I started training in Aikido in 1987 while living and working in Zurich at the Dojo of Roland Spitzbarth, after returing to Ireland in 1989, I trained at the Gyo fu kan Dojo of John Rodgers in Dublin.
In 1994 I had the great good luck to have the possibility to train on a regular basis with Shihan Masatomi Ikeda sensei 7th Dan at his Dojo in Zurich.This continued until 2001, when due to health reasons he retired from the Aikido world and eventually in 2003 returned to live in Japan. Although having studied Aikido since 1987, the meeting of Ikeda sensei was a major turning point and revelation. Since the departure of Ikeda sensei, I have been greatly influenced by Michele Quaranta 6th Dan who for more than twenty years was the constant travelling companion and uke of Ikeda sensei. Also of influnece has been the constant contact with Francesco Marella 6th Dan also a long time student of Ikeda sensei. My teaching experience started in 1998 at the Dojo of Ikeda Sensei in Zurich. I have also taught regular Aikido classes at the School for the blind in Zurich. I have been invited to give Aikido courses, for the Aikikai Ireland organisation, as part of the technical commission of this organisation and also for other independent Dojos. I am a member and also the technical secretary of Aikikai Ireland.
Joe McHugh 5th Dan Aikikai