Sensei Quentin Cooke, 7th Dan
I began to practice aikido in 1984, within the Ki Society of Great Britain, which was linked to Tohei Sensei, but was headed up in this country by Sensei Kenneth Williams, who was one of the original practioners of aikido in this country under Abbe Sensei. Sensei Williams eventually broke away and founded the Ki Federation of Great Britain, which I stayed with until 2000 having reached the rank of 4th dan.
At that point, being the creative art it is, I found that my own path required me to break away and explore new paths. I joined Sensei Denis Burke ( a former assistant of Sensei Williams) and my brother Sensei Piers Cooke, who had founded the Isshinkai Association, which whilst in style was still principally based in Ki Aikido, allowed for a less conventional approach within the organisational structure. (I believe that if Aikido is for Daily Life, that our experience on the mat should match our experience off it and that therefore the rather rigid structures of a traditional Japanese organisation is not something we should seek to replicate).
In 2004, we affiliated to the Aikido Yuishinkai International under Maruyama Sensei, who encourages people to celebrate what we share rather than seek to emphasise our differences, (There are many ways up the mountain). He promoted me to the rank of 5th dan. In 2011, Maruyama Sensei awarded me the grade of 7th dan. I can only say that this massive promotion is a great honour and that I shall do my best to live up to it.
My brother and I founded Aikido for Daily Life in 2004, which is affiliated to Yuishinkai International under the guidance and teaching of Sensei Koretoshi Maruyama, (www.aikidoyuishinkai.com/) , one of the founders original students. We chose our name carefully to reflect what we felt aikido is really about and have structured the group to be democratic and not hierarchical, to better reflect the culture in which we work.
I love my practice and study of aikido and believe it to be a powerful tool for improving the world we live in and my desire is to share it with as many people as I can.