John began training in martial arts at the age of 7 and has been studying aikido since the early 90’s; he is the only direct student of Hiroshi Ikeda sensei in the UK who he has maintained a close relationship with for over 15 years. He spends countless hours every year with Ikeda sensei including personal tuition and runs a fulltime dojo in Coventry. John’s main interest with aikido is internal strength, specifically in how to use gravity and the ground to bring solidity to his body whilst breaking another's balance. He has a good understanding of body mechanics through constant analysis and study of internal strength with how it relates to Ueshiba's Aikido thanks to Mike Sigman.
IN HIS OWN WORDS -
If I were to pick one teacher over all others to list as my main influence it would unquestioningly be Hiroshi Ikeda sensei. I first met Ikeda sensei over 15 years ago, I wanted to grab hold of him to feel what he was doing to people for myself... Suffice to say, I grabbed, I fell, I grabbed harder, I fell harder, I looked confused, he laughed! All these years later and I am still feeling the same things and he is still, to me at least, one of the few Aikido teachers who is advancing the art of Aikido - taking it to new places and seeking new heights. If you've never trained with Ikeda sensei please go and grab hold of the man, he will change your perception of what Aikido is with no shadow of doubt.
In addition to Ikeda sensei I have to mention one other name - Mike Sigman. If you're even remotely interested in what Ikeda sensei does, and more importantly, how he does it - please, please get yourself out there and meet Mike. He's a wealth of knowledge, a great teacher and exceptionally skilled. More importantly, he can explain how to do these things - our internal classes are directly based on the Mike's exercises and teachings.
We were very grateful to be able to host a seminar with Ikeda sensei in April 2012 for the first time in the UK - bringing 120 or so people together from 27 different groups. It was an important event, UK Aikido got rebooted. I will be eternally grateful to Ikeda sensei for teaching and spending a week with me at my house watching, talking and demonstrating Aikido. Even better news however is that Ikeda sensei comes back every year to lead a masterclass of a seminar which is now held in our own dojo.
In June 2011 I was awarded my 4th dan.
In April 2012 I asked Ikeda sensei if I could consider him my teacher… The answer was yes.