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

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October Special: Seminar with Fukakusa Shihan in Israel

Beginning of October and the weather is still very much fine in Tel Aviv. The flight captain reports no clouds and no wind with a temparature of 35 degrees celcius. It is perfect weather as
the humidity levels are also very low. Wouldn´t it be nice if all autumns could be like this!
I arrive a few days before the start of the seminar with Fukakusa shihan, hosted by Ze´ev Erlich and the Israeli Aikido Association in Rehovot. That gives me a bit of time to enjoy Tel Aviv in all its wonders (the night life, the beautiful heritage of Jaffa, the interesting diverse shops and, of course, the sandy beach along the coastline.
Before the arrival of Fukakusa shihan from Thailand, Ze´ev san kindly asked me to give two classes, one on Monday and one on Wednesday. So I decided to present two themes, one in line with Fujita shihan´s training method and the other with more stretching and exercises geared to opening the body and preparing for aikido movement. On Thursday morning, I woke up bright and early to join Ze´ev and a some of his more dedicated students to form a welcoming party at Ben Gurion airport, for the anticipated shihan to arrive to a warm greeting.

Preparing the car for taking in the Shihan!

Ze'ev san greets the shihan and takes the shihan's suitcase.

Fukakusa shihan with welcoming party at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv.

(sitting with Ze'ev at café Lool).

Israel is one of my favorite places to train, not just becaused the training is of an excellent quality but also because the people are also of the highest quality. The members of the Rehovot aikido group also greet me with much friendliness and openess, it is always a pleasure to join them for Aikido. The additional attraction of Rehovot is the marvellous coffee bar, Lool, where one can order their tastey sweetcorn snack and have the best coffee in town.

The dojo, where Ze´ev teaches (local school near his house). The childrens class of Ze'ev is well attended and the kids show an amazing level of discipline and interest to learn Aikido.

Hanging at the Kamiza is a Japanese word of the month. This month's word hanging there was "Den" which means to transmit (knowledge, energy, etc). This is an appropriate word as I gave a lesson themed around Fujita shihan's passing on of his knowledge.

"Den" means to transmit.

During the next three days, Fukakusa shihan will transfer some his decades of aikido experience to the students of Rehovot. Wishing all participants a wonderful and enriching seminar.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 2010

1. Aikido and health and happiness.

A student of aikido told me once that they were not doing Aikido because it is healthy and further went on to even claim that the practice of Aikido is not healthy at all. I spent a considerablly long time overcoming my astonishment at this declaration and required many meditation sessions to accept what the person had said.

Indeed, with injuries, and countless cases of senseis passing away, God forgive, I started to have doubts myself if aikido really is a healthy practice. I came to my senses finally after re-reading the book "Kodo - Ancient Ways" by Kensho Furuya, which was recommended to me by Ze'ev san. Towards the end of this book, there is an excellent exerpt about health and modern day attitudes to health and, I quote from the article, Furuya sensei mentions "Isn't happiness the missing ingredient in our desire for true health?".

I had the pleasure and honour to practice with Yamashima sensei over many occassions this past summer (Geneva, Bath, Hamburg and The Hague and concluding in his own home dojo in Japan). Yamashima sensei has mastered a true way to healthy living and healthy training. It makes his aikido a great pleasure for all and he eminates a true wisdom of continuous repetition of the basic practice. There is no show or spectacle in his practice, he simply expresses in his movement a peace of mind which we are all striving. That, together with true happiness are what comes from my impression of Yamashima sensei's practice.

(Yamashima Sensei teaching at Nerima Sports Centre, Tokyo, at the end of September 2010)

An honest practice of Aikido which prevents physical and emotional injury to oneself and to others will cultivate hapiness and, from there, will arise good health. Therefore, please let's get back in touch with our spiritual insights which have been somewhat washed away with modern day trends and total dependence on modern medicine and adopt a healthy way of living with the dependence more on our own personal happiness (with the inclusion of aikido training)! You can see the happiness eminated on this sample clip of a training session that took place towards the end of September this year:

2. Fujita Sensei corner. Kokkyu-ho.

Fujita Sensei taught often variations of kokkyu-ho, a training for the centre and letting go of the desire to fight or contest. In his training method, he had a very well-defined approach:

Physical power and breath power.

1. Za-gi kokyu ho (seated breath power exercise).

2. Tachi waza kokyu ho (standing breath power exercise).

Remember Following points:

1. Avoid a foolish contest of strength with your training partner.

2. Move your body in a circular way and your hand in a twisting motion so as not to be hindered by your opponent’s power.

3. Use the power of your whole body and do not attempt to be clever by only using concentrated spurts of power.

These exercises, performed both standing and sitting, enable one to learn the correct means of using and projecting one’s concentrated body strength and using one’s power in a properly coordinated manner.

3. Announcements.

We wish Ladavas Sensei and Marcel Reijers a wonderful promotion trip to Siberia during the month of October.

In October (7th - 9th of October), the Israeli Aikikai Aikido Organisation hosts for the second time Thailand and East Asia's supervising shihan,Fukakusa shihan, 7th dan Aikikai. Contact Ze'ev Erlich for more information (

In October (2nd - 7th of October), Mumei Shudan dojo invites Yamashima sensei, 7th dan Aikikai. For more information, see the website:

In November (12 - 14 November 2010), Christian Tissier shihan, 7th dan Aikikai, shall be giving a seminar at the dojo of Serge Beraud in Singapore.
Because this seminar is likely to be fully booked, the announcement comes well in advance. Please read the following message from the organisers. Early bird registration is now over. Registration for this seminar after the 1st of September is S$200. Student discount 50% applies. Seminar will take place at The Swiss Club. For more info, registration and payment please follow, email info@mumeishudan.comor call (+65) 9112-1193.

4. Quote.

When your eyes engage those of another person, greet him or her with a smile and they will smile back. This is one of the essential techniques of the Art of Peace.