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Aikido is a martial art from Japan based on self defence moves including locks, pins and throws. Shodokan Aikido introduces a sport element where aikido skills are put to practice.
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Shodokan Aikido

Are you interested in martial arts? Come and give Aikido a try!

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that uses the opponent's attack against them. Developed from traditional Japanese jujutsu and formed into its current system in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, Aikido does not focus on punching and kicking opponents. Instead, it focuses on using the opponent's momentum to gain control of them, allowing you to either throw them away from you or move them into a hold.

Aikido is based on joint locks, pins and throws and does not require strength to perform techniques well. Instead, it will teach you to use your opponent’s balance and movement to your advantage, making it easier to neutralise their attack. This principle makes it a self-defence art that is good for anyone regardless of age, build or gender.


The Leeds University Union Shodokan Aikido Club

At the LUU Shodokan Aikido club we practice sport aikido developed by Kenji Tomiki Shihan. Training is focused around learning techniques and applying them in practical ways. The kata (set forms and movements) are combined with randori (free sparring). Randori introduces a sport element where the techniques you learn can be more practically applied and you can see more clearly your strengths and weaknesses in Aikido. Not only that, but it does work up a sweat after a while so it’s also a great way to improve fitness!


Aikido is not a soft martial art and we train hard. We learn: how to break fall safely; how to throw, lock or pin your opponent; how to disarm or deal with an opponent with a weapon, and how to deal with more than one opponent. As such training does not only focus on one-to-one, hand-to-hand combat but also gives some attention to self-defence against knives, swords, staffs and multiple attackers.



We are directly linked to the Shodokan Aikido Federation (SAF) in Japan run by Nariyama Tetsuro Shihan (9th Dan - the highest ranking in the world of Shodokan). We are also part of the Shodokan Aikido UK (SAUK) organisation and part of ShodoDaogaku, a league of university clubs training in Shodokan Aikido. Our chief instructor, Justin Gallagher (3rd dan), has spent many years living in Japan training under Nariyama Shihan directly.



We have regular competitions with other universities in the country and we train hard for the National Student Championships held every March. We also participate in international seminars and competitions, providing the opportunity to travel abroad and meet aikidoka (people who do aikido) from around the world. Many of our members have been chosen for Shodokan Aikido UK's national squad, being trained to compete on an international level.



Training is performed in the Edge Sports Centre on martial arts mats. We train barefoot in dogi (white training suits) and have a coloured belt system. You will be taught how to fall safely, how to move and how to execute aikido techniques. After each session we all go to the Old Bar in the union for a few drinks.


We hold gradings three times a year and use an official grading system that allows our members to reach black belt, with lots of hard work, by the end of their 3 years at university.



All training is covered by the British Aikido Board insurance. For the official policy documents for those who want to know exactly what they are covered against please downoad the following document:

Beginners are always welcome!

Members at the Student Nationals Competition in Nottingham

To really get a feel for aikido, we recommend that you come along and try it. And why not? The first session is free!

Just come to one of our usual training sessions (see below) wearing loose clothing without zippers. A loose t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms are ideal. We look forward to seeing you on the mats!

Times and Costs

First session free!

Fridays 7.30 - 9.30pm

Sundays 10.30am - 12.30pm

The Edge, Studio 2, University of Leeds.

Membership (includes insurance)

Standard Membership £15.

Membership for 2nd Semester only: £8

You can buy your membership online by clicking on "Join this group" at the top of this page.


First session free!

£2.50 per class or:

£40 for 1 semester / £70 for the whole year

You can pay for classes online under the "shop" tab at the top of this page.

See you at training!



More information

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Useful documents

  • Social Guidelines

    Should you be running a social, check out the guidelines for events you run.

We train Fridays 19:30-21:30 and Sundays 10:30-12:30. All sessions are in Studio 2 of The Edge. Just come along to one of our usual training sessions to give it a go, wearing loose clothing without zippers. The first session is free!


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