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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 2011

1. Seasonal Greetings from The Hague, Holland.

Skyline of The Hague, Holland.

As the month of November slips away and the month of December creeps in, the sensation of festivities awakens in The Netherlands by way of the christmas lights in the streets and shops and also because the people of this country celebrate the day of Saint Nicolas on the 5th of December (otherwise known as Sinterklaas). It is a day of gift giving and joviality as Father Christmas-like characters are accompanied by their colourful companion of chimney soot covered face and golliwog hair (Black Pete, in Dutch: Zwarte Piet) who is, by no means, a figure without contraversy in the Dutch political landscape as this character's depiction tends to raise questions of racial issues. It is not for us, the editorial, to favour or disfavour any tradition and we simply wish all Aikidokas around the world a fantastic holiday season and plenty of warmth and love for their families and, of course, many more good Aikido experiences to come!

Lawrence Warry, 4th dan Aikikai.

2. CABN Winter School Report.

On the weekend of the 25th to the 27th of November, the Culturele Aikido Bond Nederland winter school
took place in the beautiful city of Delft, Holland. The host dojo, Aikido Stichting Delft, provided a large space floor for a well filled tatami. Attending were members of most dojos of the CABN. The CABN runs a winter school yearly (as well as the yearly lent and summer schools). This year's winter school was the first to be held without the presence of a Japanese teacher. Instead, the three highest ranking senseis (in order of high to low rank) Ernesto Ladavas, 6th dan, Charles Kientz, 5th dan and Armando Braat, 5th dan, provided the instruction to the adults with classes throughout the weekend. The youth group was taken care of by Jan Lieffering, 4th dan. On the Saturday evening, the participants were welcome to the social event where one could sample the local Dutch food in a traditional Dutch restaurant of Delft. The entertainment of the evening was provided by Ernesto sensei with his famously articulated jokes and clever flying spoon tricks.

3. Aikido Without Borders.

Aikido Without Borders (AWB) is a registered non-profit that combines the practice of aikido conflict resolution, community responsibility, and youth leadership.
Aikido is an excellent medium for bringing youth from opposing sides of a conflict to build community and forge lasting friendships. By systematically teaching young people on both sides of the conflict concrete and positive replacements for violence, hatred, and aggression we give clear and valuable non-violent alternatives in crisis and conflict. Further, by bringing these young people together to have joint trainings in aikido and conflict resolution, AWB is creating new and lasting connections 
4_web_Amit-throw-epicthat lead towards a more peaceful future.
Aikido is unique among martial arts in that it teaches:
Calmness and creativity in the midst of aggression.
Compassion and non-violence responses towards violence.
Resolution of conflict without harming another.

Aikido Without Borders works in Israel and Palestine. AWB is directed by Miles Kesler sensei (5th dan Aikikai) who is a former uchideshi (live-in student) at the Ibaraki dojo in Iwama, Japan, the school of Morihiro Saito sensei. Miles sensei regularly organizes visits to the Palestinian west bank in order to teach Aikido. You can contact Miles sensei for more information about AWB at: ( or go to the AWB website: (

On this link, you can find a recent interview with Miles sensei:

It is also possible to join the Aikido Without Borders facebook page by following this link:

4. Passing Away of Paul Mitton Sensei

Dear Aikido Friends,

On the following link, beautiful article about Paul Mitton who passed away on the 9th of November 2011:

It is an honour for me that Paul was my first Aikido teacher from the city of Bath, England.
I was lucky to have many playful wrestles with him and, in the early days, went running 
together with him in the hills of Bath. We'd always have a nice social drink in the pub
on Friday evenings after training. He knew and shared something essential about the joy of Aikido.

A recent picture of Paul Mitton

5. Budo thought from Ze'ev Sensei "Bowing"

When we bow, we have to to it with our heart, and to convey our respect and appreciation to our partner. Bowing should not be just a movement. It has to be honest communication.
But, I have noticed, that when I find myself in front of someone whom I don't like, don't respect so much, and I actually don't want to train with so much... In such case, I try to overcome this feeling of mine, and to perform a slow and beautiful bow, as if it was a present for my partner. Before I end bowing, the feeling in my heart changes a bit, and I am more willing to train with that partner, and I feel less negative about him. Difficult partners and fun partners are equally crucial for our learning process. Therefore we should always perform the best bowing possible, no matter who is in front of us.
See you soon again,

Ze'ev Erlich, 4th dan Aikikai.

