Club Sensei – Aikido Goshinkai Tweed Heads
All Club Sensei are fully qualified and professional instructors in the art of Aikido.
Our instructors follow strict guidelines and consider safety on the mat a key priority, as such the instructors expect students view and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.
All Sensei have working with children and follow the club’s child protection policy.
Sensei Mark Albrecht
Founder, Head Dojo Instructor & Regular Class Sensei of Tweed Heads Aikido Goshinkai Dojo
Previous studies –
When I was a young boy I studied Judo for 2 years, later on I studied Karate for 8 years in large part with James Chong Sensei. In 2003 I started training in Ju-Jitsu with Ron Bartley Sensei and Bob Liedke Sensei for 5 years. Over lapping my Ju-Jitsu and Aikido training I was also a volunteer Lifesaver at Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club. I took opportunities to visit other martial arts dojos and look into many other forms during this time and was exposed to many forms of training. I was a serious student training up to six days a week at times in my life. I learned much during these studies and had excellent Sensei that opened my mind to where I wanted my studies to lead.
Although during my early studies I did not know what I was looking for had a name, over years of further studies I was able to give my search a name Budo. With this realisation of what I was in searching for was Budo related my journey continued…
I nearly started training in Aikido when I started my Ju-Jitsu studies, ultimately I decided at that time that Ju-Jitsu was the founding art of all Japanese martial arts and so, I decided, that I may find what I was looking for in the founding art. While these studies were insightful and interesting in hindsight I would consider this same decision differently now. I will use this parable to explain – I like driving cars, while it would be interesting to have a drive in a Model T Ford I would not want to drive one every day, I like the refinement of the modern car.
Aikido awakening –
While the other arts I had studied were considered Budo arts I felt a level of conflict within other studies and was constantly drawn into the parts of those studies that touched on what I later found to be Aikido studies.
In 2008 I was introduced to Aikido and understood this was what I had been looking for. In Aikido I found purity of what I was seeking without conflicting ideas that had concerned me about my other studies.
Since starting to study Aikido I have been very fortunate in being a long term student of Michael Williams Sensei, Elisabeth Andel Sensei, Mark Evans Sensei, Bob Liedke Sensei and Travis Liedke Sensei. I will be forever grateful for their instruction, insights and patience. See also the Club History for further information.
A message to Aikido students (new and old) –
Aikido is many things to many people. People are drawn to Aikido for one reason or another, though Aikido practice as students lets go of “fighting mind” and they adopt “beginner’s mind” their understanding grows as does their reasons for why they study Aikido.
Mark Albrecht Sensei
A journey shared –
When a student considers Aikido; their path appears,
When a student has beginner’s mind; their path is a wonderland,
When a student contemplates and adopts the insights of their Sensei; their path becomes productive with meaningful insight,
When a student lets go of fighting mind; their path becomes positive path to relaxation,
When a student relaxes; their path leads to self victory,
When a student harmonises; their path becomes inspirational,
When a student is extending Ki; their path becomes more than ones physical self,
When a student lives Budo; their path becomes a path to oneness,
When a student unifies their mind, body and spirit; their path becomes a path to enlightenment.
by Mark Albrecht Sensei
Sensei Gary Simpson
I studied Judo, Ju Jitsu and Boxing in my youth. In my twenties I studied Tai Chi, some Chi Kung and a Daoist style of Martial Arts. I had a long hiatus from Martial Arts training until 1999 when in my work with boys and youth at risk I came upon a program from the Netherlands called Rock & Water. A psycho-social skills program for boys that combined the key principles of Aikido and Tai Chi. I was fortunate to meet the founder of this program, Freerk Ykema, and supported him with the promotion and presentation of Rock and Water in Queensland between 2000 and 2002.
This re-sparked my interest in Martial Arts and as Rock and Water was primarily based on the principles of Aikido I became curious about this almost magical Martial Art. In 2009 I started training at the Goshinkan Dojo in Byron Bay with Elisabeth Andel Sensei and Jim Nichols Sensei. When Michael Williams Sensei returned to Australia in 2010 I began training with him. I joined the South Tweed Dojo in January 2016 and have trained with Mark Evans Sensei and Mark Albrecht Sensei.
“The Ki of the Universe has never for a moment stopped moving. We call this continuous growth and development.”
Koichi Tohei Sensei
Sensei Russell O’Connor
I have spent over 20 years in the field of martial arts and as I have become more passionately involved in the training and expanding my knowledge of the “budo spirit” and Japanese martial culture I recognise it as an effective way to build our physical, emotional and physiological strength.
I trained in my late 20’s to my mid 40’s in Karate and achieved Shodan level, qualified as an instructor and sports coach, under the founder of Goshin Ryu Karate, Sensei Richard Bradford for 15+ years.
Upon changes in work situation and some ongoing injuries I retired from Karate in my late 40’s and “enjoyed” more relaxing past times. It was a couple of years into my retirement from teaching that I realised that I had really missed the physical, mental and emotional grounding that training in the martial arts had contributed to my life and so at the age of 63 I went seeking a new challenge. I tried Karate again but found the aggressive winner / loser challenge of kumite no longer did it for me and so I continued to seek out an alternative – AIKIDO. The non competitive art of blending and utilising the innate energy of the attacker to defend oneself and not necessarily “taking out the aggressor” made so much more sense in a society rife with physical, mental and emotional aggression.
The chance to train with so many kindred spirits including Michael Williams Sensei and founder of Aikido Goshinkai, Elisabeth Andel Sensei, Mark Evans Sensei and Mark Albrecht Sensei has broadened my knowledge and understanding in ways that constantly amaze me.
One of the early enlightening Aikido learning situations has been the opportunity to train extensively with Carl Albrecht Sensei and Blake Albrecht Sensei who I had only previously met when they were pupils at the local primary school at which I worked – the teacher had become the student and student the teacher – the Aikido circle closing.
The opportunity to train regularly with incredibly talented and inspiring instructors from the local regional, the country and even internationally based dojos is unique and sets the perfect platform for my Aikido journey.