Hello all Teachers and Aikidoka,

Unfortunately, I could not attend the farewell seminar at the Orwell Dojo Cambridge. I could not physically take part but thought that perhaps I could humbly honour Sensei Sargeant and the Dojo with an article and some thoughts. When I wrote the article “The Last to Act Overcomes Others” I had not yet seen the farewell DVD but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the things I have been working on in my mind went very well with the ideas of Sensei Paul McGlone, Sensei Tim Buswell and my very good friend Richard Small, not to mention the other outstanding teachers…… This was very good because it felt like the natural progression and even though I could no longer physically participate in training, the training of my mind had led me to similar conclusions of being connected to an uke or an aggressor and being conscious of their intentions. Also the connection between oneself and an opponent, I have very fond memories of my time spent as a uchi deshi at Orwell. I honestly feel very humbled to have been allowed to train and expand my limited knowledge at such an inspirational place.

Your journeys lie on a different path to mine, but inevitably we sometimes meet at a crossroads, by this I mean, we experience different experiences, sensations and feelings, but ultimately, we often meet at a point, a crossroads so to speak, where we experience similar sensations, feelings, etc, I am not what you would call a religious person, but similar to some of your personal experiences, I have trained as an Uchi Deshi in the Orwell dojo Cambridge, I often found myself on my own, in the dojo, a lot of the time at night, I sat kneeling in front of the picture of O SENSEI , and meditated. I always got the feeling that I was not alone, when I trained there I felt alive, and I was filled with energy, even when I was tired and in pain, something was providing me with positive energy. I felt whoever it was, he , she, or them, they were sending me and surrounding me with energy and positive thoughts, it was almost as if I was receiving energy from my teacher, his teacher, and so on , all the way up to O sensei, each of them reminding me, of what went in to the foundations of that which I was practicing. Each teacher had added his personal brick to the foundation, and now I was moulding mine.

I will not be negative and say how upset I was when I heard that Orwell was closing,( which I just have ooops!) but instead, I would like to think that Orwell was a stepping stone on my journey along the path, of life, and things ultimately happen for a reason. I, like yourselves, wish Sensei Sargeant all the best in Greece, I would like to thank Sensei Sargeant for allowing me to make this small contribution. I have not diluted my words to accommodate those who may not yet understand, as this way I am being true to myself and the Martial Arts!

Thank you for taking time to read this preface, if you got this far! I hope the following article “The Last to Act Overcomes Others” gives you food for thought. I hope in the near future, being forever optimistic and positive, I will again get the opportunity to shake some of your hands in friendship on my journey on the path. Enjoy the article, train hard and safe. Those that can, enjoy your Ukemi, a throw or technique from your Sensei is a gift. It might not feel like it at the time but remember it well.

Best Wishes
Andy Channer (Poole, Dorset)