Koryu meets Gen Dai Ryu


A two day Martial art seminar is concluded… Two martial arts, one a modern budo, the other a Koryu dating back centuries. Both instructors are masters in their own field and they both are exceptional

in 12 session, each about an hour long, over one weekend, we examined concepts of body movement and basics of body physics.

I have introduced Toby Threadgill, and Robert Mustard on this blog before, so I spare you the repetition, however, for those looking to improve their skill at any martial art this seminar was a gold mine. I use the word martial art deliberately, because the seminar was not purely about Aikido or Shindo Yoshin Ryu, which was really evident form the participants who came from a variety of arts. Wado Ryu Karate, Yoshinkan Aikido, Tomiki Aikido, Jyu jitsu, Tradtional Aikido, and Judo.

The good news is, the message is spreading, we had more on the mat this year that we did last year. Both instructors were fired up and both were on form.

I had contemplated writing descriptive anecdotes of what took place, but I would probably complicate this blog and would not do the seminar justice.
There are some principles that apply to all martial arts, finding those principles, and the common base is what makes the difference between a good martial artist and an exceptional one.

One technique leading to another we examined the essence of each technique, the bases of why it works -the ‘Riai’ which the basic foundation of why the technique works. This is why it really was an event with a difference. What Threadgill sensei particularly offered, to me a budoka who has not had any Koryu exposure before (apart form the same seminar last year) was an insight into the historical element of some of the techniques and how it was applied on the battlefield.

The historical element of any technique is truly important, it makes all the difference to the development of the art and progression of skill.

Perhaps one can take the martial art forward without knowing a lot of history of the art but If nothing else understanding the history adds sense to many of the moves that seems unnecessary. We do what we do for a reason, the problem is much of the knowledge of that reasoning has worn thin by the rapid spread of martial arts over the last few decades or so. This seminar was really useful readdressing that issue.

I expect this seminar will become an annual event in view of the success and popularity. It is not very often that we see Koryu instructors visiting the UK and I sure hope this trend continues. There is some really impressive skills within the Koryu arts and it would be great to see it every now and then and be a part of it.. if transiently.

Perhaps equally interestingly is the ‘Gen Dai Ryu’ or the modern martial arts, which despite being a young art compared to Koryu still has a phenomenal depth of knowledge and skill set when the right practitioner comes around.

So… were from here for the tour?… the week is still young and the seminar was merely the beginning. Yet to come, are vists to dojos around the country, each day of the week culminating in what will certainly be a promising ‘Gasshuku’ in Preston next weekend.

I shall write more about the tour as the week goes by…




The Uk Tour begins tomorrow…

It’s finally here, tomorrow morning, sees the beginning of a brilliant and promising seminar in Dartford, an excellent collaboration between two phenomenal martial artists, Robert Mustard and Toby Threadgill. This will be the second weekend long seminar that brings together these two martial artists, the last was last year, and it was so successful that we are up approximately 35% on sign ups for the event.

It is really difficult to describe the event, what brings together a Yoshinkan Aikido instructor and a Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin Ryu instructor on the same mat at the same event?

Well, last year, it was a success, the mix worked really well and the outcome was truely impressive. It is easy to ignore such an event if you don’t practice either martial art, however, the attendance last year were from all walks, Karate, Jyu-jitsu, Judo along with the usual Aikidoka and TYSR students.

This year I expect it’ll be much the same.

As the week goes on, Mustard sensei will be visiting different dojo’s around the country culminating in a weekend long Gasshuku next week.

I just can’t wait.


Aikido is a Martial Art… find your soul elsewhere

“Do not come to me looking for spirituality – get that from your local church. Do not come here expecting me to make you a better person – that was the chore of your parents and school teachers. If it’s the mystical you are after, see Houdini. I am here to teach you the martial art of Aikido.”

