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Paul Douglas

Paul began his study of Aikido at age 14yrs, in his home town of Leicester. Inspired by seminars led by Chiba Sensei, his passion for this art was such that, in 1973, at age 17yrs, he applied to study with him and was invited to become an Uchideshi, a live in student. Paul studied intensively with Chiba Sensei, attending 10 classes per week and also accompanying Chiba Sensei on weekend seminars. At the age of 18yrs he became one of ten members to become a Kenshusei, an apprentice teacher. During the two years Paul spent with Chiba Sensei he met and studied with Kanai Sensei, Tamara Sensei, Kitaura Sensei and Sekiya Sensei (Chiba Sensei's father-in-law). At Chiba Sensei's instigation, Paul also acted as an assistant to Kanetsuka Sensei who was at early stages of establishing an Aikido practice of his own.

After a brief return to his home town, Paul returned to London in 1977 to study contemporary dance and subsequently became a professional dance artist, touring and performing internationally.

In 1984 Paul returned to his Aikido studies, this time with Kanetsuka Sensei who was by now the successor to Chiba Sensei as Director of The British Aikido Federation. Paul soon became Kanetsuka Sensei's assistant travelling with him on many seminars and acting as Uke for demonstrations. Yamaguchi Sensei was a regular visitor to the UK as the guest of the universities arm of the BAF. As Kanetsuka Sensei's assistant, when Yamaguchi Sensei was in London, Paul was his main Uke.

In 1987 Paul took a sabbatical from his work as a dancer and went to Tokyo for four months of intensive Aikido study. In addition to studying at The Aikikai Hombu Dojo, Paul also had an invitation from Yamaguchi Sensei to attend his private dojo in Shibuya. At The Aikikai Hombu Paul took classes with Yamaguchi Sensei, Yasuno Sensei and Endo Sensei. In Yamaguchi Sensei's Shibuya dojo, he also studied with Sekiya Sensei and Noguchi Sensei. Paul also travelled to Kamakura on several occasions to take classes with Takeda Sensei. This period in Japan was a major formative experience for Paul, stimulating him to re-evaluate his understanding of the fundamentals of Budo.

In 1992 Paul and his partner, Sasha Roubicek, were recommended by Sekiya Sensei to join other Aikido practitioners from Europe and the USA for the first international seminar to be offered by Inaba Sensei at The Shiseikan Dojo, Tokyo. In 1993 Paul and Sasha reciprocated by inviting Inaba Sensei to lead an international seminar in Wales. Soon after this course, Paul decided to make a significant shift in his studies and left the British Aikido Federation (affiliated to the Aikikai) to begin a concerted study of Inaba Sensei's methodology.

In 1998, with the support of members of Tetsushinkan, Paul established Movingeast, Centre for Dance Martial Arts and Complementary Medicine. Inaba Sensei, accompanied by Endo Sensei, came from Tokyo to lead a ceremonial opening for the centre, this was attended by Bjorn-Eirik Olsen, from Norway and Elias Papathanasis, from Greece as well as heads of other London Dojos. Since that time, with the generous support of Inaba Sensei, several teachers and senior members of The Shiseikan Dojo have visited and led classes including: Okada Sensei, Fukutoku Sensei, Watanabe Sensei, Udagawa Sensei, and more recently Aoki Sensei and Hashimoto San. Inaba Sensei last honoured Tetsushinkan Dojo with a visit in May 2011 when he was accompanied by Endo Sensei and Fukutoku Sensei. Over the past 20 years many members of Tetsushinkan have visited The Shiseikan Dojo to study with Inaba Sensei and associated instructors.

Since attending the seminar in Tokyo in 1992 Paul has dedicated himself to a study of Budo profoundly influenced by Inaba Sensei's integration of sword and body arts. Paul's expression of jujutsu techniques are permeated by his practice and understanding of Kashima No Tachi. In January 2012, following 20 years of study, teaching and research into this approach, Paul was awarded 6th Dan by Inaba Sensei.

 

 

Paul Smith
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movingeast gratefully acknowledges
financial support from
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