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The 2018 IoA Summer School was held at Oatridge Agricultural College in Ecclesmachan, near Edinburgh. It ran from Saturday, 11th August to Saturday, 18th August under the direction of Sensei Lawson Moore and Sensei William Timms.

As a rather junior Kyu grade, I had mixed feelings about attending: although I have become exceedingly enthusiastic about all-things-Aikido and was keen to extend my knowledge and experience, I experienced some disquiet in wondering whether my current level of proficiency would be adequate to sustain me throughout the week.

Late last year, I had the good fortune to discover The Hut Dojo: the place, as I have learnt, where it all began for the IoA with Sensei Haydn Foster, who I never had the privilege to meet, but about whom I have heard so many extraordinary things.

Since joining the Hut Dojo, I have benefited from some outstanding tuition and guidance from my Sensei Tanith Barry, Sensei Paul Foster-Dent and of course, the redoubtable Tommy Tanner and all the Dan and Kyu grades who have been exceptionally generous with their time, knowledge and experience.

Sensei Tanith Barry and the other Dan grades had told me that I would really enjoy the week and not to worry that I was too junior to participate.

Tommy Tanner also said that many things would be heard and seen, some of which would resonate more for each participant than others – more of that later.


I arrived in Oatridge as Saturday’s afternoon class was coming to an end, was allocated my room and then joined the large and diverse group (Dan and Kyu grades from Dojos around England, Ireland and Scotland) for dinner.

The facilities and venue are ideal: with excellent accommodation (and good laundry facilities) and catering and just a short walk to the Dojo: one omission on my part, emphasised by the occasionally inclement Scottish weather, was the lack of appropriate footwear! 


There was also a common room for use in the evenings and this gave the welcome and valuable opportunity to start to get to know some colleagues from other Dojos.

What an astonishing and memorable week!

Written by Philip Spanos, 5th Kyu, The Hut

The stills below are taken from Tom Evan's video


Find out more about our Winter School for 2020

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