Sensei Interview: Michael Rowley – 6th Dan

When did you start learning Aikido, and why?

Age 12 back in 1976. Started doing karate in Huddersfield because I was bullied at school! I stayed with this club for about 4 years until it closed then bobbed about for a bit doing a few other arts including Judo, Tai Chi and Kung Fu with a couple of years at another Karate club. Found our club around 1982 joining with a few friends whilst still doing Karate but enjoyed the atmosphere and decided to give up the Karate in favour of the Aikido. Been here ever since!

What is your role at Mirfield Martial Arts Club?

I have taken several classes over the years, doing the Thursday nights for many years until I handed them over to the current instructors while I did my Hypnotherapy training. I was also Chairman for a few years before Steve took over. I now do the Sunday class and I am currently in charge of boosting morale!

What advice would you have for new starters, or people wanting to start training?

Enjoy the learning curve. Don’t rush through the gradings just come for the experience and treat the Aikido as a bonus. You will learn more that way.

How would you say learning aikido helps you on a daily basis?

It boosts confidence. I have seen many beginners particularly the young ones develop skills you would not normally associate with a Martial Art such as presentation skills and public speaking allowing them to grow as a person. It is very rewarding.

What interests do you have outside aikido?

I like my Hypnotherapy. I also play and build ukuleles but these are developing skills!

After training in and teaching aikido, what is your most memorable moment so far?

Far too many to mention. The week courses are a highlight of the year but the people are what make our club special.

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