham Hospital. In 1976 he gained Shodan and became a member of the West Midlands Aikikai which at that time was affiliated to the British Aikido Federation (BAF) with its chief instructor Kanetsuka Sensei.

In 1980 and 1984 Tony Cassells attended world congress’ in Paris and Japan respectively. In 1984 he had the opportunity to travel round the world practicing at many dojos. He trained at the YMCA in Hong Kong, Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Japan, Hawaii and San Diego where he trained with Chiba Sensei.

On his return to England he was awarded Fukushidoin and was instrumental in the formation of the United Kingdom Aikikai (UKA). At the end of 1995 Tony Cassells was awarded Godan and became one of the founding fathers of the British Aikikai (BA), later to be renamed British Birankai. He is now a member of the British Birankai Senior Council.

In 1996 Tony Cassells was asked by T K Chiba Shihan to set up Tessokai institute of Great Britain to further the study of Iai Batto ho in this country. He served as the General Secretary of this organisation until 2004.

In 2001 he was promoted to Rokudan by Chiba Sensei at Warminster Summer School.

In 2003 he started working with a group of Austrian students who invited him to teach at their dojo, then inviting him to be their teacher. Since then a strong bond has formed between them and Tony Cassells has been teaching Spring, Summer and Autumn Courses in Austria each year.

In 2005 he was promoted to Shihan by Chiba Sensei, and On 17 November 2006 Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba presented him with Aikikai Shihan certificate at a ceremony held at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Tony Cassells Shihan lives in Birmingham and teaches at Ei Oh Kan Dojo.

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Chris Mooney Shihan, 6th Dan so Hombu PDF Print E-mail

Chris Mooney Sensei began his training in 1973 under Ralph Reynolds Sensei at the Birmingham Athletic Institute. In time, he became a student of William Smith Shihan, and in turn, T.K. Chiba Shihan, who now serves as Technical Director of the British Birankai.

Mooney Sensei first began teaching at Aston University in 1981. In the mid-1980's, he established a dojo in Bearwood, Birmingham. By 1994, the dojo had relocated to Digbeth, Birmingham. At that time, Chiba Sensei gave Mooney Sensei's dojo the name that it bears today: Ei Mei Kan, "the House of England's Light". Ei Mei Kan is now located in Northfield, Birmingham.

Over the course of his Aikido career, Mooney Sensei has travelled widely. He has taught throughout Europe and beyond; Greece, Israel, Switzerland and other countries. In 2005, on the tenth anniversary of the formation of the British Aikikai, Chiba Sensei awarded Mooney Sensei the title of Shihan. On 17 November 2006 Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba presented Aikikai Shihan certificate to Chris Mooney Sensei at a ceremony held at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan.

Chris Mooney Sensei is a member of British Birankai Shihankai, overseeing the work of the Teaching Committee and the cultivation of the next generation of Aikido teachers. He is also a founding member of the European Birankai International Shihankai, the group of European Shihan responsible for the continuation of Chiba Sensei's teachings in Europe.

Mooney Sensei continues to teach at the Ei Mei Kan, its satellite dojos, and at national and international courses through the British Aikikai and Birankai International.

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