East Sheen Aikido Dojo - Home Aikido Kashima no Tachi Kashima no Tachi Pictures Kashima no Tachi Techniques

East Sheen (SW London) Aikido and Kashima no Tachi (Kenjutsu) Dojo

Robert Cowham demonstrating kenjutsu

Robert Cowham demonstrating kenjutsu

Robert Cowham demonstrating Jissendachi with Inaba sensei at the Embu
for the Shiseikan's 35th Anniversary in Tokyo, October 2008.
Special guest at the Embu was Chief Priest Nakajima of the Meiji Shrine.
Araya sensei (current Shiseikan Kancho) is in the background of the second picture.
Top technique is Oikomisotogiri, lower one is Tsubamegaishi.
(Photos Miki Fukutoku sensei)

This is the home page for the Aikido and Kashima no Tachi Kenjutsu club based in East Sheen, SW London (near Mortlake, Barnes and Richmond). The dojo is affiliated with Tetsushinkan dojo at MovingEast.

If you are interested, please let me know your details by emailing robert.cowham@gmail.com  (or ringing 020 8876 1697 or 07785 292 719).

Aikido and Kashima no Tachi Kenjutsu

Aikido is about using mind, ki (energy) and body to deal with your attackers energy and redirect it. Kashima no Tachi (see also Kashima no Tachi Techniques and Pictures) is more direct and focuses acutely on how to use your body while responding to an attack. The combination addresses softness and also trains the ability to respond to pressure.

It is suitable for men and women of all ages from late teens upwards (children's classes are planned in the future).

Our interests include softness and sensitivity of the body and how kenjutsu (sword work) brings this out and informs the taijutsu (unarmed movements) of aikido. We practise with shinai (leather covered bamboo swords) and bokken/bokuto (wooden swords).

The class typically starts with stretching and other centering and energy development exercises such as qi gong (also known as chi kung). These help to relax, calm and focus the mind and body, and also develop ki (also known as qi/chi in Chinese see Wikipedia definition).

Martial effectiveness is studied through the focus and pressures of kenjutsu, and researching the development of the tanden (central point of the body).

The mental and psychological aspects are as beneficial as the physical training. How can we train to respond appropriately rather than have all our training leave us in an unguarded moment? Most of us are very unlikely to be physically attacked, and yet are typically "attacked" verbally or psychologically on a daily basis - how can we maintain our centre in such situations?

The benefits are both physical and mental, and include:

We focus more on deep principles of movement rather than learning lots of different techniques. How can we move our bodies more effectively and effortlessly? How can we learn to become more grounded and utilisie the power of the ground rather than our muscles?

The Club - Time and Location and Costs

The club meets on Monday evenings from 8.15pm until 9.45pm and we also have a morning class on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6.30AM - 8.00am - leaves time to get to work afterwards (feeling virtuous!). The morning classes may occasionally be cancelled/moved - please call to confirm.

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before class starts.

Costs: £12 per class, £8 for concessions. £30 for monthly payments. Yearly membership including insurance is £10.

The Mortlake Girl Guides hall in Alder Road (down the path next to No 38 Alder Road - behind the Scout Hut which is on the road), London SW14 8ER
Google Maps link
Google Streetview link
This is close to Mortlake station (on the Richmond-Waterloo line) - see TFL Journey Planner.

What to wear: Beginners can wear a track suit or loose fitting clothes to start with; unless of course you happen to have a judo (or other martial arts suit with a white belt) which would be ideal.
We practise in bare feet.
Once you have decided to practise regularly, you will be expected to buy yourself a judo suit.

The Teacher

Robert Cowham has been studying Aikido since 1987. He studied in Italy and Holland before returning to London in 1989 and starting with Kanetsuka sensei (7th dan of the BAF - British Aikido Federation). He has studied Kashima no Tachi Kenjutsu since 1992 (with Paul Smith sensei of Tetsushinkan, and Inaba sensei and other teachers at the Meiji Jingu Shiseikan). He was awarded Aikikai yondan (4th degree blackbelt) in Aikido in 2006 by Inaba sensei and Chuden in Kashima no Tachi by Inaba sensei in 2009. His main teachers over the years have been Paul Smith sensei (6th dan) and Inaba sensei (8th dan). He has also studied regularly in Norway with Bjorn Eirik Olsen sensei (6th dan) and Suganuma sensei (8th dan), as well as various other teachers around the world. Robert has studied Cheng Hsin with Kevin Magee and has been to workshops with the founder Peter Ralston. The Cheng Hsin principles have influenced his practice. He has also been working with the principles and practices of developing "Internal Strength" as discussed by Mike Sigman and has attended workshops with Mike - this work provides a Western approach and an intellectual framework for the ideas and capabilities as taught by Inaba sensei and others.

Robert was a founding director of MovingEast in 1999 and was on the board of directors for 9 years. He remains an Instructor at Tetsushinkan dojo.

He was also instrumental in setting up the International Shiseikan Budo Assocation (ISBA) and has been ISBA Secretary since its founding in 2009.


Clubs and teachers with whom we have links: