At first the club met in the sports hall at Lancashire Polytechnic (now the University of Central Lancashire), but in the mid-90’s it moved to Strettle`s Martial Arts Centre on Fylde Road. In late 2013 the decision was made to relocate the club and to create a dedicated space for the teaching and study of Aikido, the Sakura Dojo is the new home of Preston Aikido. In all of that time the club has been overseen by Chief Instructor Mr Ian Cherry. Overlooking the beautiful Winckley Square public park, the dojo is a personal space for the club and its members to grow. Preston Aikido Club is part of the Lancashire Aikikai, under the leadership of Mr Bob Spence (6th Dan).
Please visit the Lancashire Aikikai website to find out more about its history and current events, and links to other clubs in Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
The Lancashire Aikikai was founded by Marion Mucha. He was born in Niwaka in Poland in 1919 his father during the Depression sought work first in France and then Belgium. When the Second World War broke out Mr. Mucha joined the Polish forces in France and saw action. He came to Britain in 1943 and returned to France in 1944 where he was wounded in action. Returning to Britain after being wounded, he was hospitalised in the Polish Hospital in Ormskirk, Lancashire. After the war he decided to settle in this country having met his future wife here.
Mr Mucha had been practising Judo for two years when at a Summer School in Chigwell in 1956, he practised Aikido for the first time. Mr. Mucha was fascinated by Aikido, since it seemed to him to be a real fighting art. Though at this first introduction there was much he did not understand, there was something about it that attracted him even more than Judo.
From then on he started training in both Judo and Aikido. Mr. Mucha’s progress in Judo continued and he was to be awarded 1st Dan in 1962, 2nd Dan in 1967 and 3rd Dan in 1971. During the same period he was graded in Aikido by Nakazona Sensei and Ken Williams Sensei up to 1st Kyu.
He set up his own Budo (Martial ‘Way’) club, first in Ormskirk and then Chorley, Lancashire in 1965/6. This was to become the Lancashire Aikikai in 1967 a voluntary body that had at its heart the desire to promote and support Aikido – and this remains the same today. Lancashire Aikikai has no paid employees. All members give their time freely.
In 1967 a most significant event occurred. Chiba Sensei toured Britain with Noro Sensei from France. He had been sent by the Aikido Headquarters to teach Aikido in Britain. His tour included a course in Ormskirk. Mr. Mucha was so impressed by Chiba Sensei’s attitude and abilities that he asked to join him as uchi-deshi (‘inside student’).
As Chiba Sensei was based in Sunderland at the time this involved a great deal of travelling. Often accompanied by Mrs. Mucha he journeyed all over the country once or twice a month to practise Aikido with his teacher. Mr Spence, the current Principal, started Aikido with the Chorley Budo Club in 1968 and also travelled to train under Chiba Sensei.
Mr. Mucha’s persistence and dedication were rewarded by the award of 1st Dan in 1969, 2nd Dan in 1972 and 3rd Dan in1975, all awarded by Chiba Sensei. He was also awarded his Teacher’s Certificate from the Seikai Hombu in 1974.
In 1975 Chiba Sensei returned to Japan and since then he has moved to San Diego, USA. Despite this distance Mr. Mucha always considered Chiba to be his teacher and continued to teach in the way that Chiba Sensei had taught him.
In the years that followed the Lancashire Aikikai expanded until now it consists of clubs spread all over the North West and beyond. Mucha Sensei passed away in 1998 and Spence Sensei became the second Principal of the Lancashire Aikikai.
Bob Spence was awarded his first black belt in August 1971 by Chiba Sensei. In 2011 he celebrated 40 years as a Dan Grade. He is known to many in the Aikido world through his work as a BAB Coach Tutor as he has tutored many coaching courses. He himself has been taught and influenced by many teachers including Tada, Sekiya, Kitaura, Kenshiro Abbe, Nakazona, Tamuru and Chiba Sensei.
Mr Spence has a wide background in martial arts having studied Karate, Judo and Kung-Fu (White Cloud).
He continues to lead the Lancashire Aikikai according to the principles handed down to him personally by Mucha Sensei.
We have over 12 club training sessions – details of which you find under “Where to Find us” together with local contact details.
National Governing Body
This link shows the lineage of our style of Aikido as it was passed down from O Sensei: Sakura Dojo Lineage