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Tribute to Sensei Foster Course

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Sensei Foster visited our dojo every year in October to teach a weekend course. Sadly he is no longer with us and so this years’ course will be instructed by two of Sensei’s most senior students, Frank Burlingham and William Timms. The course is a tribute to Sensei Foster who we miss greatly at Yama Arashi.

The training times are as follows:

Saturday 15th October 2pm-6pm

Sunday 16th October 10.30-12.30

Dan Gradings 2011

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The Yama Arashi UK Dan Gradings were held at the dojo on Sunday 18th September. This traditional annual event began with a two hour training session on Friday evening, with another four hours on Saturday afternoon. Friday evening was instructed by Barbara, with the Saturday sessions shared with the other 5th Dans, Grev Cooke, Brian Kennedy and Ric Costigan.

The weekend was very well attended, with Coventry members and members from YA Stratford and members from Milton Keynes. It was a pleasure to see Dean from Scotland, who travelled down as normal and brought three of his students for their first visit to our dojo.( Dean is our camera man who seems to bring more photography equipment every year!)

There were three 1st Dan Gradings this year, Steven Barnett, who started Aikido as a junior member at 12 years old, so has been practicing at the club for ten years, Chris Cox and Toby Quosh, a student from Ric’s club at Stratford.

The 2nd Dans were Mark Burton, Jake Irwin and Dennis Younge. All were successful, which made for a very pleasant meal afterwards at The Bell and an evening back at the club.  This was rounded off with Marianne demonstrating her excellent belly dancing skills to us, with a few brave souls joining in to have a go. Photos to follow soon!

Very well done to all and my thanks to all those who helped out over the weekend.

Lowestoft – Tribute to lost friends 2011

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011


Over Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th June 2011, Broadland Aikido Club once again hosted the annual weekend course which has become so much a part of several Aikido Associations’ calendar.  This year’s event was entitled  “Tribute to Lost Friends,” in honour not only of Senseis Haydn Foster and Pat Narey, whom we have lost since last year’s course, but also all those who sadly have left us over the 13 years the event has been running.

Sensei Frank Burlingham, who organised the first “Big 3″ course in May 1999, started Saturday’s proceedings by thanking the guest Senseis and all the students for attending, but then explained that this was to be the last one, as he considered that the series had arrived at its natural conclusion after the loss of the last of the original instructors.

 Sensei Burlingham explained for newcomers that he had organised that first course by telling each of the three “Big” instructors that the other two had already agreed!  Bit of a risk, of course, but it paid off handsomely.  The “Big 3″ were Senseis Haydn Foster, 7th Dan Institute of Aikido; William Smith, MBE, Shihan of the United Kingdom Aikikai; and Tom Moss, then 5th Dan, later 6th Dan Yama Arashi UK.  So these three Associations came together for the first time, in such a resoundingly successful event that even before the last foot had left the mat, Sensei Burlingham was being asked when the next course was to be held, and had very little option but to start organising what he then decided to call “The Big Three + 1.” 

What Sensei Frank intended, of course, was “The Big 3″ Plus One Year, but by then the three Senseis had discovered his little deception, and they decided that the “+ 1″ would have to be Frank himself!  And again, an outstandingly successful course, characterised not only by the standard and variety of Aikido, but also in the attitude of both students and Senseis, who demonstrated a true Aiki attitude of harmony and friendship with the other Associations, such that people who only saw each other at these courses looked forward to meeting again at the next year’s course.  Indeed, at the Registration desk this year, it was less like an Aikido course and more like a Family re-union!

 The recession has regrettably had some effect on the number of students able to afford the weekend, down slightly from an all-time high one year of about 150 over the weekend of the first course, but still easily high enough to fill the mat comfortably on both days, actually no bad thing when students are using jo and bokken!

