Ko Portengen’s Story

From 1984 to Date, 2nd Dan

When did you start Aikido and Why?

I started with Aiki Jujutsu in 1998. Two dear friends convinced me to go and train with them in a local dojo in Rijnsburg. It was just a small club, but everyone was really dedicated. I started with Aikido in 2003 after I had moved to the UK.

What are some of your main memories of Aikido?

I have some really fond memories of seminars especially in the early days. Most of the people I have met are just genuinely nice people.

What are your personal goals in Aikido?

To keep doing Aikido for as long as I can. Every time I practice I try to learn something new. There are so many levels to explore that it will easily fill a lifetime. My personal goal is to simply keep developing my practice of Aikido, slowly, day by day, movement by movement.

Why do you think Iwama Aikido is so unique?

The importance of Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo practice. Continuous weapons practice is an essential part of Iwama Aikido for a number of reasons.

What can Aikido offer people in your opinion?

A lifetime of development both physically and mentally. You go through different phases in your training. Hopefully it will keep me flexible in both body and mind.

How long have you been training?

Nearly 25 years. I still train twice a week and try to practice weapons in the evening in the garden at least once a week.

Where have you travelled?

I grew up in the Netherlands. In 2003 I moved to the UK for work. I live in Kettering and train in Towcester (Thursdays) and Wellingborough (Mondays). I have been to several seminars in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. I try to spend at least 1 to 2 months each year in Yerevan (Armenia). When possible I try to do some training in Yerevan as well.

My story

I practiced Judo in my teens and did a little bit of Judo, Jujutsu and Fencing in Uni. I started with Yoseikan Aiki-Jujutsu when I was 37. My Sensei was Cees Freke who was very interested in Kyusho. I was graded 2nd Kyu in 2002. I moved to the UK in 2003. I started training at the Obelix Rise Community Centre in Northampton under sensei Aubrey Smith (Yama Arashi Aikido). Later that year I started to train at the Abbey Centre in Northampton with Ian Geddes Sensei (KSK). This is where I first met Stuart Jeffs and Lester Snow. Regular training was on Friday and on Thursday we would go to Towcester to train.

When Stuart Jeffs Sensei became the teacher in Towcester, I decided to join the club in Towcester and stopped training in Northampton. I really liked Stuart’s and Lester’s style of Aikido. Genuine attacks, strong, direct techniques and yes occasionally it hurts. I was awarded my first dan in 2014 and Nidan in 2020. In 2023 Towcester Aikido left the Kai Shin Kai and joined Takemusu Iwama Aikido Europe.



(Published: Feb 2024)