6. Youtube Clip(s) of the Month

Yamashima Sensei in Christchurch, New Zealand, 2009 ...

A beautiful composition from Ze'ev san from the recent seminar in Holland with Shimamoto shihan ...

7. O-Sensei Quote of the Month
The totally awakened warrior can freely utilize all elements contained in heaven and earth. The true warrior learns how to correctly perceive the activity of the universe and how to transform martial techniques into vehicles of purity, goodness, and beauty. A warrior's mind and body must be permeated with enlightened wisdom and deep calm. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2011

1. Dutch Aikido 50 Years Party and the Tatami Heros

Paul Jungschlager sensei reports about his experience of the 50th
years anniversary event of Aikido in The Netherlands from the
perspective of the tatami brigade. It is beautiful that The
Netherlands have reached this remarkable Aikido milestone and it is a
time to remember the great teachers that passed through the
Netherlands (to my mind comes Dedobbeleer sensei, Fujita sensei, Bacas
sensei and of course there are others that I am not so familiar with).
The 50 years annual event brought to recognition all of the players of
the pioneering Aikido days in Holland.

While it is important to remember these great pioneers, we should not
forget the behind the scenes organisers and the volunteers that took
action to ensure that there were mats on the floor.

Ultimately, in any aikido event, the tatami brigade is one of the most
important teams in making a successful event. In the CABN, it is
usually Paul Jungschlager who is coordinating this and, for the 50th year anniversary event of Aikido Nederland, Paul was called for his help to ensure that the CABN made their tatami contribution successfully.

some of the tatami heros!

One might think there is not a lot to it and, in theory this is the case. However, in practice, successfully laying the mats at an aikido event needs a coordinated effort of willing volunteers, organising a truck to take mats from place A to place B, organising driver(s), making sure mats arrive on time, making sure the mats are tracked in
case they have to be returned to different dojos, making sure the mats are laid down in a orderly fashion. In this procedure, it is not always certain things will go right. Thankfully, with Paul's team on the job, the result is usually a success.

These volunteers rarely get the limelight and I thought it should be just to give them some attention and recognition for the silent efforts they make at each aikido event throughout the year because, clearly, without such motivated people, aikido events such as the AN 50th anniversary would be much more difficult to run.

According to Paul sensei, the 50th year anniversary event in Almere as: "Big Fun" as there was more of a party feeling than the usual aikido event that one might go to. A lot of different organisations from the Netherlands came together to practice aikido and to party after training.

During the event, a certificate in recognition of Bacas Sensei's service to Aikido in The Netherlands was presented for which Paul sensei wished to declare thanks from all connected dojos for the result of Bacas sensei's dedication and, in the first place, to Fujita snesei for his long time support and dedication. During this moment of presentation, Bacas sensei's wife, Marja, was busy to clean the grave where Bacas sensei's body is lying.

2. Ditz Hartung Sensei, 4th dan Aikikai Bokken and Jo in Bonn

On Saturday the 22nd of October, Ditz Hartung (4th dan aikikai) presented his yearly bokken and jo seminar in Bonn. The morning class was focused on the Jo and, in  particular, kumi jo kata number 5 (using katate gedan gaeshi). Further in the afternoon, the practiced was focused on the bokken and especially bokken dori (taking the bokken from the partner). Some useful instruction was given about some of the details (such as how to release the bokken from the partner's grip on performing kote-gaeishi). When Ditz sensei is around, then the music is also not far away. Usually he brings his mouth harp with him and starts playing the blues or some Irish music. Another aikidoka present had his accordion with him and there was a party atmosphere after the training.

In this clip, I am practicing kumi jo number 6 with Ditz sensei:

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 2011

1. Editorial

Dimensions of the basics. 

When starting a new season, I tend to revert to the basics of Aikido.
At that point, I come to the question what are "the basics"?

One generally can consider fundamental "kihon waza" (basic technique) as basics, of course. However, there are many dimensions in which to delve. One can consider each dimension of the basics like the rings of an onion. The deeper the ring, the more subtle the level of the basic teaching is and the more it becomes an experiential rather than observational learning process. This model is somewhat similar to the dimensionality explanations given by Bob Nadeau sensei in City Aikido, San Francisco.

