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Zanshin-Kai Aikido

Sensei Palmer continued…

The “Nineties” came around and I  got married and moved to Old Hill.  I was beginning to feel that something was missing but did not know what.  By chance my wife saw an ad in the local paper where a martial  arts club was recruiting.  I had no excuse as the dojo was only 15 minutes walk from my house!

The dojo was holding an open day, and I went around to see.  I was greeted by  people in white suits, but was drawn to the people wearing black skirts!  There was an old man throwing people around like rag dolls…..“how could this be?” I thought as they were a hell of a lot taller than he was plus they looked stronger, younger and fitter, but within 10 minutes of watching I was hooked!

The dojo was Ren Shin Kan HQ to the UKA ,and the old man was Mr Smith (Shihan Smith).  In the beginning I used to go on many  classes.  Sensei said to me “Son, you don’t need to come to every class, but I think you will do well with sticking to Mike’s classes.

For those of you who don’t know, Mike Smith is/was the nephew of Mr Smith and has been my instructor more or less from day one!  My fondness memories are of training on Sunday mornings with the rest of my peers, and Mr Smith sitting to the side watching Sensei Mike smith take the class.

It was soon after obtaining Sho-dan he decided to give back something to Aikido, the art he had grown to love and after some months of talking to his instructor Sensei Mike Smith (and with Mr Smith’s blessing) Zanshin-Kai Aikido club started on 31st October 2002 at its first venue "The old art school" in Sutton Coldfield.

With the help of Sensei Brian Borrows who gave us our first set of old mats and canvas. The club started off with one student (Alex Lawrence) and within two years its members grew to 25.  In 2004 Sensei reached the rank of Ni-dan and accepted the title of Fukushidoin (Assistant National Coach) awarded yet again by Shihan Smith.

In the same year he decided on a journey to Japan to try to understand more about the Japanese people and their culture. Sensei spent 3 weeks in Tokyo where he took instruction from Doshu, Shihan's Seijuro Masuda, Tsuruzo Miyamoto, Yukimitsu Kobayashi and Shigeru Sugawara.

While staying in a ryokan in the ikkebukkeru district of Tokyo, Sensei Palmer was noticed a magazine left out for visitors to look at. In it he saw a picture of himself taking ukemi for Shihan Sugawara at a previous UKA summer school!

It turned out that the owner of the ryokan was a pracitioner of Aikido, and once they both got talking, Sensei was invited by the owner to train at his dojo a few miles away.  The instructor there was a Sensei Ichiro Shishiya, a former student of Shoji Nishio who was a famous Aikido and sword master in Japan.  For the short period that Sensei was in Japan, he took instruction from Shishiya Sensei  in Aikido and Sword.

Once back in the UK, Sensei has continue to strive to pass on what he learnt from this visit.  In January 2010 the UKA held its Winter school.  Sensei Palmer obtained the rank of San-dan, and dedicated is efforts to his ill father who passed away a month later.

At Summer School 2015, Sensei Palmer was promoted to Go-dan.  Sensei Palmer continues to improve his Aikido through diligent training and instruction and is presently authorised to grade up to 1st Kyu (Brown Belt).

International Serbia trip

Sensei’s return trip to Serbia was going to be an eventful time.  Read about his visit to one of his favourite countries