In the beginning… Sensei Geoff Wheeler and Phil Erwin had just split from their old club and started Maru Aikido.
Maru is a Homonym in Japanese; the meaning that they intended was “circle”, but it also means “name” when applied to a ship. It tends to get used in the same way that we add HMS to the name of any Royal Navy vessel (Incidentally, I’ve just used Wikipedia, which tells me that Maru means perfection or purity, and is given as a suffix to ship names because it implies a safe, or round trip.)
Maru was a member of the Aikido Research Federation which was based in Staffordshire. However, over the years Sensei Wheler & Erwin decided that the next logical step was to form a federation – Maru Aikido had MMSU’s Aikido club has a sister club. Due to internal politics a disagreement emerged to be part of the ARF. Hence, a new federation was formed, which was called Jiyuu Renmei, which translated to “Freedom Federation”.
Geoff and Phil designed club badges, with a picture of Fuji-yama in the centre, the sun rising over the mountain, and the name of the Federation in a circle surrounding it. We wore these like Samurai mon, on the left upper arm of our best Gi. None of this is unusual for a martial arts club.
So, wind on time, several years later after the sad death of our Sensei Geoff Wheeler (thank you Geoff for all you have taught me, God Bless) I’ve started Aikido under the leadership of Sensei Terry Ezra Komyokan Dojo Birkenhead since 2001. (www.aikido.co.uk) Training with Sensei Ezra has been an exciting time for the club, my own Aikido has grown over the years under Sensei, his profound understanding of the art effects all who are lucky enough to train with him. I can only see the club improving in the future.