For Fujita sensei, who was coming to the netherlands 3 to 4 times per year until 2007, the basics were a fundamental set of tai-sabaki (the famous 4 tai-sabaki of Fujita sensei). One can consider this dimension somewhat more subtle than the "kihon waza" dimension which is pure form. Yet more subtle than that is the dimension of basic "feeling" in aikido. What is the basic connection supposed to feel like? Where is the centre in relation between uke and tori? What is the correct method of applying physical attributes such as force, speed, timing, distance, position, and how should one go about "controlling" their partner in the "aiki" way. Yet more subtle than that is the basic "zen" aspect. Although aikido is not a zen practice, there are crossing points of letting go of the ego, allowing aikido to be done without notion of the "I am controlling me or somebody else". The basic notion of tuning in to the universe and realising our connection to it and thus to our partner brings us to yet a more subtle basic practice which cannot really be shown.

One can consider other fundamental dimensions in the basics, such as your own being and its "happiness" in this world. So, the aiki taiso (yogaesque warm up exercises) develop your inner peace as well as warm up your joints for somewhat accentuated degrees of flexion and extension as one receives ukemi. To attain "inner peace" a fundamental awareness is brought to one's breathing (kokkyu) and centering. We often describe the hara (belly area) as the point to focus on in aikido movement as we try to move intuitively and freely think with our whole body rather than move calculatively and think with just our brain (this concept is known as "mushin" or innocent mind). 

Basic ukemi (receiving) is a further dimensional layer in which to explore. Starting from the ground and working our way up, we learn to be friends with the ground, not to fear it but to let it help us find a gentle way to come out of a throw or pin. Basic ukemi further requires basic connection and awareness of safety. We roll not because we are told to roll. We roll as a logical spatio-temporal function of tori's action. This is again on the basic "feeling" level.

In essence, the more subtle one goes, the more difficult it is for the basics to be "shown" as it becomes more of an experiential learning by feeling training method. As I explore aikido further, I see development in aikido therefore more of an exapnsive dimensional learning process as one refines the number of ways in which the basics can be practiced. This is becoming more important than the mountain climbing, goal oriented ambition for achievement and ability. Of course, the "height/depth" axis does exist in the learning process as much as the "breadth" axis and one does gain ability physically, mentally and spiritually. However, ability is, to me, secondary to practicing the basics on all possible dimensions. When one starts to enter the multi-dimensional learning process of the basics, one starts to appreciate its depth and breadth and starts to realise that the boundaries are unlimited and, personally, I am getting a lot of pleasure from the discovery process. To this setting, there is always something to learn always a new way of experiencing "basic" aikido. It will bring your aikido to a more profound level of understanding.

With my nevertheless limited depth, I often begin my classes with the tai-sabaki of Fujita sensei. It somehow lies in the middle between "kihon waza" and the "feeling" basics as one has to perform a certain irimi (entering) or tenkan (turning). So it is a form together with the feeling of connection. The class can then develop into a "kihon waza" kind of direction (in times of exams, for example) or a "feeling" direction in order to develop our better and deeper understanding of how aikido should be practiced as O-Sensei had realised it. 

I wish you much fun in your own deeper explorations of the aikido basics.

Lawrence Warry

2. New Season Open Classes

A new season is upon us. I had the pleasure to attend the open classes for new comers at the three dojos where I teach (The Hagukumi dojo in The Hague, The EAAC EPO Aikikai Aikido Club dojo in Rijswijk and the LCSA Leidse Culturele Stichting Aikido in Leiden). It's good to see that all clubs are running well. They each have a motivated committee and enthusiastic members who want to learn aikido. Each year, I notice the step-by-step progress of these groups and it is very satisfying to observe the growth both in numbers of students and in development of each individual's aikido. So, I pass my congratulations and wish each club a continuation in their flowering.

3. Fukakusa Shihan Israel (7th to 12th of September)

The Israeli Aikido Association has organised this seminar with Fukakusa shihan, 8th dan Aikikai, to take place not only in the Masatake dojo in Rehovot but also in locations in Tel Aviv and the Golan Heights. This is looking like its going to be another greatly organised seminar by Ze'ev Erlich and promises to bring aikido enthusiasts together from all over Israel and the world.
I'm looking forward to joining the seminar!

For more detailed seminar information, see Ze'ev's facebook event page:

4. Yamashima Sensei in Holland for Aikido mini-Summer School 2011

The Hagukumi dojo will celebrate their new location for the second year running with Yamashima sensei, 7th dan aikikai, again. Yamashima sensei is everybody's friend and likes to travel and visit friends around the world. He is a much welcomed non-political figure in the aikido world and, therefore, Yamashima sensei is invited purely as a private guest of the Hagukumi dojo. Nevertheless, he is also privately welcome to the dojos of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Delft and Rijswijk on his next visit. For the full agenda and further information about his visit, click the following link:

There, you can also find details for his course in England before and course in Germany after his visit to Holland.

