Aikido Cotswolds

Aikido Cotswolds is a group of Aikido enthusiasts who practise in the area around Bourton-on-the-Water.

We regularly have meetings, courses and classes, most often conducted by Rafael Ordóñez but sometimes also by other fellow and/or guest instructors. Rafael Ordóñez, a Spaniard married to an Englishwoman, is a Tokyo Aikikai 2nd dan and also a certified martial arts instructor as required by British regulations (references: Kai Shin Kai, British Aikido Board)


Rafael Ordóñez started in Aikido as a student under instructor José Ribas (“Pepe” Ribas) at the Dojo Loky Ryu in the village of Santa Eulalia, in the Spanish island of Ibiza, in year 1999. After a first phase learning under José Ribas, he eventually got more involved with Aikido and in 2005 continued his practise under José Morato (“Pepe” Morato), instructor at the Dojo Torres in the village of San Antonio, island of Ibiza.

Both instructors José Ribas and José Morato were in those times 4th dan of the Tokyo Aikikai, having started together their practise of Aikido almost thirty years before under Marcel Boffin at the Dojo Los Molinos in Ibiza town.

Aikido was first introduced in Spain in 1963, when two Belgian instructors, Marcel Boffin and Julien Naessens, who were students of master Masamichi Noro (1935-2013), were invited to the dojo of Manuel Palacios in the city of Santander in northern Spain. Although at first the practise of our martial art got prohibited by general Franco's government, in 1968 Aikido was legalised and adopted as a branch of the Spanish Judo Federation.

By chance, later in the sixties (1966), Marcel Boffin (1941-), went to the island of Ibiza to work in the building industry. He was a black belt (2nd dan at that time, currently 6th dan) and instructor in several martial arts. Soon he settled down on the island and started teaching martial arts (Karate, Judo, Aikido) in Ibiza where with Manuel Doncel he founded the Dojo Los Molinos in 1972. For a long time he was the main (if not the only) Aikido instructor on the island, and during this time several high-rank Aikido masters, Japanese and non-Japanese, came to Ibiza and gave courses.

Grandmaster Morihei Ueshiba. Behind him, master Tsuda.

Of those, master Itsuo Tsuda (1914-1984) was the one who had the most influence on José Ribas and José Morato. He was not the highest rank that came to Ibiza, but he was a 4th dan directly awarded by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), the founder of Aikido, and also had been a direct student of master Haruchika Noguchi (1911-1976), the founder of Seitai. He had a seemingly chaotic way of teaching, aiming to have his teachings understood rather by the body of the student than by the mind. He went to Ibiza several times a year, over a period of seven years, and opened the path that José Ribas and José Morato were to follow.

Hikitsuchi sensei
demonstrating Tai No Henko.
Uke: Gérard Blaize.

In May 1995, master Michio Hikitsuchi (1923-2004), 10th dan, the highest rank ever awarded by the founder himself, conducted the “First International Aikido Congress”, in the village of Calvià, island of Mallorca. José Morato had the opportunity to attend to that congress, and a major change took place in his career as an aikidoka. It suddenly got clear to him that he must follow the teachings of master Hikitsuchi at once, and quit from practising under Marcel Boffin and sensei Yasunari Kitaura (1937-, currently 8th dan), even if that meant breaking ties with his friends and fellow aikidokas in Ibiza.

José Morato, together with José Ribas and a group of Ibizan “renegades”, established a new relationship with master Gérard Blaize (1946-, currently 7th dan), the highest-ranked student and representative of master Hikitsuchi in Europe, and started out as instructors conducting their own Aikido training sessions in Santa Eulalia and San José (José Ribas) and San Antonio (José Morato), under the supervision of master Gérard Blaize who since then gives courses in the Balearic Islands twice a year.

In June 2009, José Ribas and José Morato both got their 5th dan awarded by master Gérard Blaize.

Rafael Ordóñez travels frequently to Ibiza, to practise with his former instructor José Morato and the friends he left there, and to Paris, to continue studying and improving his Aikido with master Gérard Blaize.

About this web site

This web site was developed in the summer of 2013 by Antonio Ribas Bamberger in San Antonio, Ibiza, at the request of Rafael Ordóñez, and finally launched online on 12th September 2013.