The Manchester Aikido club (Wa Go Kan dojo) was formed in 1970 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 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 (2nd 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 is the only Aikido federation in the U.K. to have a Japanese Shihan appointed to it by the Aikido Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan, and is also the only organisation in England and Wales to be affiliated to 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 and has been practising for over 45 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 3rd Dan, Phil Hadfield 3rd Dan, Kushan Kulatunga 2nd Dan, Marsha Balaeva 2nd Dan, Phil Redfern 1st Dan, Nigel Kay 1st Dan, Marcin Filip 1st Dan and Umar Saleem 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.