5. Fifty Years Aikido in Holland (coming up 23rd of October)

As some people might know already, there will take place a great spectacle of Aikido in the topsportcentrum, Almere on the 23rd of October, to celebrate 50 years of Aikido in The Netherlands.
During that day, there will be lessons from some of the top instructors of the Netherlands. Some of the CABN's teachers have been given the honour to present classes, including: Ernesto Ladavas, Armando Braat, Charles Kientz, Sonja Winkelman and Silvia Marton.
More details about this event will come in the October-December edition of the IPAAN newsletter.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Next Seminar with Yamashima sensei in Geneva ...

From the 13th unitl the 20th of August, Yamashima sensei will be teaching in Geneva for the second year running.

Click the following link for details of the event:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July & August 2011

Aikido in Hawaii


1. 30th Gashuku Ohana Aikido

At the end of July, I had the opportunity to travel to Honolulu in Hawaii and attend the 30th summer gashuku of Aikido Ohana of Hawaii. For many years now, the tuition has been under the guidance and supervision of Takeshi Yamashima sensei, 7th dan aikikai. Yamashima sensei, accompanied by his Japanese deshi, Yamada san and Yamaguchi san arrived to a surprisingly rainy Hawaii but the weather did not subdue the spirits of all present at the course.

The course took place in the beautiful setting of the Ho'omaluhia bontanical gardens, Kailua covered by the Ko'olau mountain range draping the background of the open air tatami where the training was to take place.

Beautiful Ko'oalu mountain range.

Participants had the opportunity to camp out at night over the course weekend and nutritious and tasty food was provided morning, lunch time and evening to a hungry bunch of tired practitioners.

Present on the tatami, including the Aikido Ohana members, were guests from different groups around Hawaii and some of the classes were presented by their senior members. The host sensei, Alan Nagahisa sensei commenced each morning with a 6:30 morning class as we held our hands on our hearts and our bellys and directed our bodies to the rising morning sun in gratitude.

After the summer camp weekend, there were further opportunities to train with the sensei in and around Hawaii at the Betsuin dojo of Gayne Sogi sensei and the Aikido Ohana dojo of Nagahisa sensei.

The whole visit to Hawaii and aiki-experience were very gratifying and I hope next year to bring my aikido friends and club members for the 31st Ohana gashuku.

Big thanks go to the Aikido Ohana members for their kind and special attention.

Ohana Aikido group.
Ohana Aikido group in Hawaii: (Click Here).
Video of the summer gashuku this year with Yamashima sensei: (Click Here).

2. 50th Anniversary since the arrival of Aikido in Hawaii

O-Sensei in Hawaii in 1961

Earlier this year, all the aikido groups of Hawaii came together to form a massive event,
inviting doshu aikido to a festival celebrating 50 years since O-Sensei had brought aikido to
Hawaii (the first land outside of Japan to practice aikido with O-Sensei). A great effort was made in publicising the event with a beautiful honorary guide attributed to all of the aikido groups of Hawaii and to the lineage of the Ueshiba family and the aikikai. We are wishing the aikido groups much growth and harmony for the future as a result of this manifestation.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 2011

1. 49th All Japan Aikikai Embukai

The 49th All Japan Aikikai Embukai took place this year on Saturday the 28th of May at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Despite the disaster which occured in March this year, the attendance to this event was relatively good with it being reported that about 8000 people attented the event and a hoard of umbrellas gathered around the enterance before the doors were to open. For support of the relif efforts taking place after the Tsunami of March this year, a collection was made and the victims of the disaster were comemorated. My JPO aikido friends were almost apologetic about the rainy season having started earlier than normal this year. Three delegates from the C.A.B.N (Culturele Aikido Bond Nederland) attendend this event including myself, Ernesto Ladavas sensei and Humphrey Piplenbosch. We had the honour, for the first time, to participate together with the Hombu dojo's members demonstration towards the end of the afternoon. As usual, I got the chance for a second demonstration with the JPO Aikido club. Each year, a similar structure applies to the embukai programme and the event comes to a conclusion with demonstrations by the highest ranked shihans, that of Tada shihan being the last before Doshu's demonstration which I managed to catch on the video recorder of my mobile phone: ....

