Aikido skills are at the core of all UK police arrest and restraint techniques, the objective being to respond with the minimum amount of force necessary to regain control of a situation. Students observe the same high standards.
Our Aikido courses are carefully designed to enable students to acquire the basics of the technique quickly through a set of exercises, games and structured free-practice. With the guidance of our friend Itsuo Haba Sensei of Tokyo’s Sugamo Gakuen High School we have developed a form of junior competition which we call ‘Hatto’. This safe competition is designed to develop the understanding of the spirit of competition as much as the practical skills of Aikido.
While Aikido is not currently included in the games half options it has a highly active club, with members training regularly and some obtaining their 1st Dan (black belts) while at school.
Many of the club members start when they enter St Paul’s Juniors and stay with the club as they progress through St Paul’s School.
Senior members of the club team have competed successfully in open adult competition at national and international level. We hold our own annual club competition every March (the Folkard Shield and Tomiki Cup), which is open to all senior students and visiting students from other countries. Top quality teachers are brought over from Japan every year and we travel regularly to Europe and Japan to compete and train with the best. A St Paul’s School team took part in the Aikido World Championships in 2009 — the first school to do this.
The Aikido Club has been in existence for more than 30 years, with many Old Paulines returning after graduation to continue their practice and encourage others. Rob Lawrance, our senior instructor, taught Metropolitan Police Cadets at Hendon Police Academy for four years, before joining St Paul’s in 1995. Trained by Masters in both Japan & Europe, he holds eleven registered Dan grades in Aikido and three closely related Japanese disciplines. He is a registered British Aikido Association and British Aikido Board recognised Club Coach.