The Clydebank Aikido Club was started in June 1983 by Derek Lawson. Derek was a student of Sensei Richard Thomson who practised at the Allander Sports Centre. Derek, a 2nd Kyu (blue belt) at the time, was keen to get some extra Aikido practice, so the Clydebank class was started at the Hub Community Education Centre where it is still run today.
Around 1985 Derek Lawson had to go to America to complete air time & continue his studies for his pilots licence.
It was agreed Derek Thomson would continue running the class. It was either that or the class would have to close down. Rather reluctantly, Derek, an 18 or 19 years old 3rd Kyu (green belt) at the time, & with only about 2½ years Aikido practice proceeded with the task of running the Clydebank Aikido class with the Aikido philosophy & values inherited from Derek Lawson.
Derek Thomson’s younger brother Richard Thomson had also started to practice Aikido in October 1983. Richard was 11 years old when he started. During the time of the class handover to his brother Derek, Richard had obtained the grade of 4th Kyu (orange belt) and was the second most experienced practitioner at Clydebank. At this time, Richard was still considered a junior grade because of his age.
After a period of hard training the club experienced many high and lows. The highs being a good core of keen eager students who wanted to practice Aikido. The lows being little or no support from the Aikido Institute directly, or from any of the surrounding Aikido clubs who were also affiliated to the institute and had Dan grade Instructors.
It was during one of the dramatic lows that Derek approached his brother Richard and spoke of his intentions to close the Clydebank Aikido class. He felt isolated, and at that time, the pressure from running the class was clouding his personal feelings and love of Aikido. Richard urged Derek to continue running the class as normal, focusing on the vigorous Aikido and individual expression through practice that had been installed by their own instructor Derek Lawson.
As their Aikido evolved Derek & Richard established a friendship with Mark Ewing, who at the time was a student at the Allander Aikido class. Mark would visit the Clydebank class as regularly as he could as he enjoyed the enthusiastic and energetic approach the Clydebank class had for Aikido training.
Derek, Richard & Mark were members of the Institute of Aikido during this period. As they practised, visiting other clubs and attending courses they felt that the paths of Aikido were not being fully explored. Derek, Richard & Mark were 1st Kyu (brown belts) at this time.
Mark approached Derek & Richard at the end of 1988 with a view joining the Clydebank Aikido Club and practising Aikido without any Institute or Organisation boundaries.
This led the trio to break away from the Institute of Aikido, and at the beginning of 1989 started training at Clydebank as an independent Aikido class.
Since the events of 1989, the Aikido at Clydebank has changed dramatically. It has developed from a Traditional Aikido background to a more Ki based form of Aikido. The Aikido practised is not purely Ki Aikido but an amalgamation of different Aikido styles, experiences and knowledge of martial arts forged into an expression of the Aikido path the trio sought.
In November of 2008 Mark, Derek and Richard obtained the Grade of 2nd Dan.
We hope Aikido at Clydebank continues for a long time to come and that the people who train at the Clydebank Aikido dojo enjoy the long adventure and enlightenment that lies ahead of them.