Shodokan Invicta began in 1999, in an old converted church on East Street, Tonbridge. It was the dream of Lee Banda to open a cross training centre bringing together instructors from across a range of different Martial Arts. It just so happened that Di Buckley (then a 1st dan) was working about 50 yards up the road and introduced himself as an aikido instructor. In June 2003 the club moved to Vale Royal Church Hall in Tunbridge Wells, under the guidance of James Burman and later Imogen Burman, and prospered here for many years. When the church began undergoing renovation in 2016, we moved to St Mark’s School in Ramslye Road, and changed our name to Shodokan Invicta.
Shodokan Invicta is part of a national and international family of Shodokan Aikido clubs, and we have particularly close links to our sister clubs in Brighton and south and central London. Our instructors and club members regularly attend competitions and seminars elsewhere in the UK and overseas. As a club, our goal is to closely follow the teachings of Nariyama Shihan, and to that end our instructors make regular visits to the Shodokan Hombu in Japan.
We welcome all teens and adults to the club (our instructors are fully DBS-checked). Aikido is truly a sport for all – you don’t need a high level of fitness to get started, or to be physically powerful – just the willingness to try something new. Aikido is not an easy martial art to learn and master, but it will not be long before the pieces begin to fall into place and you have your first glimpses of the power and magic of a correctly timed technique. Your training will rapidly build fitness, improve posture and develop your reaction speed, alertness and body awareness. Many people come to us initially in search of a practical means of self defence, but aikido is so much more than this. Those of us who have been training for a couple of decades or more are still finding new insights into even the simplest techniques, every time we step onto the mat.