Rising Sun Aikido Phil Benge talks to Enso Martial Arts

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Rising Sun AikidoMike @ Enso Martial Arts: So, thanks for talking to us Sensei Benge.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

No problem.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Obviously lots of students in the class tonight, all looking good.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes, usually we have a few more students but yes, still a good turnout.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: So my first question is, how did you get started in the martial arts?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Well I actually started with Judo originally when I was about 18 or 19, but it wasn’t really for me, I remember studying something in school regarding religion and Aikido came up even though Aikido is not a religion, so I decided to look up Aikido classes, found one in Hull and that was 35 years ago.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: 35 years ago, so that’s how long you’ve been training for.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes, that’s how long i’ve been training.

Rising Sun AikidoMike @ Enso Martial Arts: Excellent and what grade are you at the moment?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

I’m 4th dan.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: So why would you say you went with Aikido more than any other martial arts?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

It suited my temperament. Aikido was about relaxing, about being gentle, and not about hitting or striking which a lot of martial arts are.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Harmony.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes, harmony and it’s about using influence, aggression, keeping control of yourself. So if I learn to control me, then I can learn to control someone else.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Absolutely, so have you had any opportunities to train with other Sensei?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Over the years i’ve trained with many Sensei, my Sensei Alan Phillip who passed away in 1996, since then i’ve trained with Sensei Robert Mustard who is a 7th Dan, very well known in the Aikido world. And I’ve trained with Sensei Larbi who comes across from Belgium every 6 months and was here last week. But I suppose the most important one for me was, a few years ago, I trained with the Doshu who is the great grandson of O Sensei who created Aikido. So I managed to train with him and his son who will be the next Doshu in a few years time and that was great as it was almost touching the lineage of O Sensei.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: How was that experience? Quite rough or tough?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Oh no, it was a beautiful experience, it was very gentle and it was really good because it taught me that the stuff that I teach was actually very similar to what they were teaching.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Ah that’s good, so a good confirmation that you’re on the right track?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes and it’s making sure i don’t go off that track.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Excellent that’s great. So was this when you went to Japan?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Unfortunately i haven’t been to Japan, it’s one of the things I want to do and there’s so many other places to go. But everywhere I do travel, i’ve travelled to America many times, I always take a gi with me and train and find a club where i’m staying.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: A man prepared.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes, always a man prepared, definitely. So I haven’t been to Japan yet but it’s something to go to in the future.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: To aspire to, definitely. How would you say that Aikido differs from any other martial art?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

We are a pure self defence. Unlike a lot of martial arts that have got sports orientated now, we’re not sports orientated so we don’t kick, we don’t punch. Which is a big difference from other martial arts. We wait for them to attack us, so we won’t initiate an attack, we’ll always wait for them to attack us, we then take control of them. And it’s about learning to control me, and not get aggressive, so I can control someone else.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Absolutely. so there’s no competitions or anything like that.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Well there is a form of Aikido that does do competitions called Tomiki style but we don’t teach that and it’s not taught very much.

Rising Sun AikidoMike @ Enso Martial Arts: Ok, what would you say your greatest achievement or say, special moment is?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

I’d say my special moment was training with the Doshu and his son. It was just a great experience.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: I guess it doesn’t happen much to many people?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

No you don’t get to train with these people with all the Japanese and people from all over the world but we got the opportunity. And there were 800 people and I got chosen. So that would be my special moment. And my other special moment would be meeting Sensei Robert Mustard who graded me to 4th Dan back in 2007.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Tell us more about you club, what nights do you train?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

So we train here at The Campus, in Weston-Super-Mare on a Monday and Friday night, we teach adults from 7pm to 9pm. And on a Saturday morning, we teach around 130 children from 9.30am to 1pm.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Wow, that must be challenging, 130.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes, but we have a big team of people so that’s really good. So if people want to ring me, they can call me on 07786513973 or if people want to contact me through the website risingsunaikido.org.uk or they can put Aikido Weston-Super-Mare in and our club will come up.

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Is there an email address at all?

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Yes it’s sensei@risingsunaikido.org.uk

Mike @ Enso Martial Arts: Ok well this is Rising Sun Aikido, Sensei Philip Benge. Thanks for talking to us.

Phil at Rising Sun Aikido:

Thanks very much.

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