 After the unfortunate early loss of Sensei Tom Moss, the next course was dedicated as a Tribute to him, similar dedications being made after Sensei William Smith passed away, and also Shihan Ken Cottier, who had been another guest-instructor. Over the years, other superlative instructors have been invited, including Sensei Shane Riley, 7th Dan of White Rose Aikikai; Sensei Philip Lee of Singapore; Sensei Htun Han (3rd Dan); and Sensei Frank’s own long-term Sensei, Shihan Osamu Obata, 7th Dan,  to name just a few.

 This year’s guests included Sensei Lawson Moore, 5th Dan Institute of Aikido, and long-term friend and associate of Sensei Foster, who demonstrated basic weapons work, but left-handed and in the opposite posture, which definitely presented some special challenges; and Sensei Simon Thackeray, also 5th Dan IoA, who took the first session on Sunday morning and proved that the Chinese are apparently correct in thinking that we Westerners have “Hurry Disease!” 

 Sensei William Timms, also 5th Dan IoA, led an interesting session on Sunday when he talked about and demonstrated the connection between uke and tori, within the technique and ukemi, and also some kata dori attacks and responses, but unfortunately due to travelling-time had to leave before the end of the day, as did Sensei Mario Falaschi, 5th Dan UK Aikikai, whose session concentrated on various yokomen attacks and some very effective responses.

 Sensei Barbara Moss, 5th Dan Principal of the Yama Arashi (UK) Association, included in her class the first half of a kata devised by Sensei Tom, and, being of a petite build, demonstrated convincingly that actually “size DOESN’T matter;” while Sensei Philip Smith has clearly inherited the Bokken-gene from his father, and put this to emphatic effect by demonstrating how techniques with and without the bokken produce exactly the same result on the uke.  He also showed some “fully-prone submission” techniques which resulted in the uke almost achieving escape-velocity!

 Sensei Frank himself, 5th Dan Institute of Aikido and also 5th Dan Hombu (United Kingdom Aikikai), showed us among other things how the balance-point of the jo combines with the twist of the wrist to produce an irresistible posture-break and projection, which judging by the subsequent immediate improvement in technique, clarified for many students the effectiveness of the jo in Aikido.

 But sadly, “All Good Things Come To An End,” and all too soon it was time for the final Reis, the presentation of “Thank-You” gifts from Sensei Frank to the guest-instructors, and thanks to all the students who had attended over this weekend and others in the series – and naturally, as a finale, a swift soda-water (!) in the bar before departure…….

 Although the sequence of courses which began with “The Big Three” has now ended, there is  “light at the end of the tunnel.’  It is planned that the Lowestoft course will return in about two years (as it will probably take that long to organise), but with a different and – hopefully – unique theme; so “Watch This Space!”


Change of course date Tribute to Sensei Foster 7th Dan Institute of Aikido

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

In view of the sad passing away of Sensei Foster, the course in October will  now be instructed by Senseis Frank Burlingham and William Timms, senior instructors from the Institute of Aikido. This course will be a tribute for Sensei Foster. The dates are different from the ones stated on the calendar. The new dates are, Saturday and Sunday 15th/16th October 2011 and not 8th/9th.

Sad News

Monday, February 14th, 2011

 Haydn Foster, Shihan 7th Dan, passed away suddenly yesterday, Sunday 13th February 2011. His passing is a huge loss to the Aikido world and a great loss to all of us at Yama Arashi UK. Sensei Foster was the last surviving Sensei of the  “Big 3″ and has been teaching at our dojo for many years. His unique style of teaching, his humour on and off the mat ( and his lovely laugh) will always be remembered by us.  He became a good friend to me, as he was to the late Tom Moss, who I know held him in such high esteem. I so enjoyed the times I sat next to him at social occasions listening to him relate his many Aikido memories and stories and wondering how he managed to remember so much detail from so many years ago. My sincere condolences on behalf of all of us go to Mrs Foster, Paul and all other family members. My sympathy also to the members of the Institute for the loss of their Sensei and their friend.

