Kannon Aikido Club

A friendly aikido club in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

zafu and katana

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a martial art from Japan which uses body movement, throws, and joint locks.

happy students


Monday evening 7pm-9pm

Class is for over 18s but some younger students are permitted depending on their maturity and attitude.
People with disabilities are welcome.


Beginners or other interested people are welcome to just turn up and have a chat. If you want to train you should expect to remove all jewelery and train in bare feet. Any sports clothes that allow free movement are suitable. Insurance costs £20 per year and is payable to the Aikido Research Federation. Classes cost £10 for the two hour session or £5 for people who are unwaged. Nobody gets paid for teaching or running the club. All money raised goes towards the hall rental. Gradings are free and first class is free.


Aikido is more than simply a method of self-defence. Everything in Aikido training is meant to develop not only a strong individual, but one with the wisdom and energy to positively benefit society. A mature aikido student views conflict not as a contest with others, but as an opportunity to forge oneself and overcome our true enemies, which are within. Such training takes time and patience.


The teacher is called Sensei. Our Sensei, Catherine Riddoch, has been practicing aikido for 22 years, holds the grade of Sandan (3rd Dan) and is a level 2 British Aikido Board coach. Sensei trained in other styles of aikido until December 2009 when she began practicing Iwama style. In our classes you will find a variety of influences and an appreciation of the broad range of styles practiced in aikido.


Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba, known as O Sensei, in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. He developed the art from his extensive knowledge of other older arts including Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu and judo. One of his most dedicated students was Morihiro Saito Sensei who ran the Iwama dojo and organised the founders teaching into a system now called Iwama style. This style includes a lot of weapons training.

Masakatsu, Agatsu: “True victory is self-victory.”

Morihei Ueshiba

Why aikido?

Martial arts are not only for use during conflict, but as a system for the refinement and development of the character.
Qualities such as courage, decisiveness, strength, clarity of mind and compassion are developed by regular training.

Aikido training develops physical fitness, flexibility, and relaxation. We don't specifically train to develop strength so you won't find any press-ups in our classes but vigourous training, especially responding to the techniques and falling, does lead to the development of good physical condition. Rather than stressing and tensing only a few muscles, you learn to relax and move from the center of your body, where you are most powerful.
Aikido training requires the student to face conflict and provide a suitable response to it. Common reactions of turning or running away or responding in anger are reduced over time. The tense, defensive reactions to pressure and conflict are challenged as a character that is straightforward and brave yet humble is developed.

We won't teach you how to fight!

Aikido is rubbish for fighting and sports such as MMA would be a much better choice if this is your goal.

We practice self-defence as a part of our training and once skills have been developed we do practice robustly and under pressure. Such training is useful if you need to defend yourself. Since we train to use the whole body aikido is well suited to smaller or weaker people.

In Japan aikido is taught to the elite Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police and Secret Police. This is probably because aikido techniques can be applied at varying levels of severity, in a continuum from the most gentle controlling techniques to the most severe countermeasures.

Aikido is therefore ideal for a wide range of defensive situations,including law-enforcement, medical or mental-health environments as well as general self-defence.

Aikido on the internet

There's a lot of aikido on the internet. Not all of it represents the type of training we do. Sensei has been on training mats when people have been broken physically and mentally and this is not the type of training we do either! We teach respect for each other and train at a level suitable for beginners whilst working towards more robust aplications.

Email Sensei


Whilst exploring a range of styles, the club follows an Iwama syllabus for grading purposes. Sensei's current teacher is Richard Thomson Sensei at Allander Aikido Club, Glasgow.

Members of the club are required to join the Aikido Research Federation and encouraged to travel annually to their national Seminar in Rugeley. The Aikido Research Federation provide a wealth of experience and support for our club.

Insurance is from the British Aikido Board and all their policies and procedures are maintained.

Where We Train

The Practice Hall,
Banchory Academy,
AB31 5TQ