A blog with some news, reports and articles from the Aikido community around the world.
Edited by Lawrence Warry & Ze'ev Erlich

Monday, November 10, 2014

October - December 2014

1. Editorial
It's been quite an active new season, hardly leaving me time to update this blog. This can only be a good sign for the activities surrounding this little Aikido world have been vibrant and enriching for all participants.

Of particular note, since September, there has been a surge of interest from the public concerning the new Monday Aikido practices at the Grote Pyr in The Hague, I've been quite busy teaching Aikido minimum 6 times per week, and, have been also occupied with bringing another production of the Samurai Game® to The Hague at the beginning of November. 

Some words about these activities here-below.
In this edition, I also provide an update of where Yamashima sensei will be hanging out in November, and, I have something to report about a recent lesson I was invited to teach at The Hagukumi dojo, where I emphasised the need to practice Henka waza (changing of technique) and Kaeshi waza (uke taking over technique from tori).

Do you want to know more about what I do in Aikido or would you like to hire me for teaching Aikido at your dojo or applying Aikido to your business? Feel free to contact me (official email: I would be happy to hear from you if you have a genuine interest in the services I provide.

Lawrence Warry
4th dan Aikido Instructor, 
Certified Samurai Game® Facilitator
Director of Shinyu Body & Mind

2. The Grote Pyr, an Excellent Place to Practice Aikido
The Grote Pyr is something of a well kept secret of The Hague but it's popularity is expanding. The Grote Pyr (at the waldeck pyrmontkade.115) is a social organisation situated in an historic building located just outside of the center of The Hague. They organise cultural and social events for the local people and there is really a folky atmosphere in the surroundings. At the location, just next to the sports hall, the well known vegetarian restaurant, The Hagedis, provides excellent fresh cooked vegetarian food every day. 
Grote Pyr members practicing ukemi.
Many activities take place each day at the sports hall, and, it is a privilege, therefore, to be able to provide weekly Aikido practice from 19:00 - 20:30 every Monday at The Grote Pyr. Every 4th Monday of the month, there is an extended practice, in which we include additional Aiki-weapons practice, Aiki-Move & Stretch to music, and, Mindful healing practice.
For more information about these activities at the Grote Pyr, see the website of Shinyu Body & Mind or send an email with an enquiry (official email:

3. Samurai Game® Report from 1st & 2nd November
The fourth Samurai Game® event took place at The Hagukumi dojo, in The Hague on the 1st & 2nd November just passed. The event was enthusiastically attended and participants were highly engaged in the three or so hours of challenges that took place during the game, and, equally engaged in the feedback sessions that took place the next day.
The Samurai Game® is quite something to try if you have not yet done so and, even if you have been before to a Samurai Game® event, each attendance will lead to a unique experience never had before. 
Whilst the Samurai Game®, designed by the late thinker, philosopher, writer, and Aikido teacher, George Leonard, is not Aikido as such, many of the approaches we learn in Aikido apply also to the Samurai Game®. George Leonard effectively took the ideas of Aikido and applied them to his life simulation game, only, with the setting of the Samurai generation of feudal times of Japan. 
It's really quite an experience, and the next such event has already been planned for the 21st and 22nd of March 2015
Samurai Game® in action. Participants prepare themselves.
I do advise you to keep that weekend booked in your agenda. More updates about it will be appearing on facebook here:
The official Samurai Game® can be found here:
It was furthermore a great pleasure, an honour, and with thanks, that we received, from Petaluma, California, worldwide representative and facilitator certifier, Lance Giroux, who, with more than 40 years of facilitation experience, made the last Samurai Game® event extra special and a whole lot of fun. 
Lance Giroux with me on the beach near The Hagukumi dojo, visitin The Netherlands from Petaluma, California, USA.
4. Lessons on Changing the Technique (Henka & Kaeshi).
On the weekend of the 18th and 19th of October just passed, I was invited by The Hagukumi Dojo to give two morning classes in a more 'seminar' style than just the regular classes I give. I'm not really the 'seminar' type, I must admit, and, I apologize if the people found me too much like another one of them. But, that is how I feel when I am at the Hagukumi dojo. I feel like just a regular student and not exceptional in any way. But times have changed, our teachers have passed away, and the Hagukumi dojo will always be the dojo I started out with when I first moved to The Hague in 1999, and, I've never looked to be a student of another dojo since then. So, with changing times, The Hagukumi dojo was looking for inspiration from the 4th dans that travel a lot for Aikido (namely, myself, and Silvia sensei). I went to Silvia's lesson on Saturday morning, and had basically a really good time with her and the other Hagukumi students. She showed us some of the movement that has inspired her Aikido and one could see that she'd really been thinking about this movement and how to put it to effective practice.
My two morning lessons revolved around the themes I've been working with and seeing from various senseis with regards to Henka and Kaeshi. Henka waza is applied when the tori wants to change from one technique to another. Kaeshi waza is applied when the uke takes over the lead from the tori and applies another technique to tori. Both are interesting concepts for the following reasons that I can think of right now:
1. Applying henka waza and kaeshi waza in Aikido allows us to be creative in our movement.
2. Henka is often useful when one technique doesn't work. Rather than be blocked by the uke, applying Henka allows us to continue to flow in our movement. 
3. Henka is often necessary as a philosophy of life. If we cannot adapt and change when there are blockages in life, we also lose momentum, grace and grounding.
4. Kaeshi is useful for ukemi. It gives the uke the feeling that he/she should always be ready to take over if the opportunity arises. This deviates Aikido from being just dance, and, puts it firmly under the category of martial arts. 
5. Kaeshi is often necessary as a real concept in relationships in every day life, at work, at home, with friends and family. Kaeshi effectively promotes good communication allowing freedom to interchange leadership and followership in conversations.
There are probably much more reasons why to practice henka and kaeshi. Needless to say, these are not commonly tested aspects in the yudansha exams. This, I find, to be quite perplexing because they seem, at least to me, to grasp the essence of what Aikido is really about.
Anyway, here is a result of our practice on that weekend. Two of the yudansha students, Martijn and Jahan, taking home with them some useful ideas of kaeshi waza from yonkyo to shiho nage, for example:
In all, it was a pleasure exploring this theme at the Hagukumi dojo, and, afterwards, I got some requests to show it again some time soon. It would be my pleasure to study these ideas again with my fellow Hagukumi students.
Domo Arigatou!
- Lawrence