Happy New Year

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Hi Everyone. I hope you all had a  lovely Christmas and have now recharged the batteries ready for another year of Aikido/fitness. The calendar for 2011 will be finished very soon so please make a note of grading/course dates for the coming months.   All classes as normal from Wednesday 5th January. Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2011.

Yama Arashi Brussels Newsletter Excerpt

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Yama Arashi Brussels Newsletter – A rough translation of Sensei Thielemans’ report.

SPECIAL COURSE OF AIKIDO OF 14 and October 15 at Budokan and visiting delegations from YAMA-ARASHI COVENTRY, YAMA-ARASHI ANTWERPEN and AKTERNAT THEO WALRAVENS In front of a very large audience it was announced as the final course of Tony Thielemans. No fewer than 16 practitioners of Yama-Arashi Coventry in England had made the trip to participate in these lessons. There was also a delegation of practitioners Yama-Arashi Antwerp and another club Ternat. Also some professors, students and black belts of Yama-Arashi Brussels but also members of other clubs and their friends. Such as Professor Paul Van Lierde, who begun at the Yama-Arashi at the age of 15 years and is now 5th dan. Among the spectators were also many teachers from the provinces such as Mr. Carlo Van Parijs Liege and Mr. Theo Walraven Ternat. We also had the presence of sympathetic Vandermoten Mr Christian’s Sports Service of the City of Brussels. We can’t name all those who were either on the tatami, or in assistance, for example, Professor John Jeurissen, 6th Dan Judo President ABAMJ. Budokan F and representative but we would like to thank all those who have written, phoned or sent an email to ensure their support. During these courses, we had the opportunity to admire the technical excellence of our British friends whose education is under the direction of Ms. Barbara Moss, 5th dan who showed a magnificent aiki-nage. Also Jean Trembloy, which in addition to his 5th dan aikido 5th dan is also iai-do and 4th dan jodo, gave us a beautiful demonstration of kata Jodo (stick) and explained the basics for a few moments this session. At the end of the course of 14 October Grev Cooke, Brian Kennedy and Ric Costigan and to Mr. Gil Graff, who began the study of Aikido in our Club in 1964 were awarded the rank of fifth Dan. The rank of 4th dan was awarded to Messrs Ivan Dhondt and Philippe Leboeuf and we have to honour the memory of Francis Speliers by awarding him posthumously the rank of 6th Dan. A reception hosted by the President, Mrs. Joel Thielemans and Marie-José Servay committee member, and we were pleased to have the presence of Mr. Mayor Freddy Thielemans. This closed this memorable evening. The next day, after class, a banquet was held that brought together 25 guests who celebrated the end of two days together with members of Yama-Arashi Coventry.

I want to thank you again for the wonderful gifts that were offered to me and want to say that if I do no more courses for physical reasons, it do not mean my retirement and I continue my work for the dissemination of martial arts and prosperity of Yama-Arashi Tony Thielemans

Brussels 2010

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Diary of Events (Grev Cooke, 5th Dan)

Thursday 14th October

Day 1:

We all met at the airport nice and early so it must be a beer or three before we go – good start

Small hiccup with the train into Brussels but much too complicated for me to explain so you will have to ask ‘El Presidente’.

Short walk to the hotel that surprisingly was the old Red Lion, an old haunt of ours.

Then true to tradition a visit for more real beer in the ‘stuffed horse’ real name the King of Spain in the main square.

Later we all went to Thielemans official last session and it was really good after so many years, to see him taking the class. His points were all back to basics and delivered in his usual style. Nice to see some old friends after such a long time.

Then, the bombshell. He awarded me, Bri and Ric our 5th Dan’s, what a pleasant surprise! Barb then told us all the ins and outs of how she organised it, she must have been bursting holding it in.

After the class, they had laid on a buffet, which allowed some more beer and chatting time. Then off to the other watering hole ‘Le Coq’. There are so many stories that have involved this pub, I wouldn’t know where to start.

