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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

February 2011

1. AMELAND: An island like no other!

Exercising after a morning run on Ameland in Feb 2010 about 07:30am

Each year, at the end of the month of February, the CABN holds their lent school on the island of Ameland, off the northern coast of The Netherlands. Ameland has excellent accommodation facilities (bungalows with luxury sauna, jacuzzi and pool options) but also is an ideal location to get away from the hectic city life and focus on the beautiful nature of the island and find peace in oneself. Therefore, it is a location ideally suited for an aikido retreat. During five days, there will be a lot of aikido but also a lot of fun, partying, relaxing, eating and socialising. New friends and connections arise and the possibilities open for future exchanges around the world with our international visitors appearing. This year, for the fourth time, Yamashima sensei, 7th dan aikikai, will give lessons at this course. Already some of the Dutch CABN members have been to Japan to meet the group of Yamashima sensei in Nerima and Chiyoda kyu, Tokyo. It is a worthwhile visit as students from both lands share their common pleasure of learning aikido. It will be therefore another warm welcome for Yamashima sensei as he arrives on the island.
Next to the aikido seminar, there will also be running a small shiatsu workshop. The shiatsu people will probably be needing some guinee pigs. Therefore, there will be the opportunity to receive massages too and, around the aikido program, there will be further classes of stretching and meditation and, for the really keen ones, don't forget your running shoes as there will be short runs to the beach every morning at 07:30. Do as much or as little aikido as you want, either way you will have a fantastic time!
- Lawrence Warry

2. Yamashima Sensei Whirlwind Tour of Europe

From the end of January until the end of February, Yamashima sensei is in Europe and showing his flare where ever he goes.

Some facts about Yamashima Sensei ...

Takeshi Yamashima began Aikido at university in 1961 with Arikawa Sensei and Yamada Sensei Sadateru. And soon joined the Aikikai and got the chance to know Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido for many years.

He studied under the masters Yamaguchi and Masuda Saotome.

From 1975, he undertook special aikido training with Kisaburo Osawa until Osawa sensei passed away in 1989.

Takeshi Yamashima was uke for Seigo Yamaguchi, and as a result has been profoundly influenced bv this master.

Yamashima Sensei currently teaches at Tokyo in Chiyoda City (located in central Tokyo). Some of his students after 36 years. He also runs courses in the district of Nerima.

Since he retired about 4 years ago, Yamashima sensei has seized the opportunity to meet the aikido friends that he met all over the years and travel to their home locations to practice aikido. No wonder that he is now a renknowned aikido teacher all around the world.

In Europe, Yamashima sensei has already accummulated a large following in England, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Switzerland to name just a few. The unique advantage about Yamashima sensei is that he respects each organisation´s shihan relation with the hombu dojo. Therefore, all of Yamashima sensei´s visits are non politically tied allowing the training atmosphere to be light, open and enjoyable for all participants.

It is needless to say, that together with a simple, elegant and effective Aikido style, Yamashima sensei brings accross a strong message about how to use the body and the center and, at each occassion, one feels an excellence in his intuition and movement which marks his personal progress that has taken years to forge. Furthermore, he is one of the most friendly aikido teachers you could ever meet.

It is not strange to see 150 people on the tatami when Yamashima sensei comes to town. People hear about it and they come from towns nearby or even further away. More opportunities arise in 2011 to see Yamashima Sensei in a city near you!

3. Announcement of some of Yamashima Sensei´s Courses in February 2011

Already in Paris and the south east of France at the end of January, Yamashima sensei will move on to further locations in France, The Netherlands and Italy. Hereby the courses of February with Yamashima Sensei

Bordeaux (South west of France): 4th - 7th of February (Contact person: Phillipe Grangé). Click here for more information (in French).

Bolzano, Italy (near border with Austria and Swizerland): 12th and 13th of February (Contact person: Alessandro Costa). Click here for the poster and more information.

