West Midlands Mayor Andy Street was quick on the draw when he joined in a community event in Yardley led by a popular martial arts group.

The Mayor eagerly took hold of a bokken – a hardwood samurai sword for beginners – and practised his first Iaido martial art moves in a workshop with members of Masamune Dojo at St Edburgh’s Parish Church Hall. Calling in on the first Mayor’s Community Weekend since the pandemic, Andy Street joined scores of local people in what amounted to one of the biggest demonstrations of togetherness and connection building across the region.

Masamune Dojo organised the afternoon of exciting activities that included martial arts demonstrations, arts and entertainment. People of all ages enjoyed taking part and getting to know each other better, with a delicious food and drink spread also provided all at no charge.

The not-for-profit group, which is affiliated with the British Kendo Association (BKA), has been serving Yardley for more than 35 years. It specialises in Iaido (the art of drawing the sword), Jodo (using a short staff), and Shinto Ryu, a combination of Karate, Aikido and Jujitsu.

Fay Goodman, Sensei at Masamune Dojo, expressed her delight at the event's success saying: "The event was a resounding success, driven by the unwavering spirit of our vibrant community. From Mayor Andy Street and various martial arts groups to our diverse audience of children and adults of all abilities and backgrounds, the Yardley community truly shone.

“We also highlighted our ongoing campaign to preserve Yardley’s Barrows Lane playing fields, receiving enthusiastic support from the audience. Our ten-year fight continues, and it was wonderful to see 85-year-old local activist Ann Parlett capture the Mayor’s attention.”

Fay added: “The martial arts demonstrations delivered an engaging and novel approach to addressing mental health and wellbeing challenges. The event underscored the importance of staying mentally and physically fit to confront life's daily trials.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, commented: “It was wonderful to spend some time at Birmingham’s very own Dojo where I joined in with the martial arts demonstrations for beginners. The fantastic work that Fay and her team do here is exactly what the Mayor’s Community Weekend is designed to celebrate.

“I look forward to seeing them continue to go from strength to strength in the months and years ahead.” The Mayor’s Community Weekend – a partnership between the West Midlands Mayor, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and The National Lottery Community Fund - promotes community-led activity across the West Midlands.

In a recent development, Masamune Dojo introduced "Shefuay", a free wellbeing course that includes martial arts, sports, and dance tailored for individuals with disabilities. The course, led by Sensei Fay Goodman, is held at the same venue.