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Kurai History

Originally the EYJ School of Aikido, the Club was established in January 1975 by Sensei Bill McGovern, 3rd dan, at the EYJ Martial Arts Centre, Sudbury Hill, Middx. The nucleus of the club included students who had trained for some years at 'The Hut' West Drayton, (Institute of Aikido) and who moved to form an independent club.

The EYJ Martial Arts Centre was a flourishing purpose built dojo offering training in a range of martial arts and where all disciplines treated the other arts with respect. This provided the opportunity for many joint displays and regular discussions exploring the similarity of techniques.

In 1980 Sensei McGovern handed over the day running to his two senior instructors Senei Roy Sheppard and Sensei Geoff Morgan and they were given full autonomy in 1982.

Sensei Sheppard subsequently became Chief Instructor and also Chairman of the Martial Arts Centre, a position he held for some 15 years. During this time the Centre grew in popularity and offered a wide range of Japanese, Chinese and Korean martial arts, all practicing in harmony. These included, Judo, Aikido, Karate, Tai-Chi, Wu-Shu, Kung Fu, Tae Kwan Do, Ninjutsu and Shorinji Kempo with regular visits from a wide group of international instructors. In 1984 the club was re-named the Kurai Aikido Club

Although operating as an independent organisation, members of Kurai were free to train at other clubs, and students practiced all over the world, including the Honbu (Japan), Australia and America. Members from other styles have always been made very welcome.

The EYJ Martial Arts Centre was located within the grounds of a large local authority sports complex and sadly in 1997 the Centre finally lost its long running battle with the Council over the re-development of the site for commercial purposes. Fortunately Kurai, together with several of the other martial arts were able to re-locate to the Yeading Community Centre, in Hayes, Middx, which is now their main Dojo.

In early 2000 Kurai considered that the time was right to forge new links within the Aikido fraternity and became affiliated to the UK Shinwakai Aikido, a member of the British Aikido Board.

In March 2003 Kurai were honoured by Sensei Leslie White 6th Dan agreeing to become its Patron. Sensei White is one of the few instructors, still practicing, to hold a dan grade personally signed by O'Sensei, the founder of Aikido.

On 29th October 2005, Kurai celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a major course, at the Wycombe Judo Centre, which included 9 senior instructors in Traditional, Yoshinkan and Tomiki styles, plus a demonstration of Wado Kai Karate by Sensei Tony Heap 7th Dan and a demonstration by Shihan Chris Roworth 10th dan, Bunjinkan which focused on the roots of Aikido.

In 2010 an equally successful course was held to celebrate Sensei Sheppard's 40 years in Aikido. Sensei Sheppard was honoured that Sensei Haydn Foster 7th Dan was one of the guest instructors, though sadly this was to be Sensei Foster's last formal course before he passed away.

Reflcting the continued growth in size and role of Kurai the organisation was re-named Kurai Aikido in 2005.

In addition it now has dojos in Essex and Hertfordshire.