August 11, 2021

Dojo History

A brief insight into more than 30 years of Warwick Aikido

Dojo History
Photo credit: Warwick Aikido

Our dojo was founded in 1988 and at the 20-year anniversary was given the name Gen Sen Jyuku by the esteemed master T.K. Chiba Sensei on his visit in 2008. The meaning literally translated is “essence of a spring” inspired by the position the club has of being the launching point of many aikidoka’s careers.

Ian Grubb Sensei laid the foundations of the Warwick Aikido group in 1988. He served well, leading the club until the class of 1993–94, when work commitments meant that he had to move away from the university area. Grubb Sensei was training with Chris Mooney Sensei at the time in Birmingham, so to not allow the work to go to waste Mooney Sensei took the role. However, because of his own commitments at Aston and Birmingham universities and his own full-time dojo Ei Mei Kan, he asked David Cope Sensei to take over the running of the class. He served for a long time, leaving in the spring of 2002 – when Mooney Sensei returned to the club.

I did so because of the value that I saw there. Warwick is a rich, progressive and far-seeing university, and not just in a commercial sense; there is real gold to be found in its students. […] I am grateful to all the students down the years; they have been fine teachers to me. In hindsight, teaching at universities has been the foundation of my teaching practice. For a quarter of a century, every year, I have had to return to the root; with every new crop, I must go back to basics. It cannot be avoided. “

–Chris Mooney Sensei

Besides Ian Grubb Sensei and David Cope Sensei, there are other people whose contribution to the story of Aikido at Warwick ought to be recognised. Of course, many thanks are due to the University of Warwick itself for its continued support for our group. In particular, Mr. Terry Monnington, the ex-Director of Physical Education and Sport, for his exceptional drive and vision in seeing that physical education has a vital rôle to play in university life. The ex-President, Szevone Chin, has played an important part in the group for many years. We should also thank Tim Sullivan, another former President, for quietly and persistently working towards the continued growth of our dojo and the richness of its character. Indeed, all the former Presidents and Chairmen, and those to come, deserve a mention: without their invaluable assistance, our dojo would have ceased to exist.