Ameland, The Netherlands: 18th - 22nd of February. Yamashima Sensei will pay his third year's visit to Ameland and will honour the passing away five years ago of Peter Bacas sensei.
4. Announcement of Congratulation for the 6th dan of Ernesto Ladavas sensei, chairman of the CABN.

Ernesto Ladavas Sensei, of Italian origin, was announced 6th dan at the Kagami Biraki of the Hombu dojo in January 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 2011

A Happy and a Healthy new Aikido year for 2011!

Amongst other things, 2010 has been another year of aiki-travel for me and making new aikido connections. In hoping that these connections will eventually flower, I am also aware that, as time goes on, the connections can fade if we don't do something to keep them alive. Therefore, I do hope that by continuing this monthly aikido newsletter, I may provide at least an effort in maintaining these connections as much as I can. Clearly it is not as perfect as having a close relation such as with one's own dojo and I don't expect to replace that. I do, however, believe that this continued effort may provide some seeds for new and interesting possibilities in our aikido future. As we enter a new beginning to the year, it gives us the opportunity to remember the meaning of "Mushin", the innocent mind, in order to practice as if it is the first time we learn. This is the healthy and long lasting way to keep your aiki-motivation alive. It is therefore with these two thoughts (the innocent mind and keeping the connection alive) that I wish all readers and the Aikido community a wonderful start to the year and a great learning experience and may we all maintain and create many beautiful aikido friendships in 2011!

Like every year, we announce in the first newsletter the event of the 2nd Doshu's passing away as we commemorate the great contribution that Kisshomaru Ueshiba has made. This issue provides a link to a recently uploaded video of the 2nd Doshu. We also greet the year with a beautiful Kotodama explanation by Yoshihito Shibata Sensei of Santa Cruz and enjoy a notorious yearly opening by Ze'ev Erlich Sensei. In our student profile for this issue, Anna Medvedeva of Barnaul, presents herself. Thank you all for your contributions to this newsletter.

Now not forgetting that on the 3rd of January, CABN chairman, Ernesto Ladavas will become the young age of 60 (it would be a nice age to have a 6th dan). Ladavas Sensei is currently graded 5th dan Aikikai though we are all curious when his next aiki-promotion is!! With his birthday, there is anyway at least one reason for celebration :-).


Lawrence Warry, 4th dan Aikikai

1. In Memory of 2nd Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba (1921 - 1999)

2nd Doshu, Kisshomaru with his father, O-Sensei

I don't think I'll ever forget that first day I entered Tokyo in the first week of January 2009 coincidently during the week that the 2nd doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba passed away (4th of January 1999). Each year, I am reminded about it and this year is no different.

Whilst his father, O-Sensei, developed Aikido, Kisshomaru Ueshiba was the mastermind behind the Aikikai, the group under which the goal was made to standardize Aikido practice to a formal structure.

On the following link, you can find a beautiful YouTube video clip of the 2nd Doshu demonstrating in Iwama in 1993
(please bear in mind that the video quality has been somewhat reduced due to conversion from tape to digital):

Letter to current Doshu and Hombu International department on behalf of the CABN ...

Dear Esteemed Doshu and Senior Members of the Hombu Dojo International Department,

On behalf of the undersigned committee members of the CABN (Culturele Aikido Bond Nederland), I wish to inform you that memorial trainings will take place this week in the CABN dojos of The Netherlands.
We will train in the memory and Aiki-spirit of 2nd doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba to commemorate the 2nd doshu's passing away on the 4th of January 1999.

Hoping to have informed you respectful and accordingly.

Sincerest and most respectful regards,

Lawrence Warry (Communications) in cooperation with the CABN Committee:

Ernesto Ladavas (Chairman)
Marcel Reijers (Vice-Chairman)
Charles Kientz (Honorary member)
Armando Braat (Secretary)
Fred Veer (Treasurer)
Lex van Teeffelen (Committee Member)
Robert van den Bosch (Committee Member)
Lawrence Warry (Committee Member)
Rob Boogaard (Committee Member)

Below, taken from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo's website (, is a brief chronology of the 2nd doshu:

Kisshomaru Ueshiba 1921-1999
1921Born on June 27, in Ayabe.
1946Graduates from Waseda University, Faculty of Economics and Political Science.
1956Gives the first demonstration and starts to teach Aikido to the public.
1957Publishes the first textbook AIKIDO.
1969Assumes the title of Aikido Doshu.
1995Receives the Zui Hosho Medal from the Japanese government.
1999Passes away on January 4, at the age of 77.

