Aziz Meknassi (Az)
I have been studying Aikido since 1983 starting in Casablanca ( Morocco) at the age of 12 with Bahadou Abderrahman Sensei 6th Dan of the Moroccan Aikido Federation. I served as his Uke and assistant for many years..I obtained my black belt in 1989 when i turned 18 years of age , then started teaching Aikido for adults at Budokan du Maroc club as well as children at various public and private clubs in Casablanca.
There was a time when all my family had practiced Aikido at Budokan du Maroc , from my father all the way down to the youngest cousin.
Under Bahadou Sensei’s teaching i have also practiced Việt Võ Đạo a vietnamese martial art, Tai-Jutsu, Kung fu, Aikibudo among others and met and trained with many experts in the above fields.
The Aikido we had practiced in Casablanca was two fold :
1) Traditional in the sense that practitioners must know the Aikikai Syllabus for their national grading chaired by the first 8th dan in Africa Alaoui M’barek Alaoui sensei or their international Aikikai grading chaired by Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan for those who could afford Aikikai fees which were the only difference, the exams were the same.
2) Modern Aikido that evolved with time and taught as self-defence tool.
Moved to Coventry UK and I met a great gentleman called Tom Moss sensei head of the Pheonix club , admittedly i had not trained with him for long but when i did, i enjoyed his classes, Tom sensei would make anyone love Aikido, his own Aikido was beautiful, sadly he passed away.
Then in 2009, i trained and taught at Chishin Dojo when i had met John burn sensei up until 2012.
in the meantime, I am still in touch and I meet with my Sensei Bahadou for more teaching and wisdom. In 2001, I was graded 4th Dan under Patricia Guerri Sensei 7th Dan, who was a direct disciple of Morihiro Saito sensei for 12 years.
I had later decided to establish my own dojo, for various reasons, one is that i wanted to pass on whatever i had learned to my children and family, soon other friends heard of it and decided to join, another reason, is for me to keep training and learning, i also wanted a dojo that doesn’t get involved in any organisational politics. The dojo name was not there until i met and trained under Shihan Terry Ezra who gave us the name Hizashikan dojo in 2011.
For me, Aikido isn’t just for a session or two it has become my way of life, I try to apply its philosophy in my daily life. Throughout my non martial art careers I have always found a place where Aikido applies. If it wasn’t for Aikido, Bahadou sensei and those that followed I wouldn’t be the person I am, and for that, I am very grateful.,
Our Dojo is proud member of Shimbokukai UK and Shimbokukai International that is directly linked to the Ueshiba family and Aikikai (headquarter in Japan) , under the direction of Lisa Tomoleoni sensei 6th dan Aikikai , our kyu grades are recognised by Aikikai and so are our dan grades.