I’ve done a lot of research lately into Aikido clubs in the Greater Manchester area – this information may prove useful to you too if you’re looking for the same thing as me. I’ve been looking for the best teachers – the best technical quality of tuition – most easily accessible (by foot or by train) from Manchester City Centre, and here’s what I’ve found.
Jonathan Davies (4th Dan) and Sarah Williams (4th Dan)
Teaching at the Mason Street Dojo branch of their Keitenshin Kai aikido club in North Central Manchester – Sensei Davies and Sensei Williams – both 4th degree black belts – offer decent aikido tuition, not much lower in level than the top clubs in the Greater Manchester region which only go up to 5th Dan. Based on Mason Street in the city centre, the Keitenshin Kai club is a great option for anyone in or near Manchester City Centre. Sensei Jonathan Davies and Sarah Williams have been practicing Aikido together since the mid 1980s. Both are 4th degree black belt instructors, and together they run the Mason Street (HQ) branch of their club.
Tuesdays & Fridays, 18:30-20:30
38 Mason Street,
Andrew Baird (5th Dan)
Having been practicing Aikido for 40 years, Andrew Baird (5th Dan) runs Trafford Aikido Club with the support of Sue Baird (4th Dan) who has 30 years’ experience herself.
Sundays, 18:30 – 20:30
Altrincham Leisure Centre,
Getting there by metro: Altrincham Leisure Centre is just a few seconds’ walk from Altrincham railway station. If travelling from Manchester Picadilly station, hop on the Manchester Metrolink on Platform 2 at 17:52 in order to arrive at Altrincham station’s Manchester Metrolink on Platform 1 at 18:21. Alternatively (especially as the teacher recommends you arrive about 15 minutes early) catch the same tram at 17:34 to arrive at 18:08.
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 19:30 – 21:30
St John’s Church,
St John’s Rd,
Barry Chapman (5th Dan)
Barry has been practicing martial arts for 50 years. He started training in the graceful arts of Tai Chi and Aikido 40 years ago. Today, as a 5th Dan, with the help of a 4th Dan, two 3rd Dans and a 2nd Dan, Barry teaches Aikido twice weekly at the Hyde Dojo of the Seishin Kai club which he founded over 20 years ago – in 1990.
Tuesdays & Fridays, 19:30 to 21:00
The Longdendale Gymnastics Centre,
Getting there by train: Depart from Manchester Picadilly station (MAN) at 18:18 to arrive at Broadbottom station (BDB) 18:39. You can get an Off-Peak Day Return ticket for £3.80. After arriving at Broadbottom train station you then have a 30 minute walk, due North, in order to arrive at the Hyde Dojo about 19:10. Conveniently the teacher asks people to turn up at about 19:10 in order to help prepare the dojo before the 90 minute class ahead.
David Yates (5th Dan)
David Yates has been practicing aikido for 40 years, and runs the Wa Go Kan Dojo in Stretford with the help of a 4th Dan and a few 1st & 2nd Dans.
Wednesdays & Fridays, 19:00 start
St. Matthew’s Church,
Getting there by metro: Get on the Manchester Metrolink at Manchester Picadilly train station, Platform 2, departing at 18:25 to arrive at Stretford station, Platform 1, at 18:45. You’ll then have a 10 minute walk to the Wa Go Kan Dojo, arriving shortly before the 7pm start time.
Paul Gorvette (3rd Dan)
Sensei Paul teaches Ki Aikido in the Hulme (South Central Manchester) branch of Sensei Wasyl Kolesnikov’s school – KSMBDA / Universal Aikido.
Wednesdays, 19:00 to 21:00
41 Old Birley Street,
Getting there: Sensei Paul’s club in Hulme is within walking distance of Manchester City Centre, being only 30 mins walk – due South West – from Manchester Picadilly train station.
Alexandros Georghiou (3rd Dan)
Sensei Alex teaches Aikido at Zanshin Do Ryu in Rochdale – this club was formerly a branch of Sensei Wasyl Kolesnikov’s school (KSMBDA / Universal Aikido).
This school specialises in a range of similar yet distinct disciplines of Chinese and Japanese origin including forms of Meditation, QiGong (Chi Kung), TaiJi (Tai Chi), and of course AiKiDo. These arts all involve the intended practice of perfectly balanced movements for personal wellbeing – helping you to maintain a healthy mind & body in general while also equipping you to confidently conduct yourself in a non-aggressive yet successful manner during potentially violent fight scenarios.
Sensei Wasyl Kolesnikov 7th Dan – Oldham OL9 – Retired
Until recently, Sensei Kolesnikov was teaching Aikido at his school – Universal Aikido – in Oldham. Sensei Kolesnikov is the highest graded Aikido teacher we’ve found teaching regularly in the Greater Manchester area. According to our research, there are a few 5th Dan teachers but no 6th Dan or other 7th Dan teacher of Aikido in Greater Manchester, so Seisei Kolesnikov stood out. Sensei Wasyl Kolesnikov has been a 7th Dan black belt since January 2010. His moves are as fluent as one would expect from a 7th Dan, and his attitude seems reflective of his enthusiasm for spiritual development in himself and in his students. Sadly, since the end of June 2013, his classes at Booth House have been terminated – partly due to an injury to his back and partly due to poor class attendance after 15 years of teaching. Although his mainstream classes are no longer running, various students of his are continuing to run their own branches under his association – KSMBDA – throughout the country. Sensei Kolesnikov may also be available for private tuition, and you may even be able to catch him doing Salsa at Copacabana where he hangs out several times a week.