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British Aikido Board

The National Governing Body for Aikido in the United Kingdom.
Aikido is a martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba, that focuses on harmonising with your opponent, it can be practiced as a sport, self defence and an art using hand to hand and japanese weapons.

Welcome to the British Aikido Board

The British Aikido Board seeks to:-

  • Represent the majority of bona fide organisations practicing aikido in the United Kingdom.
  • Support, encourage and promote the highest standards of aikido within an environment of mutual respect for offering styles practiced.
  • Raise awareness of the value of aikido not only as a contributor towards healthy living, but also in the development of adults, young people and children, without regard to race, gender or creed.

The British Aikido Board operates primarily through its member Associations. There are 42 currently Full Member Associations with 5 Associate and Probationary Member Associations of regional and national status, who each retain their independence, both technically and financially, with a combined membership of some 5,000 , which includes 1233 instructors holding current Coaching Awards.

The Board is recognised by Sport England , as the only governing body for aikido in the United Kingdom and is a member of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.


The Board seeks to further the advancement of all styles of aikido and to establish and monitor standards of safety and behaviour for practitioners of aikido.

The Board advises member Associations on all relevant UK and European legislation and procedures and develops appropriate policies and codes of practice.

Other services provided include:-
•  Insurance cover, for members, instructors and Associations.
•  Promotion of a Nationally recognised Coaching Scheme in conjunction with UK Coaching / Sport England.
•  Organising a National Courses.
•  Supporting initiatives to encourage the teaching of Aikido in schools.
•  Publishing Newsletters and specialist information bulletins eg. Safeguarding and Coaching.

The Board has completed a number of initiatives, arising from the work of their major Governance Audit and through the adoption of a wide range of recommendations, contained in their Aikido Development Plan will support their key objective of encouraging all Aikido groups to join together under this “Aikido umbrella”.

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Sensei John Cornish (Aikido and Judo) has passed away.

The BAB has been advised by James Wyatt on the 12 April 2018 the following.


I thought you and your fellow members would like to know John Cornish has passed away.

John Cornish started his martial art journey with judo and was taught by Trevor Leggett (taught by Yukio Tani) at the Budokwai in the early 1950’s. He then left to study in Japan in 1958 at the Kodokan and with his good technique he was given special training as a Kenshusei and was taught by some of the judo greats. He arrived at the Hombu dojo to study aikido under O’Sensei at the same time as Chiba Sensei and he took early morning practice with Osawa Sensei (he was used as uke, due to his skill at breakfalls) and also studied under Waka Sensei and Tohei Sensei, as well as O’Sensei (he described his technique as being ‘electric’). His first few black belts were awarded by O’Sensei and he returned to the Budokwai and London to teach both judo kata and aikido in the mid 1960s (he was one of the very few westerners to be licensed to teach and examine in all the judo katas and he even demonstrated the judo kata at the Olympics with Donn Draeger). With permission from the Kodokan he published a book on the Goshin Jutsu no Kata and continued to study, practice and teach both aikido (he was a good friend of Tamura Sensei) and judo. For over 40 years students benefited from his wisdom, patience and powerful technique, as well as his sense of humour at the Budokwai in London.

Some of my favourite comments from John were:
If a train is coming what do you do…get out of the way
If you have two legs move two legs and if you have three move three
You can never be low enough

He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and students.

James Wyatt

Comment from the BAB Webmaster Stephen Billett.

My early martial career meant that training in London you had to be at the Budokwai. Originally I went as a Judoka but after seeing John Cornish I also trained at his Aikido class. He complained constantly that I trained with him because I was injured from Brian Jacks Judo class. The truth was I enjoyed both Arts and had found coaches that knew how to deliver the knowledge, Also I hurt much more after Johns Aikido class!

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