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after successful 4th Dan examination with Vanda Fairchild Sensei, Pam and Jer

I am looking forward to walking up the stairs of Belgard Community Centre on Tuesday night for my first class as a 4th Dan beginner, just like I did 20 years ago.

I achieved my goal of successfully grading to 4th Dan Tomiki Aikido on Sunday. The great thing about preparing for gradings/ competitions is that it motivates you to train harder and smarter.

During the course of the weekend I was reminded of how much more I have to learn and how little I understand about the martial art of Aikido that I truly love. It is time for me to revisit everything that I think I know and it is also my responsibility to deepen my understanding and technical knowledge/ application of the basic techniques.

I have made so many friends since starting my aiki career and I have learned so much from all of the people I have had the privilege to train with. I will forever be thankful to Karl Higgins, Stuart O' Moore, Dave Norris and Colm Boyle (r.i.p) for their endless patience with an awkward, stiff, difficult to teach teenager that walked into Tallaght Tomiki Aikido Ryu all those years ago.

I would like to thank all of our club members for their encouragement and support over the last few months. I owe a special mention to the very talented duo of Pamela Dempsey and Von Ryan for being superb uke's and for putting their bodies on the line week in week out so that I could prepare for the grading.

Finally, thank you to all of the coaches/ instructors that have helped to deepen my understanding, knowledge and application of techniques, kata and freeplay at different stages of my journey.

Keith McClean

martial arts classes aikido dublin

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