What the new student can expect :
Every class begins with a formal bow to the spirit and recognition of O Sensei as the founder of Aikido.
The instructor is then recognized with a formal bow. The class is then led in warm up stretches that stimulate the muscles and joints.
After warming up, the instructor demonstrates techniques that are practiced by the students in pairs. During training, breathing and body motions are combined within Aikido techniques in order to understand and practice the efficient use of the body.
Injuries in Aikido are rare because constant attention is paid to the safety of all students; especially beginners.
Each new student is individually trained in the techniques of falling and rolling properly. Beginning students receive special attention from the Chief Instructor and senior students to ensure correct practice and understanding of the basics.
After several weeks, the beginning student is free to practice with all students who possess a variety of skill levels. Class closes by bowing to O Sensei, the instructor, and fellow students in thanks for instruction and mutual respect.
Michael Flynn Shihan began his study of Aikido in 1982 at San Diego Aikikai under the direction of Shihan TK Chiba. He was promoted to Nidan in 1984 and was named Fukushidoin that same year.
In 1985, Flynn travelled to Japan, where he studied Aikido at Hombu Dojo and Muso Shinden Ryu Iai-do with Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei.
He returned from Japan in 1987 and served as the Chief Kenshusei at Berkeley Aikikai until December 1990, at which time he was promoted to Yondan and named Shidoin.
Flynn Sensei established Alameda Aikikai in January 1991 which eventually grew to become a major Birankai anchor in Northern California. He served as a member of the Teaching Committee, USAF Western Region, Chairman of the Sub-teaching committee, and member of the Iai Batto-Ho teaching committee until relocating to Scotland in June of 2005.
He was named Shihan in June of 2005 and was awarded 7th Dan by Doshu Ueshiba Moriteru on 14 January 2018 during the Kagami Baraki celebration at Hombu Dojo. He has also received Iaido Shihan title from Mitsuzuka Sensei.
Since arriving in Scotland, Flynn Sensei has established the Thistle Aikikai. He has served as the Chairman of the British Birankai.
He has also served as the Technical Director of both Hellenic Birankai and Birankai Portugal.
He is married to Julie, and the proud father of 3 children, Mitsu, Michael, and Nicole.
Iaido (The Way of Sword Drawing) traces its origins to the late 16th century in Japan. It was developed by Hayashizaki Shigenobu. Though an established fact that some Iai-jutsu was practiced within other schools prior to Hayashizaki’s birth, he is credited with the creation of the system of Iai which we know today as Muso Shinden Ryu., which was actually developed based on a vision that Hayashizaki received in a dream, and which he referred to as Batto-Ho. The traditions and forms of Muso Shinden Ryu were transmitted through successive generations of swordsmen, amoung them Nakayama Hakudo Sensei, commonly recognized as one of the two foremost martial artists of the Meiji Era (O’Sensei being the other). One of Nakayama Sensei’s foremost students, Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei, established himself in Tokyo and continued the teachings of the Muso Shinden Ryu as transmitted to him by Nakayama Sensei.
Iaido is practiced using a live or practice Japanese sword. Through Iaido training we attempt to understand the use of the weapon while simultaneously stimulating and stretching our body.
Weapons training is held on Thursday evenings. During weapons class we primarily utilize the wooden sword (bokken), and the staff (jo), and sometimes knife (tanto) and short sword (wakazashi).
Through the study of basic forms and partner practice we attempt to further understand the art of Aikido and particularly the study of timing and distance.