2. New Year's Kotodama (from Yoshihito Shibata Sensei)

I met Yoshihito Shibata Sensei last October in Santa Cruz. He is one of the most kind and
at modest Senseis in Aikido that I have met and he does some very good Aikido. He is also a good friend of Yamashima Sensei and he has kindly contributed this Kotodama of O-Sensei to open the new year.


ta ka a ma ha ra ni mo to tsu mi o ya su me o o ka mi
a ma ta no ka mi ga mi wo tsu do e te to ko to wa ni
ka mi tsu ma ri ma su

Shibata Sensei explains KO TO TO MA as the spirit of words or sounds.
The words and sounds given in this case are about the reality of the universe and the existence of great beings,
energy creations and purification.
Shibata Sensei: "Apparently, O-Sensei repeated these words at least twice a day but as many as he thought he should do. I think he did a lot of times a day since our world needs to purify well to have world peace. The more people do the more purification we get. One day we will have a peaceful world!!!"

Yoshihito Shibata Sensei

3. Fujita Sensei's Corner

Although Fujita Sensei is still busy with rehabilitation since now quite some time, we continue to pray for his recovery and
keep Fujita Sensei's innovative and inspirational aikido ideas alive. One seminar that comes to mind is the notorious "Nike" where he is seen to make "Te Sabaki" (movement of the hand) in the form of the Nike-like symbol made by a scooping motion of the hand that puts one in the position to adopt many different waza therefrom. What is also intellectually clever of Fujita Sensei is that since this is just a hand gesture with no tangible after-print, there is no copyright infringement of the Nike-symbol! Fujita Sensei has come up with other original ideas in order to help structure the learning in Aikido.

4. Student Profile: Anna Medvedeva (Siberian Aikido Association)

I met Anna last year in May, in Barnaul, Siberia, during the seminar of Yamashima Sensei.
Anna shows a sincere interest to learn Aikido and at the time she adds a lot of joy to her training.
Here are her answers to a small interview I made with her.

Name: Anna Medvedeva

Grade: 4th kyu

When you are not doing Aikido, what is your work in life?
I'm a student at Altay State University. Speciality: Public Relations

Why did you start Aikido?
I was always fond of martial arts. I loved to watch movies about them, read the articles. In my dreams I saw myself doing different techniques. Effective but very beautiful and gracious. So when I had the opportunity to learn some martial art there were no doubts in my head. Why it was exactly Aikido? Because I knew it was one of the few arts which implies not using your own power, but cooperating with your partner in the way to protect both of you. Very peaceful kind of martial art, isn't it?

What is for you the most interesting aspect of Aikido?
Harmony. It can't be described by words. You just feel it at every dojo.

What is the most difficult aspect?
As for me, everything is difficult. There is no any easy point. Every movement which seems quite simple requires a lot of trainings. But this is great! Always try to reach the ideal.

What is the most pleasurable aspect?
There are two nice points. First, this is communication with other people. You definitely derive the pleasure to speak with a person you have the same goal with. And the second aspect is that during every next training you learn more and more. It gives you the power to go further, strive for perfection.

What benefits do notice you have got from Aikido?
I started to think clearly what I want to do in my life. What are my goals and what are the ways to reach them. Maybe it sounds a little bit pathetic, but this is what I feel. Never expected that a martial art can do such things with you.

Favorite technique: Shiho nage. Like it very much. Maybe because I understand it better than other techniques.

Further comments: Wish everybody start to learn Aikido. In such case the whole world would start to live in piece. And nobody would be puzzled over the problem how to stop the war.