Sensei Mark Pickering
I am, currently, 6th Dan, Shidoin and I am a member of the British Birankai Teaching Committee. I am also the Chairman of Birankai Austria.
My first experience as a martial artist was in Judo as a junior. I followed on from that and entered the ring as a boxer, where a lot of my experience was gained on the street. After boxing, I worked all over the world in security as a bodyguard. During this time I started Aikido (1985) under Shihan Tony Cassells, 6th Dan. By the time I reached Shodan in 1988, I had attended many courses led by a number of Japanese masters including; Kisshomaru Ueshiba (then Doshu), Waka Sensei (current Doshu), Chiba Sensei, Shibata Sensei, Miyamoto Sensei and many others.
Over the past 20 years I have travelled to Japan, the USA and Europe, where I have taught at various seminars. I have been teaching at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre for 19 years and have many adult and junior students. My senior Yudansha students, who have also travelled extensively for Aikido, have their own dojos. I believe weapons training should be as strong as body art, and have always taught and practised weapons, including Iaido, with the same vigour and enthusiasm.
Sensei Stuart Lovering
Chief instructor 4th Dan Shidoin: Tudor Grange
He himself was only a junior when he first started in 1988 after finding the calming side of it assisted him in the competions he used to compete in through his karate. Noticing the differance aikido was doing for him he continued to follow even though the reasons have changed over the years. He started aikido due to the interest in martial arts and has continued due to the enjoyment of giving other people the same experience he has had over the years and how it has helped him through his early years. He is now a member of the British Birankai Teaching Committee and holds the rank of 4th Dan Shidoin.
Sensei Andy Colclough
Assistant Instructor 3rd Dan Fukushidoin: Cocks Moors Woods
I started Aikido in 1994 after playing rugby for many years. My real interest has always been in martial arts and I have also learnt Judo and Karate. After trying Aikido for the first time I found what I had always been looking for in the martial arts, namely its etiquette and discipline. I have been studying Aikido for the past 15 years under the guidance of Sensei Mark Pickering 5 Dan. I gained my Shodan in 2000 and my Nidan in 2005. During my time in Aikido I have attended many courses around Britain and Europe and been taught by a number of Japanese instructors. Since 2003 I have made regular visits to Austria which has helped my study tremendously. I currently hold the rank of 3rd Dan Fukushidoin.
Sensei Jonathan Thomas
Assistant Instructor 1st Dan: Cocks Moors Woods
I trained with Sensei Pickering for a year as a teenager but going away to university, a combination of distractions and an inability to find the same quality of teaching led to a seven year period where I didn’t train. I started training again in 2000 and during that time have attended many courses taught by British and International Shihans alongside practice at local dojos. I attained 1st Dan in 2009.