The demonstration area: 5 tatami are arranged in the hall. Despite the recent disaster in Japan, the embukai had a relatively good attendance (about 8000 people attending).

Three members of the C.A.B.N. took part in the demonstrations this year: Ernesto Ladavas sensei, 6th dan and chairman (in photo together with his fiancé, Laila); Lawrence Warry, 4th dan; and Humphrey Pipelenbosch, 2nd dan.

Displayed along the main corridor of the Budokan, this panel describes the philosophy of Budo.

When entering the budokan, one is greeted by this reception of assistants.

Number "49" displayed at the entrance of the Nippon budokan. The umbrellas say it all about the weather.

2. Pony Cafe
This is one of the most famous aikido cafes haunted by aikido shihans. Yamashima sensei took me there twice after morning practice. I asked what the exact address was but apparently the street had no name? (or it is just a well kept secret). The most noteable aspect of the cafe is the way in which the coffee is made. The coffee maker looks more like a chemistry set than a coffee maker. The toast and coffee certainly came as a welcome delight after the rigourous waking up early and training.

Brewing the coffee in the Pony Cafe.

3. Visit to Shosenji Temple and Dojo near Osaka
In the small town of Toyonaka just outside of Osaka, lies a beautiful zen temple, the Shosenji temple, a family temple that has been passed from generation to generation of the Shimamoto family. The current head of the temple, is also an aikido shihan (Shimamoto Katsuyuki shihan, 8th dan aikikai) and on the site of the temple there is also a large aikido dojo with trainings occuring throughout the week. During my recent visit to Japan, I had the pleasure to visit the temple and dojo of Shosenji and meet Shimamoto shihan and his students.

Group photo at the Shosenji dojo (together with guest instructor Minegishi sensei, 7th dan aikikai and her aikido group of children from Guam aikikai).

"Cheese!" with the wife of Shimamoto shihan (also known as Mama-san).

The beautiful kamiza of the Shosenji dojo.

Monday, May 2, 2011

April and May 2011

1. Special Update from Siberia.

Summer Trip Invitation from Siberia.

Our Aikido friends in Siberia have invited anybody who wants to join on an amazing adventure this summer in the Altai mountains.
The region is said to have some of the most beautiful untouched scenery you could ever see. However, if you are thinking of going, please do
take precautions and enquire about vaccinations before leaving as there may be some danger with bugs and ticks which inhabit this region.
The trip will take place in the second half of august but no fixed dates have yet been given. If you are interested to join this voyage, please contact the organiser, Alexander Petrov as soon as possible (email:
Some more information about the Altai region …


is a vast mountainous area, located in the center of Eurasia at the juncture of China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. Russian part of Altai includes the Altai Region (Barnaul is the central city) and the Republic of Altai (Gorno-Altaisk is the capital). The most attractive sites for ecotourism are concentrated in the Republic of Altai which is also called Gorny Altai. Unique natural and cultural features of Gorny Altai grant wonderful opportunities for all kinds of ecotourism activities.

Gorny Altai is the highest mountainous province of Siberia. Some mountain-masses are 3000 – 4000 m high. Their peaks are covered with snow and ice all year long. Glaciers descend along their slopes. The highest point of Siberia – Belukha Mt (4506 m) is situated there.
Gorny Altai is also famous with its rivers and lakes. Biya and Katun are the two largest rivers which interflow near the town of Biysk and give start to the Ob River – one of the greatest rivers of the world. Katun with its tributaries Chuya, Koksa, Kucherla, Argut, Ursul are very popular among whitewater rafters because of thrilling rapids and exciting landscapes. The Biya River has its source in the Teletskoye Lake which is situated between high ranges of mountains. The Teletskoye Lake with its length of about 80 km, depth of 325 m and volume of 40 cubic kilometers is considered as a symbol of Altai. The beautiful Shavlinskiye Lakes are situated on the Northern slope of the Severo-Chuysky Range.
The greater part of Gorny Altai is covered with taiga. Larch and cedar prevail but you can see many other species of trees and bushes. Alpine areas, situated on heights more than 2000 – 2400 m, offer large meadows with various grasses and flowers. In the whole, in Gorny Altai tourists have opportunities to observe practically all kinds of Siberian scenery: dry steppes of Central Asia, taiga, alpine meadows in blossom, tundra, majestic glaciers and snow peaks. Fauna is very diverse too, including 90 species of mammals, 260 species of birds, 20 species of fishes. Snow leopard (irbis), wild ram, elk, Siberian stag (maral), bear, golden eagle, hawk, umber, sterlet can be met there.
The climate of Altai is continental with a stable cover of snow in winter and with summer temperatures up to +300C.
The Golden Mountains of Altai are included into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

2. Teacher profile: Richard Strozzi Heckler Sensei, 6th dan Aikikai.

(image and text obtained from the Internet, credits to

Richard Strozzi Heckler, PhD is the founder and President of Strozzi Institute. A nationally known speaker and consultant on leadership and mastery, he has spent more than three decades researching, developing, and teaching the practical application of Somatics (the unity of language, action, and meaning) to business leaders and executive managers.

