It's the last day of 2022 and I've spent an hour reflecting back on the year. As ever with aikido I have some great memories. The club has remained steady, it's membership, both adults and juniors, are making great progress and as a club we have hosted the first international course in Wales with the Bruno Gonzalez back in March, post pandemic.
From a training point of view, I began my third dan training as soon as Summer School finished in August and have attended the British Aikido Course (October'22) which was a fun day course with some close aikido family. The club has maintained strong links with Heidi Hancock sensei, who has kindly been coming up to help workshop SGT syllabus and we as a club have visited Bryn Powis sensei at Bridgend. All to help improve the club and our aikido whilst maintaining supportive links between clubs.
As I look forward to 2023 (with training in mind), my intent is set for Summer School and grading, being mindful of my 1st kyu's first dan grading in June. I'm also looking and assessing other members in context to grading and ways to further improve the club. It's the champion mindset of continually improving, assessing and looking at ways to move forward.
Whilst processing and planning I always draw from my experiences with Shihan Peter Thomas and my time at Oakdale Aikido. I visited 'sensei' for Christmas which was lovely and was an overdue catch up and visit. Peter Thomas Shihan will always be my sensei and it was lovely to talk and gossip about the old days.
After the visit I spent some time thinking about the reasons why I started Ty Sign Aikido noting that the mainstay of what we do is very much in line with the old Oakdale 'session structure'. There are notable differences where Ty Sign very much represents my vision of which is only right and natural - but I feel that if some of the old Oakdale students were to visit, they would smile and nod at what they see and what they can recognise from the old days.
Whilst being reflective I worked out that the club will have been running for eight years this January! Eight years. In some ways it seems a life time ago, in others like only yesterday. In those eight years, the club has grown, survived a global pandemic and is continuing to develop and improve its aikido and its positive impact on the wider community. We've moved venues and are on the brink of more growth. There are exciting times ahead!
In closing, I feel that is what Ty Sign Aikido means for me, legacy and growth. Taking the love and joy I experienced at Oakdale and passing it on to others and especially the younger generations.