Raj’s Story

When did you start Aikido and why?

From 2012 to date, 1st Dan Aikikai

I started training at 48. At that I was a 4th Dan in Jiu Jitsu and has been training for 28 years in this martial art . I was a regional sales manager for a pharmaceutical company . I was already very busy teaching 5 times a week as well as national and international seminars and . I wanted to keep my body and mind active and keen to learn ken and jo which wasn’t available in my other Martial art . I was a busy family man with 3 children but still found the time to learn another martial skill.
My Aikido journey began with my current Sensie Alex Gent inviting me to a session with Sensie Paul Lowing in Keighley in a old church along with a some other new students. I wasn’t used to wearing a white belt for over 25 years but hat to humble myself and start a new art from scratch . I found the class very interesting and learnt a lot of new skills and also the difference between aikido and Jiu Jitsu .
After 36 years in martial arts I am still learning and enthusiastic.

What are some of your main memories in Aikido?

I have met and trained with wonderful people across the UK and also in St Petersburg Russia with Tony Sargeant Sensie and Russian instructors. I was awarded my 1st Kyu brown belt and my Sensei Alex Gent awarded 2nd Dan.
One of the my first tasks as a new brown belt was to teach a children’s class while I was in Russia. It was a challenge as they didn’t speak English but they all had a fun and a good time .
I also remember a weekend seminar I attended with Sensei Tony Sargeant 6th Dan in Keighley , Yorkshire. It was a nice surprise and honour to be awarded 1st dan at the end of the course .
I was excited when I started a junior aikido club in Keighley as part of Aikiflow one of only a few junior clubs in the UK in this style of aikido.
I remember teaching a seminar for 120 students over 3 seminars on Ken and Jo for my Jiu jitsu colleagues who all throughly enjoyed it . I have since been running online classes to students from UK , Norway and as far away as Argentina .

What are your personal goals in Aikido?

My personal goal is to keep enjoying teaching and training and improving my skills . I also want to expand our appeal to more adults and children classes and women . I would also want to introduce ken and jo to my my Jiu jitsu friends .

To open a purpose built martial art dojo which incorporated aikido

Why do you think Iwama Aikido is so unique?

I think it’s unique as it’s taught from the original lineage of O Sensei , Saito Sensei , and Sargent Sensei . Iwama is also very strong with weapons training which helps make the body techniques even more powerful.

What can Aikido offer people, in your opinion?

Aikido offers a good positive environment for learning a new martial skill with other friendly like minded individuals. It offers support and encouragement .
Physical discipline
Body and mind balance
Learning about body and mind
Hand eye coordination and fitness
Making intelligent decisions and self defence skills
Martial and combat skills
How long have you been training?
I have been training for 8 years

Where have you travelled?

I have travelled across the UK , Canada and Russia to train and teach.