Henry Ellis

Watch What You Say

A good read and a good insight…

Acme Bugei

Watch What You Say 

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2013. Not to be used without permission


Upon joining koryu, the new practitioner will often be required to swear some form of oath and vow to follow various rules required by the ryu. Depending on the tradition this can take different forms ranging from an ultra traditional making an oath sealed in blood sworn to the various deities the ryu worships, to modern updated versions which due away with the deities and blood oaths,

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Better spend time ensuring your aikido works than spending it trying to prove someone else’s aikido doesn’t!

If we accept that measuring ourselves against colleagues and friends is a common acquired behaviour, how does that apply in a martial art where competition is not only the lacking feature but also is actively discouraged?

Well, for a start, comparing oneself with others is a very unhealthy practice, not only in Aikido, but in life in general. Comparison, if one ever needs to be made must be against a fixed standard, a feature, notably missing when comparing with another individual who is in him/herself also evolving. The problem in Aikido, is that the lack of competition gives way to a negative emotion that manifests itself in a form of comparison with others, either by putting oneself down in favour of another, or by criticising another person’s technique in favour of one’s own!
Either way, no one is better off for the comparison.
My main reason for this blog is to highlight a practice that one sees, on the mat and off it, we see Aikidoka speaking negatively about others’ technique or form, finding faults here and there in what they do, that sort of negative energy masked as ‘analysing or criticising’ other people’s technique, is in reality a form of martial ‘bitchiness’ to be perfectly honest.

The serious Aikidoka in my opinion ought to have one focus only and that is to train to better oneself and improve one’s technique, not to get a grade or a black belt, not to become better than John the dojo’s top student, not to become favourite student, but simply to just get better. Aikido, and any martial art for that matter is about improving in a steady stepwise progress, which even though slow at times, it is progress never-the-less. Comparison point should be yourself (now) vs. yourself (last session).
My Sensei, often says,

You are only as good as your last Kamae (form/posture)

I think it sums it up.
When we practice with that in mind the focus then becomes clear, the progress becomes more obvious and the path better defined.
I accept it is part of our lives to compete and compare, and if one really must, it is best not to have it turn into nasty emotion. Make sure you search your heart and ask yourself, are you venting negative energy towards someone by disguising it as ‘criticising’ his technique? Is this ‘criticism’ serving a purpose at all part from making me feel better by putting someone down?
That someone will almost certainly outperform you in certain techniques as you are almost certainly going to out perform him in some.
In my opinion, It is always better, to spend your time making sure your Aikido works than spending it trying to prove someone else’s doesn’t!

So, for a few years now, I have worked on making sure I don’t let my emotions run negatively by concerning myself with other’s performance… If I have a good word to say, I say it, if not, I try to refrain. It is really difficult to do, and I might fall into that trap at times but I know I have certainly got better over time.
This is not to say one can’t have an opinion, you can, find someone who inspires you and follow his/her technique and form, that is fine and a good time pass, however, the opposite is not. Don’t go around findings someone who’s form does not inspire you and engage in false ‘critique’.
I guarantee you will see positive outcomes in your own Aikido as a result.



Farshad From Vancouver to teach in UK

Brilliant course I can guarantee it. those who know Farshad know he is extremely skilled and a prodigy. Highly recommended.

Shobukai Aikido Preston

I am pleased to announce that Robert Mustard Sensei’s top student, Farshad will be teaching his aikido in October this year (2013).
Farshad will hold classes in Oxford, Nottingham and a weekend in Preston on 12 / 13 October.
This is his forst trip overseas teaching and it is a great opportunity to train under this dedicated student of Mustard Sensei.

For details see the shudokan preston website

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Self Defence Course safety Notes

Shobukai Aikido Preston

Below is a list of things for you to think about in terms of maintaining your own personal safety – with our compliments


Please consider the following as food for thought.  This is not a list of must do issues but it is probably worth considering doing most of them if there is not a good reason not to!

 Three main reasons why someone might be the subject of a random act of violence:

Body Language

Keep your head up, stand up straight, swing your arms and be obviously alert.

Lack of Awareness

You MUST know where you are and what is going on around you.

Wrong Place, Wrong time

Avoid being alone especially in a dark remote place.  Don’t drive through known bad areas a night.


  • Avoid being on your own when possible, particularly after dark and in remote areas.

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