Latest information

2024 updates


Regular classes:


Thursday 7:15pm - 8:45pm (All levels)

Saturday 10:30am - 12:30pm (All levels)


Ashmoor Leisure Centre

(South Devon Community College)

Balland Lane

Ashburton TQ13 7EW





We run 6 week beginners courses in the new year.  The next begins on 4th January.  It is £40 for six Thursday evening classes (would normally be £48).


That should give you a chance to get used to the form of the practice; how to fall safely, how to move with good alignment and coordinate your movemnts to use the most powerful muscles first.  You will also learn the basic techniques and get used to practising the basic principles.



Courses coming up this year:


Pascal DURCHON (6th Dan Aikikai) 

February 24th and 25th 


Dimitri CRENIER (6th Dan Aikikai)

April 13th and 14th.


To be arranged - we hope to re-establish our week long course with Pascal in August 2024



Also - through our 'sister' club, Yokohama International Aikido Devon, there will also be a major event later this year - details to follow!






Rick Smaridge

(Godan - 5th degree Black Belt) with the International Aikido Federation

British Aikido Board Coach Level 1


Began Aikido in Autumn 1979 (with the Institute of Aikido).

Started training under Danny Gunn (student of Yamaguchi Sensei) in Autumn 1980.


Passed Aikikai Shodan 28th July 1986 by Minoru Kanetsuka (7th Dan Aikikai).

Passed Aikikai Nidan 31st July 1989 by Minoru Kanetsuka & Masatake Fujita (8th Dan Aikikai).

Passed Aikikai Sandan 20th February 1998 by Christian Tissier Shihan (8th Dan Aikikai).

Passed Aikikai Yondan 3rd March 2008 by Christian Tissier Shihan.

Awarded Aikikai Godan 1st January 2014 by Christian Tissier Shihan


In 1989, having graduated from Sussex University (BA Hons. Social Anthropology), created the Brighton Aikikai by combining the Aikido clubs of Sussex University and Brighton Polytechnic, and opening further clubs at the Brighton Natural Health Centre and SAMA Karate Club.  Full time Aikido instructor for 8 years.  Central to this was the regular (twice yearly) visits made to the club by Pascal Durchon (6th Dan Aikikai) and student of Christian Tissier Shihan (8th Dan Aikikai). 


Moved to the Isles of Scilly in 1997 and setup a club there.  Continued travelling to France to train with Christian Tissier Shihan and to Brighton for courses with Pascal Durchon.


Returned to the mainland in 2001, moved to Totnes, setup a club, and trained at various other clubs around Devon, as well as continuing the regular vistis to Brighton and Paris.


In 2005 visited Japan, trained intensively at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo.


In 2012 took over the running of the club that had been established at Ashmoor Leisure Centre, setting up the South Devon Aikikai and increasing the classes to three times a week; continuing the routine of visiting France for training with various Shihan and organising courses here for intensive training.


In 2013 the South Devon Aikikai was joined by Masakatsu Aikido (see links page)


In 2018 spent two months training in Japan at a number of different dojos including those run by Takimoto Shihan and Sawada Shihan but principly with Yoko Okamoto (7th Dan Aikikai) in Kyoto, as well as attending a weekend course run by Endo Shihan, who Rick has trained with many times in Paris.

Julien Briolon

(Nidan - 2nd Dan Aikikai with the International Aikido Federation)


I started practising Aikido in September 2007 while working in London. The first club I practiced with was the Walthamstow YMCA Aikido club (North London) under Sensei Mire Zloh (4th Dan Hombu Fukushidoin).

I eventually settled in south London in 2008 and joined the UCL Aikido club under Sensei Barbara Sotowicz (5th Dan Aikikai UKA Shidoin). It was a natural progression to train at this club. Both clubs are members of the UKA (United Kingdom Aikikai).

Barbara’s first Aikido teacher was Barry Hutchinson, the founder of the UCL Club. In addition to running the UCL Dojo, Barbara also studied with M. Kanetsuka at his Ryushinkan Dojo (British Aikido Federation) between 1983-1994, becoming an instructor at that Club in 1986.

I left the UCL club after five years, and joined Aikido Alive London with Sensei Bjorn Saw (5th Dan Aikikai), practicing a minimum of three times a week at this club since April 2013.

Bjorn Saw began training traditional Iwama takemusu Aikido in Sweden for Takeji Tomita Shihan, 7th Dan, in 1974. He received his Nidan (1993) from Saito Sensei in Iwama and subsequently opened his first Aikido school in Värmdö, Sweden. In September 2002 he founded Aikido Alive London where he teaches his own development of takemusu Aikido with a clear emphasis on incorporating spiritual understanding to the practice.

Recent changes in my professional development lead me to relocate in South Devon last August 2015. I now live in Plymouth and immediately joined the South Devon Aikikai club under Rick Smaridge (5th Dan Aikikai) who was kindly recommended by many.

The integration to the club was rapid as all students did their best to make feel as welcome as possible to which I will always be grateful.

Thanks to this support, I graded Nidan in November 2015 under Sensei Bjørn Eirik Olsen (7th Dan Aikikai Shihan).