History of the Club:
TTWSAC started in an old converted church on East Street, Tonbridge. It was the dream of Lee Banda to open a cross training centre bringing together instructors from across a range of different Martial Arts. It just so happened that Di Buckley (then a 1st dan) was working about 50 yards up the road and introduced himself as an aikido instructor. This was the summer of 1999. The Church (known as International Combat and Exercise or ICE) continued for several years but then got into financial difficulties and had to close but by then we had two other venues going: the Swanmead dojo in Tonbridge which has now become the home of our juniors class, and the Vale Royal Church Hall in Tunbridge Wells, started by James Burman in June 2003 (now moved to St Mark’s School).
James Burman 3rd dan: James started aikido after reading ‘Angry White Pyjamas’ by Rob Twigger at ICE under Di Buckley. He then continued his training in Orpington and Bromley under Phil and Jim Newcombe and Chris Stamate. On returning from a three month stint in Japan with his shiny new black belt in 2003 he went on to open his own club in Tunbridge Wells. Competitive highlights include: two times national Goshin no kata Gold medallist and World Kongo dantaesan Silver medallist. James also met his wife Imogen on an aikido trip to Bordeaux in 2005.
Imogen Burman is a 2nd Dan (JAA) and has been practicing Aikido since 2003, where she started at the Central YMCA under Marlon Hoating, 4th Dan, before moving to the Tunbridge Wells dojo to train with her future husband, James (3rd Dan). Imogen has competed nationally and internationally, most recently at the 9th International Aikido tournament in 2011 where she was highly placed for the Goshin no Kata event. She also won silver in the UK Championships earlier in 2011 for the same event. She has trained in Japan under Nariyama Shihan at the Shodokan headquarters in Osaka and also at Waseda University whilst attending the 6th International Aikido Tournament in Katsuura, Japan in 2005.
Sometimes in the West we don’t really get Martial Arts. People often see the black belt as the end of their training, the pinnacle of achievement. It’s true that to reach shodan (1st dan black belt) especially in aikido, requires considerable time, effort and application and often blood, sweat and tears. But it’s our belief that this should not be seen as the end, rather the start of the next stage of development.
Contact Sensei Marianne Taylor on: 07765 190816
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