We left Le Coq about 2:30am to get some chips at Fritland. Fritland has always been open for virtually 24 hours but now it closes at 1:00am. What a disappointment. We had to make do with a McDonalds!

 Friday 15th October

Day 2:

Most made breakfast, then a wander around Brussels and looked at the old Dojo in ‘Sablon’. Again, so many happy memories. A bit of shopping, more beer then off to the evening class. A similar class as the Thursday with Ric, Barb and me showing a technique. Loads of faults pointed out by Thielemans except for Barb who did one of the best techniques he had seen, so much micky taking ensued.

After the class, we all went for a meal accompanied by Thielemans and about a dozen of his friends. The meal finished around midnight so off to Le Coq but as its now like a student hangout, it was bursting at the seams, so we just found a quieter bar to finish off the night.

 Saturday 16th October

Early breakfast so we could catch the train in plenty of time. At the airport we indulged in some more beer and shopping. Due to the long customs check we only just managed to get to get on the plane. Arrived back in Birmingham around midday. Such a lot to do in so short a time but for those that have been before a trip down memory lane and for the first timers they can now understand that some of our stories may be true!

 It brought home to me how things are constantly changing and we have to move on. It was nice to be present at Thielemans last class and receive my 5th Dan from him but it means more to me to receive it from Barbara. Tom was my mentor and Thielemans was his. Now Barbara is my mentor (whether she likes it or not) as she is for all our other YAUK members.

Dan Gradings Brussels 2010

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

See gallery Dan Grading section for latest photos

Belgium 2010 5th Dan Gradings G. Cooke, B. Kennedy R. Costigan

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Earlier this year a few of us were talking about how nice it would be to visit Brussels. Many of the past and present Aikido members have happy memories of our annual trips in September, when we went to train and eligible participants took their Dan grade examinations under the direction of Sensei Thielemans 6th Dan.

 I had been giving the promotion of the senior instructors of Yama Arashi a good deal of thought  and was undecided about the best approach  to keep it as a total surprise. Earlier this year, we had information from Sensei Tony Thielemans, the head of our association, that he was to teach his last class on October 14th which was obviously going to be a very special occasion. After contacting Sensei he confirmed that he was more than happy to award  these special gradings on that day, so then the difficult part was to make sure that they could all go to Brussels at that time and also their partners!

It all worked out well and was a great weekend,  just like old times, with lots of memories and stories of past years related by those who could still remember them!

The 5th Dan gradings were awarded after the 2 hour course on Thursday evening and I was so pleased that it came as a total surprise to the three of them, Grev Cooke, Brian Kennedy and Ric Costigan. Sensei Thielemans received many retirement presents after the class and then we celebrated at a reception at the centre where we met up with old friends from Yama Arashi who we had not seen for a number of years. I was so pleased that Ros Jan and Christelle were there to enjoy the presentations but only wished that more could have been there to celebrate the happy event. The members who joined us were so pleased, I know, to be there at such a special occasion.

 The next day we had a relaxing day shopping and walked to the Grand Sablon area to show the newer members where we took our examinations.

The next evening, Friday, we went to the dojo for another two hour session with Sensei Thielemans, who picked one or two of us to demonstrate a technique to the class.

The weekend was finished off with a meal at a restaurant in the centre of Brussels with friends and members of Sensei.

Last Thursday another presentation was made to Grev, Brian and Ric at our dojo, so that the members could witness the occasion and also to Martin whose certificate was signed by Sensei during the weekend as he was awarded his 4th Dan, last September.

 I was extremely happy to present the 5th Dan awards.  As well as their Aikido technique and teaching, they all give 100% to the club and to Yama Arashi UK in so many ways. They work together as a team for the good of the club and have coped well with extra responsibility placed upon them after losing their Sensei and also their friend Tom Moss.

 Well Done and Congratulations!

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