Meet the director of British Aikido, Kerry Cope.

Kerry Cope is the new director of the British Aikido Board and has been practicing Aikido for over 11 years. She's aiming to develop and grow Aikido in the UK and introduces herself and her ambitions below.

My name is Kerry Cope and I love Aikido!

I have recently joined the British Aikido Board as their Director, and I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead.

I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself to you all and to share why I love Aikido as well as why it is important that we all work together to encourage others to try this humbling martial art.

I grew up in Germany owing to my father being in the army before making Wales my home. My father held a Dan grade in Karate and my brother belts in Judo. I would often watch friends during Taekwondo classes that they attended and I loved watching martial arts films with my father on a Saturday afternoon (should I really have admitted to that?)

Back then growing up I really lacked the confidence to just turn up at a martial arts dojo and train. As a teenager I put my thoughts of martial arts to one side and focused on securing an apprenticeship as a metal machinist for an engineering company.

I always knew that I wanted to try a martial art that I thought would suit my analytical mind, spiritual ways, would allow me to defend myself and was without competitions. I also knew that the thought of getting my leg to the heights attained by students of kicking arts was never going to happen, seriously!

I remember watching the film Nico and thinking wow! An effortless martial art with elegance and yet effective, what could it be? I know not everyone is a Steve Seagal fan but certainly he helped to showcase Aikido in the mainstream arena.

I was in my late 20’s when I finally thought to myself; if you want to learn a martial art you better get off your backside and start training. I did some research into Aikido and made my first contact with Shirley Timms (Secretary to the BAB) and she kindly forwarded me details of local clubs. My first club experience of Aikido wasn’t suited to me, and it is important that you feel comfortable with the club you choose.

I then heard of a club in Newport, which at the time was close to where I worked. It was then that I began training with Sensei Steven Lindsey an experienced Aikido teacher with a lifetime in Aikido. The club was everything that I was looking for and everyone shared the same passion for Aikido. I really typified a new beginner with frequents shouts of “the other left” being directed at me. I think it took me about 3 years before I went from feeling completely useless to seeing progress in my training.

One of the worst training times I experienced was when I broke my collar bone whilst rolling. What hurt the most wasn’t the break it was not being able to train and I knew then Aikido was with me for the rest of my life. I have been training for about 11 years now, co-run a club with my instructor Sensei Andrew Reakes , and my love of Aikido remains a constant.

Aikido means so many different things to so many people. For some it is a self defence, others a spiritual path, some seeking health benefits and others love the social interaction. What is clear is that no matter what our differences we share a common love for Aikido and whatever that means to us.

The number of people practicing traditional martial arts including Aikido is declining in favour of newer systems such as Krav and MMA as well as the range of other demands on our time.

My role as Director is not a standalone role and it relies on the BAB executive committee, associations, clubs, and members all working together.

The goal we share is a common one preserve Aikido and encourage the next generation of Aikido students through our shared passion for Aikido.

I will be working to support the BAB executive committee, look at ways the BAB can add value for the associations that it represents and try to get Aikido the recognition that it deserves.

If there are courses running see them as opportunities to come together to train, If a community event is running offer to demonstrate Aikido, and don’t be shy with sharing your Aikido.

I need you all to be ambassadors for Aikido.

I am humbled to be able to practice Aikido, and I am looking forward to working with and supporting you within my role.

Thanks, Kerry