5. Yamashima Sensei, Where are you?!!!
It's already November and Yamahima Sensei, 7th dan Aikikai is nowhere in sight in Europe right now. So, I do wonder. Well, looking at his Aikido agenda, it seems like the beginning of November is quiet, and hopefully he's having a break from travelling and going to his regular practices in Tokyo. Greetings, to the Nerima and Chiyoda ku Aikido friends.
However, we're excited to receive Yamashima Sensei soon.
At the end of November, sensei will be first in The Netherlands (from 19th to 23rd of November), and, from there, he will move on to South Korea, where a seminar will take place from the 27th of November until the 1st of December. A few crazy ones of us will also be flying together to Seoul to also enjoy that seminar.
For the Dutch program, you can find the schedule, locations and contact details here: 
For the South Korea program, you can contact the Korean Aikido Federation ( Email me if you're interested to travel to S.Korea for thsi event from The Netherlands (
And, to conclude this edition, here-below, a reminder of what you may have missed during 2014, Yamashima sensei's Aikido agenda this year:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 2014

1. Editorial; New Season, Open Classes and Aikido Introduction Workshops in and Around The Hague
In the month of September, there are usually a lot of chances to meet Aikido for the first time in your life. In my local community, a number events have taken place in the past week.

2. Grote Pyr Aikido

Aikido Beginners at The Grote Pyr.
The season started on Monday 1st of September at the Grote Pyr Aikido club. A new Aikido venue, every Monday from 19:00 - 20:30. It is a good time to go if you're starting Aikido as the basics are given step-by-step, in an easy to learn manner. The public of The Hague is welcome to try the first lesson free of charge at The Grote Pyr. Website:

3. Hagukumi Aikido
Yujo Seminar @ Hagukumi Dojo
On the weekend of the 13th and 14th of September, the Hagukumi dojo in The Hague held their "Yujo" friendship weekend seminar and open day, welcoming the public to come and try out Aikido and, at the same time, welcoming the Aikido community to come and celebrate the end of the summer and start of a new season. Dojo cho, Paul Jungschlager, 4th dan Aikikai, ran the show, which included inviting a prominent Japanese teacher, Yamada (not the Yamada shihan of New York) but a less well know but equally interesting shihan from Narita, Japan. Local Aikido teachers also gave their time to share their Aikido on this packed training weekend at the Hagukumi dojo. As well as Aikido, also on the programme during the Yujo seminar were the arts of Kendo, Kempo, Chi Gong and Foot reflex healing. Aikido lessons in the Hagukumi dojo have the following programme:

4. Aikido Workshop on The Beach
Aikido on The Beach @ Licht Puntjes Festival
Also on the evening of Saturday the 13th of September, another festival took place in the beach cafe FAST at the beach of Scheveninge, The Hague. The organising group is called "Lichte Puntjes" and, as well as providing an Aikido introduction workshop on the beach, they had guest healers and artists performing poetry and music. The aim of the workshop was to encourage radiance in people. The Aikido evening workshop taking place at 19:45, as the sun set, was warmly received and well attended by about 20 festival participants. Website:

