The Manchester Aikido club (Wa Go Kan dojo) was formed in 1972 and was based at Manchester prison under the direction of Senseis Tony & Sandra Drinkwater. Both Tony & Sandra were Shodan with the then Aikikai of Great Britain, (now the British Aikido Federation) under the leadership of Chiba Shihan. In the late 1970′s the club moved to St.Josephs church hall under the direction of sensei Mark Binns (Nidan) and was affiliated to the British Aikido Federation (BAF) under the direction of the late and greatly missed, Minoru Kanetsuka shihan.
In 1989 the club moved to the Gorse Hill Youth Centre, Cavendish Road, Stretford, Manchester under the direction of David Yates (6th dan) and Paul Healy (3rd dan). The club thrived in the early part of the 21st century with valuable contributions made by Martyn Hamer sensei (1st Dan) and Simon McAsey sensei (3rd dan) who were both instrumental in taking the club forward during a period when the number of members was considerably less than it is today. In 2008 the club moved to it’s present “home” at St Matthews church social club, Chapel Lane , Stretford.
It continues to flourish as the only Aikido dojo in Greater Manchester that is affiliated to the B.A.F., which was, until the sad passing of Kanetsuka sensei on 8th March 2019 the only Aikido federation in the U.K. to have a Japanese Shihan appointed to it from the Aikido Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan, and is also the only organisation in England and Wales to be affiliated to the European Aikido Federation and the International Aikido Federation.
The Wa Go Kan dojo has been under the leadership of Sensei David Yates 6th Dan (Shidoin and member of the Technical and Grading Committee of the British Aikido Federation) since the 1980′s who has been practising for over 48 years. The club has a number of dan grade members (Robert Yates 5th Dan (shidoin with the British Aikido Federation with 45 years training behind him), Caroline Smith 4th Dan (fukushidoin with the British Aikido Federation), Phil Hadfield 3rd Dan, Kushan Kulatunga 2nd Dan, Marsha Balaeva 3rd Dan, Phil Redfern 2nd Dan, Nigel Kay 2nd Dan, Marcin Filip 2nd Dan, Umar Saleem 2nd Dan, Lorraine Gomez 1st Dan and John Alarcon 1st Dan) together with various level kyu-grade students.
Recently the club has witnessed a considerable growth in membership and continues to welcome new members of all ages and abilities.