Richard is the author of seven books, including In Search of the Warrior Spirit, The Anatomy of Change, Holding the Center, The Mind/Body Interface, and Aikido and the New Warrior. His articles have appeared inEsquire, East West Journal, The Whole Earth Review, and numerous other publications. In October 2000, a Wall Street Journal cover story featured the groundbreaking leadership program developed by Richard for the United States Marine Corps. Richard has a Ph.D. in Psychology and is a sixth degree black belt in the martial art of Aikido. He also holds ranks in Judo, Jujitsu, and Capoeira. Richard has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Sonoma State University, Esalen Institute, Lone Mountain College, Naropa Institute, and the University of Munich.

Having worked with tens of thousands of people over the last 30 years including corporate executives, Olympic and professional athletes, managers, political leaders, and inner-city gangs, Strozzi-Heckler’s client list includes U.S. Marines, U.S. Army Green Berets, U.S. Navy SEALS, AT&T, DMV, Microsoft, Sportsmind, Capital One, Barnes & Noble, and Hewlett-Packard.


I met Heckler sensei for the third time in Petaluma, north of California, USA at his dojo, the Two Rocks dojo in the coutryside next to Petaluma. The dojo is surrounded by beautiful scenery and beautifully kept on the inside too. Heckler sensei's group follows the lineage of Mitsuge Saotome shihan (Aikido Schools of Ueshiba) and the lessons are rich in aikido learning as heckler sensei places emphasis on grounding, centering and positive state of mind. Goodness and healing is radiating from this dojo, and it was a great pleasure for me to enjoy aikido with the Petaluma community and Heckler sensei. Therefore, I present my thanks for again allowing me to participate in the classes during the week of my visit there.

With Heckler sensei in his Two Rock dojo in Petaluma, CA, USA

For more information about Heckler sensei's work, click the following links: and

3. Safety in Aikido (Preventing Injuries and Training Sensibly).

Some things to consider for safety when training aikido (an article written by Paul Mitton sensei of Bath Aikido Society in England).

Maintaining safety in the dojo must always remain one of the key concerns of any instructor. No one likes to be injured or to injure anyone. Injuries prevent practice, can lose you friends and certainly reduce income to the club.

On the other hand injury can be the mother of technique. Unable to put stress on an injured limb, you might just discover new ways to apply the principles, forced by injury to discover the maximum effect attainable from the minimal effort.

Nonetheless all clubs need to have a first aid kit. In addition to the normal medically approved contents, you will benefit from having available a greasy antiseptic for minor cuts, plasters for the same and electricians tape to bind on plasters in a sweaty environment and/ or to strap together injured toes and fingers.

It is a good idea to have two or more of the regular members trained in First Aid. Even a two hour session will give a little knowledge. Further training is often available locally either free or very cheaply.

More important even than first aid training is to have immediate access to a telephone (someone in the club may have a mobile phone) and transport for the more serious injuries that require expert attention in a hospital.

Far more likely are the bumps and strains that simply require time to put themselves right. RICE is a well-known acronym in sports injury circles - Rest Ice Compression Elevation.

Manage the session sensibly to minimise risk of injury. Pay attention to warming up and cooling down. Maintain a sense of discipline throughout to limit any bullying or over intense competition. Ensure that equipment is well maintained. Train sensibly. In throwing arts, when the dojo is crowded, then make sure people are thrown to the edge of the mat and not into the middle. They are far more likely to collide with others in the middle rather than the edges of the mat. Throw in groups or in lines. Train lightly when carrying an injury. Mark the site of your injury with a piece of red electrical tape to remind yourself and others to go easy on particular joints. Do not get over tired - practise more calmly for a while.

Remember when you do become injured that suffering is good for the soul - pain is that by which we become perfect!

Paul Mitton, Bath Aikido Society, 1 August 1997