History of Sports Aikido

History of Sport Aikido within the British Aikido association

Historically, competitive Aikido is a relatively recent innovation; Aikido Randori was established in the early 1960s just prior to Judo entering the Olympics in 1964. The British Aikido Association was founded in 1966 and the first British National Championships took place in 1968 at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace. A club from Epsom and Ewell were crowned club champions. Incredibly this was two years before the first All Japan Aikido tournament that took place in 1970. This makes the development of Sport Aikido unique in the world of martial arts, in that it was the UK that held the first domestic championship and not the Japanese. The BAA currently supports three annual national senior competitions. The inaugural Junior National Championship was held in 1977 at the Leeds Athletic Institute, providing demonstration events that young Aikidoka could safely perform. Great care was taken in developing a format that would allow dynamic performance but minimise the risk of injury to young joints. The event has grown over the years and is now one of three regular and popular events in the Association’s calendar. International tournaments; The first British presence in Japan was in 1985, when a team representing Leeds took a silver medal in the men’s team randori at the All Japan Aikido Championships. This act laid the foundation of the British National team started in 1987 by Bob Jones.

Frank Lord collecting the team silver at the All Japan Aikido Championships 1985 Team F W Lord, A B McDonald, M Pudney, M Sadler, D Greig

The first recognised World Championships took place in Nara, Japan in 1989. This competition was also attended by contingents from USA, Holland and Belgium. Since then the World Championships have been held on a regular basis and have provided an opportunity for Aikidoka from all over the world to compete and test their technique in a friendly yet competitive spirit. International competition venues

  • 1989 Nara, Japan
  • 1993 Katsuura, Japan
  • 1997 Imabari, Japan
  • 2001 Osaka, Japan
  • 2003 Leeds, England
  • 2005 Katsuura, Japan
  • 2007 Vandalia, USA 2009 Kyoto, Japan
  • 2011 London, England
  • 2013 Kawasaki, Japan
  • 2015 Gold Coast, Australia (SAF) and Fiecsh, Switzerland (JAA)

After visiting Japan in 1985 with a team from Leeds and winning silver in the Men’s Team Randori, the BAA decided to form a National team and for his efforts, Bob Jones was appointed Manager in 1987 and remained so until 1997. During that time the British Teams achieved 6 Gold, 7 Silver and 8 Bronze medals at international level.

Bob Jones

This was surpassed by Vanda Fairchild and David Fielding – managers between (1997 and 2005) with a total of 5 Gold, 12 Silver and 8 Bronze achieved by the team at international level.

Vanda Fairchild

David Fielding

Building on this Mick Pratt and Danielle Jones (managers 2005 to 2013) amassed 12 Gold, 12 Silver and 15 Bronze, illustrating the growing strength of British Aikido.

Danielle Jones

Mick Pratt

The current managers Laura Beardsmore and Paul Carr started their tenure in 2013 and have prepared the teams for their first international challenges in Australia and Switzerland. These teams were extremely successful winning a total of 8 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze medals.

Paul Carr and Laura Beardsmore current National Team Managers

The British Aikido Association National Team having attained outright team World Champions in 1995,2003,2007, 2011, 2015. With Women’s Individual World Champions in Chandra Kaur 1997,Laura Beardsmore 2011, 2013 and 2015 (SAF) and Natuley Smalle 2015(JAA) and Men’s Individual World Champions in David Fielding 2003, Christian Kirkham 2009 Jermaine Liburd 2015.


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