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.