5. Leiden LCSA Aikido
LCSA Leiden Aikido.
On the evening of Sunday the 14th of September, the Leiden dojo, LCSA (Leidse Culturele Stichting Aikido) opened their doors to the public for a new season open class. This was a great way to kick-start the season as the attendees were all lookin motivated and recharged after their summer break. Website:

6. EAAC Aikido
Monday 15th of September sees the open class of the EPO Aikikai Aikido Club (EAAC). A short open class will take place at lunch time (12:15 - 13:00), allowing the European Patent staff members to meet Aikido for the first time. Website:
Demonstration practice at the EAAC:

Monday, July 21, 2014

July & August 2014

1.0 Solar & Lunar Alignment & The Human Body
As was abundantly reported all around the world, on December 21st 2012, all the planets in our solar system were perfectly aligned with each other. For the first time, our Earth, Moon, all 9 planets in our solar system, our Sun and the Pleiades constellation (which is the star system that our Sun orbits) ALL came into direct perfect alignment with the massive black hole that exists at the very center of our Milky Way Galaxy. If that's not amazing enough, this exact alignment only happens once every 200+ million years!

This 2012 event also marked the completion of a 26,000 year solar cycle that our sun is on orbiting Pleiades. This was an event that the Mayans and many other ancient tribes around the planet predicted as symbolising "the end of the world".
What is so interesting for one studying Aikido is that O-Sensei often spoke about the Sun, the Moon and the Earth being Aiki. Here is a doka from O-Sensei: 
The sun, the moon and the earth
All have become Aiki
Standing on this bridge
The great expanse of the sea is
The Way of the Mountain Echo.

Shimamoto shihan of Osaka has been heard to speak of O-Sensei as teaching students to have a big imagination and to imagine placing the sun, the moon and the earth on a stick and swallowing them whole. Many alternative healing theories (such as medical astrology) involve representing celestial bodies with human body parts. One can consider, for example, the alignment of the mind, heart, lungs and stomach as corresponding to aligning celestial bodies in order to create an influence on the environment by way of gravitational force. This is indeed what we try to achieve in disbalancing uke, as a role as tori. For this disbalancing to happen, we have to create the correct alignment in our bodies. We do this by way of hanmi. Hanmi is, indeed, the intentional act that a human has to make in Aikido in order to create such a burst of energetic influence on their training partner. One can parallel such an effect with that of the spring tide which happens when the moon is full or when the sun and the moon are aligned with the earth, causing the combination of gravitational pull, both from the sun and from the moon. 
If we are to consider our body parts (such as, for example, heart, lungs and stomach, having a gravitational pull of some degree with respect to the earth), then we can also understand that the combined gravitational pull would be achieved when the body parts are aligned, and a corresponding effective force would be established as a consequence. 
In this video from the recent course in Geneva, Yamashima sensei talks about the importance of aligning the center in hanmi:

It seems interestingly close to the spring tide effect caused by planetary alignment with the sun and the moon and is an explanation, to those who comment that "he is not moving" and "it looks fake", as to why he can cause such a big gravitational effect on uke without an exhaustive physical effort. 
How close Yamashima sensei is to O-Sensei in his idea, I can't gauge and, yet, at to that point, it is not even necessary to consider whether this was O-Sensei's main focus, for the study itself and the progress being achieved is of enough value in its own right to be interesting and to be followed up with further reasearch.

2.0 Yamashima Sensei in Geneva
Again, for another time, Yamashima sensei drew Aikido enthusiasts from all around Europe to Geneva to practice Aikido. The participants enthusiastically studied together and enjoyed social time visiting touristic parts of Geneva and having lunch and supper.
The training atmosphere was of a typical friendly nature and the practice with Yamashima sensei gets increasingly interesting for everybody who follows what his development is all about. One aspect is the alignment and hanmi position (as mentioned about) but there is much more than that to it. Aspects of how and when to use your center are important details which need to be considered. 
(Uke: Rodolph Peyvel)
Indeed, the practice of Aikido is not just a spatial practice but equally as much so, it is also a temporal practice. Time and space in unison, should somehow be managed and Yamashima sensei provides a wonderful enquirey into that study. All students got tired and sweaty in the summertime heat and in grabbing Yamashima sensei's arm, curiously trying to feel how he cultivates such an immense and effective power from the relaxed, aligned state.
Many thanks to Rodolph Peyvel for hosting again another great seminar in Geneva. Also, I can't forget to mention and thank the amazing and warm hospitality of Luc Giradin and his family who hosted us in their beautiful house in the countryside outside of Geneva!