Rick Smaridge, 4th Dan Aikikai
Yondan (4th Dan) with the International Aikido Federation, awarded by Christian Tissier Sensei in 2008.
Started aikido in 1979 in Brighton with the Institute of Aikido. Then started intensive training under Danny Gunn (private student of Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei) in 1981. From then on studied under Kanetsuka Sensei in the UK, and began making regular trips to Paris to train with Christian Tissier Sensei around 1983.
Awarded Shodan (1st Dan) in 1986 by Kanetsuka Sensei, Nidan (2nd Dan) in 1989 by Kanetsuka Sensei, Sandan (3rd Dan) in 1998 by Tissier Sensei, and Yondan in 2008.
Have trained with many of the leading Shihan; Chiba Sensei, Tamura Sensei, Yamada Sensei, but have been particularly attracted by the approach of Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei, Seichiro Endo Sensei, Masatoshi Yasuno Sensei and the Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba.
Went to Japan in 2005 to train at the Hombu Dojo and was inspired by the approach of so many different sensei teaching in the same location, allowing students to train with them, practise and develop their own approach.
Stephanie Mulholland, 2nd Dan Aikikai
Started aikido practice in 1996 as a method of self-defense, assertiveness training and fitness, with Sensei Linda Holiday (6th dan Aikikai) and Sensei Glen Kimoto (5th Dan Aikikai) of Santa Cruz, California.
Awarded Shodan in 2004 and Nidan in 2008 by Linda Holiday Sensei.
Traveled to Japan in 2006 to train with Linda’s teacher, Anno Sensei (8th dan Aikikai) (a direct student of O-Sensei) in Kumano, Wakayama prefecture.
Main reasons for doing aikido: keeping fit, relaxation and the sense of pleasurable exhilaration which arises during training.
Main aspiration is to introduce as many people as possible to the art and to be able to train outside in nature, as O-Sensei did.