How long have you been training?
I have been practising aikido since 2007. I received my black belt (shodan) in 2012, and my nidan (2nd Dan) ranking in 2015.
Why did you start practising?
Martial arts always held an interest for me. But I was not very sporty when I was growing up and I didn’t pursue it. In fact I did not start training in aikido until I was 36! The dojo opened up around the corner from where I lived and I thought, ‘it’s now or never!”.
What has the practice given you and why do you keep practising?
I love practising aikido and on one level, it’s simply fun! Even when it is challenging or I am having trouble mastering a difficult technique, I always find aikido enjoyable. Peter Sensei often tells us to chase the good feeling in the waza (technique), which is the harmony aspect of aikido. For me, this now manifests throughout the practice and I find it energising and beneficial, both mentally and physically.
Aikido has also affected my outlook – I find I am more centred and focused on the ‘here and now’ than I used to be. The regular practice has given me insights into my own behaviour patterns and so has been a kind of therapy!
Why do you teach?
It’s very rewarding to help others discover aikido and I hope I am able to pass on some of the insights that I have gained in my training, both from my teachers and my own practice. In order to teach, you need to be able to communicate the principles of aikido, and this has also made me think more deeply about what I am doing and how to express that to others.
What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Lately I have been really enjoying baking bread! I also married into a family of golfers so I try to play occasionally (but I am much better at aikido!)