|ADS Coach Profiles|
The following section introduces the instructors
currently coaching within the ADS.
|Stephen Billett||Ann Billett||Don Bishop||Steve Sharpe|
First up is Stephen Billett who currently coaches at the David
Lloyd and Winchmore Hill clubs.
Steve has been involved in martial arts for nearly 30yrs, including a very successful
competitive career in international Judo competition.
Steve is 4th Dan Aikido and Judo and 1st Dan Jujutsu.
I started training in martial arts during my 16th year, a late starter many people pointed out, although I had previously been quite a successful gymnast and canoeist. Judo became my first martial art. I was very lucky to be trained by Leslie Agess one of the first women European champions in judo. My first contest was within weeks of starting and fought against a team from a school for the blind in the British Schools Judo Open.
From that day onwards I learned never to underestimate an opponent, as they had superior skills and I was lucky to win these contests.
During the mid to late 70's my Judo lead me
onward to become the IBF European Champion several times at both 63 & 65 Kilos.
Around this time I was introduced to Don Bishop 7th Dan ADS ( Tomiki Aikido)
and began to practice Aikido, mainly for fun, but with Don's help to also improve
my contest Judo by using some of the allowable Aikido techniques.
I have always felt that if you take from a sport then you should also give something back; I therefore started to teach Judo (now for over 25 years) to both adults and children, achieving some success, bringing a few pupils through to international level.
One of my most enjoyable times was training the local school children in Enfield for the London Youth Games Judo squad. They turned out to be possibly my most successful overall squad, gaining around 60 medals in 3 games.
My Aikido career now ran in parallel with my Judo, both in teaching and contest. My first Aikido Dan grade was awarded by the Belgian Tomiki Aikido Association in 1976 when I competed in a Tanto Randori competition that was run during the break of the Belgian Judo Open. I entered for fun and due to Don's superior coaching won the event ( I subsequently carried on to win the Judo event as well).
I was a 2nd Kyu under Don at that time and decided to wait until he awarded my 'proper home grown' 1st Dan. Training in Japan has illustrated to me that there is more to martial arts that just competition and it was this that motivated me to begin teaching Aikido. Currently I have 2 Dojo's in North East London (See Club Info).
Aikido has now overtaken Judo as my first martial art with its requirements for skill rather that strength being more appropriate these days....
Ann Billett 2nd Dan
Ann Billett has practised aerobics and martial arts for over 19 years and was Judo Coach for several years for Enfield Girls Judo team for the London Youth Games. Ann has practised Aikido for over 13 years and is now an 2nd Dan Aikido instructor at the Winchmore Hill and David Lloyd clubs. She as you may have guessed is married to Steve Billett.
I first started martial arts in October 1983 at University because I thought that I needed to defend myself coming to London from Devon and imagining that the city was a very dangerous place. Judo was my first choice of martial art and was also how I met my future husband.
I then spent a number of years practising at City University, Stumphouse Judo Club and Croyland Road Judo Club and teaching Judo at Winchmore Hill - London Borough of Enfield, and the Mornington Crescent and Sacred Heart Judo Clubs at Kings Cross to kids from 6 to 16 years old. Our finest hours came taking coach loads of kids to shout for their team mates in the London Youth Games where over 60 medals were won for Enfield in over 3 successive Youth games at Crystal Palace.
I was introduced to Tomiki Aikido in the mid eighties by Don Bishop (7th Dan ADS) and Steve Sharpe (6th Dan ADS) and have never looked back. On the way to finally achieving my 1st Dan at Aikido in December 1996, I trained and leant a lot at several Aikido clubs - Whittingham, Hayden’s Gym, David Lloyd Chigwell and Winchmore Hill, and enjoyed both teaching Aikido and participating in several charity events – British Aerospace Cheshire Homes open days, Enfield Town show, Kids sports development in inner London, Hayden’s Gym open day to name a few.
In nineties I also found time to gain both my British Aikido Board Coaching Award and my RSA Aerobics Instructors Certificate teaching Aikido in the evenings and a few aerobics classes at lunchtimes at British Aerospace, Hatfield.
Being vertically challenged (short in plain English) and female I have found Aikido to be the perfect martial art for me. For me the true skill is to know and understand my limitations and to watch for the mistake in my opponents’ moves, using their power and speed against them, timing the perfect move. I enjoy weapons as well as hand to hand combat and I always enjoy a good drink in the bar afterwards with my friends.
I have learnt through many happy, sweaty hours of training and supporting martial arts about personal challenge both physical and mental, true comradeship and the joy of teaching others.
Don Bishop 7th Dan
Don Bishop has practised Aikido for more than 40 years and has been teaching for at least 30 years. He has introduced many people to the sport and created a sound system of teaching which finally developed in the the Aikido Development Society. During the mid seventies Don started a club in Waltham Abbey sports centre which created many of our associations club coaches along with most of the current senior grades. His devotion to the art has caused him to open clubs in various parts of London along with a early friend Amhed Saheed. Don's latest venture (December 2003) is a new club in Debden Essex which is close to his home. As our associations principal coach Don will be seen visiting other clubs especially the David Lloyd Chigwell where he continues to impart his substantial knowledge to Ann & Steve Billett and the rest the club members.
Photo taken from the centre fold of Combat Magazine circa 1960
Steve Sharpe 6th Dan
Steve Sharpe has practised Aikido for more than 30 years and has been teaching for at least 20 years. He first started in the mid seventies at Don Bishops club in Waltham Abbey sports centre along with a group of friends that included Keith Burton 2nd Dan Aikido & Jujitsu and subsequently Steve Billett. From this early start Steve Sharpe has been Don's closest pupil an can normally be found where Don is teaching (currently PathFinder - Debden), although he is also regular visitor to David Lloyd Chigwell Club . Amongst the original group Steve has been the most constant practitioner until recent times when injury has slowed him down a little.