The Northern Rivers region today is something of a melting pot of aikido. This is largely due to the influence of Michael Williams, who created a full time dojo in Byron Bay called Goshinkan in the late 1980s. It was the Australian headquarters for the Ki Society for many years, and then became the international headquarters for Aikido Yuishinkai. The founders of Great Ocean Aikido spent many years at Goshinkan, learning from Williams Sensei and the many international teachers he brought to Byron Bay.
Jim Nicholls is our leader in building open and inclusive communities that work for the benefit and empowerment of others. Jim holds dan grades from three styles of aikido and has organised numerous seminars over the last 20 years.
Jim was for many years a student of Fuji Ryu Aikido in Hobart. After moving to Byron Bay in the early 1990s he came to be the senior student of Michael Williams at the legendary Goshinkan dojo and for some years the head instructor at Goshinkan. He attained the rank of 7th dan prior to the closure of Goshinkan dojo. He was therefore a mentor to many students coming up through both Ki Society Aikido and later Aikido Yuishinkai.
Today he runs Aikido Alstonville dojo in the hills behind Byron pursuing the practices of Great Ocean Aikido, a new practice of aikido informed by western science and modern combatives.
Another notable aikido nexus on the NSW North Coast is Lismore, where Andrew Sunter Sensei began his Aikido Ki Society journey with Rudran Brannock in 1992 in a warehouse by the railway line. From 1994 to 1995, while also training at Goshinkan, Andrew acted as senior student for Margaret Hassett who set up a Lismore dojo initially at the City Hall, later moving to Lismore ACE.
The vibrant Lismore aikido scene today includes Aikido Kokikai, Aiki Kai and the Kufudokan (which originated in Sydney and coincidentally is where Sunter Sensei was an uchideshi for a couple of years, after he had spent time in Japan).