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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 2014

Happy New Year! Happy New Look & Feel! I’ve edited the layout to give the blog a new look and feel for 2014. It has a simple approach. Just the text of the latest post appears immediately as the blog is opened and all other gadgets can be found at the bottom of the page. I don’t know if it is better or worse but it feels good to change the layout of the blog now and again.
Kagami Biraki in Israel
A wonderful Kagami Biraki was had at the Masatake Dojo in Rehovot, Israel on Saturday the 4th of January. Every year at this event, Ze'ev sensei prepares and presents a calligraphy to each of his students. This year he has prepared the word "Kokoro Awase" meaning something like hearts tuning into eachother.
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The calligraphy stamped with the red marking of Masatake Fujita shihan’s name (the stamp was given to Ze’ev by Shoko Fujita, the wife of Fujita shihan). Masatake dojo stamp: The Kanji is "Masatake" which mean: Masa = flourishing - Bu - Warrior (as in budo) 昌武 That is Fujita Sensei's name - Masatake Fujita Sensei.
Masatake Fujita Sensei's Stampt
In addition, the Masatake Dojo kamiza received also a new kanji to be placed by the portrait of O-Sensei for the year (the calligraphy was also made by Ze’ev sensei).
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The Kagami Biraki event in Rehovot comprised a meditation session with purification exercises with aiki-ken (bokken practice) followed by an aikido lesson with the theme of using ikkyundo (a basic body movement used in warm ups) in different directions, applied to basic technique. After the aikido lesson, special Judo guest, Yona Melnik (8th dan Judo, who has a vast experience of competition Judo as well as traditional Judo and who represented Israel many times in the 1970s and 1980s), gave a very interesting lesson about the connections between Aikido and Judo and made some very important observations about the historical background of the arts and their modern practices. In between the classes, there was an opportunity for Aikidokas to gather together and socialize with cookies and refreshing drinks. To end the event, Judo and Aikido demonstrations were given by the Judo guests (Magalit and Arnold) and Masatake dojo members.
Thanks to Ze’ev sensei and his wife Miho who made a wonderful Japanese dinner that evening for being always such welcoming hosts.
If you’d like to report your new year Aikido event and have it published here, feel free to write to me (at my email address
Wishing a wonderful year of Aikido in 2014!

Happy New Year from Ze'ev!

Shimenawa (標縄・注連縄・七五三縄, literally "enclosing rope") are lengths of laid rice straw rope used for ritual purification in the Shinto religion. A space bound by shimenawa often indicates a sacred or pure space, such as that of a Shinto shrine. Shimenawa are believed to act as a ward against evil spirits and are often set up at a ground-breaking ceremony before construction begins on a new building. They are often found at Shinto shrines, torii gates, and sacred landmarks.
The folded white paper is called "shide". Shide (紙垂, 四手) is a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, often seen attached to shimenawa or tamagushi, and used in Shinto rituals. A popular ritual is using a haraegushi, or "lightning wand", named for the zig-zag shide paper that adorns the wand. A similar wand, used by miko for purification and blessing, is the gohei with two shide. A Shinto priest waves the haraegushi over a person, item, or newly bought property, such as a building or car. The wand is waved at a slow rhythmic pace, but with a little force so that the shide strips make a rustling noise on each pass of the wand. For new properties, a similar ritual known as jijin sai is performed with a haraegushi, an enclosed part of the land (enclosed by shimenawa), and sake, or ritually purified sake known as o-miki. The haraegushi has been used for centuries in Shinto ceremonies and has similarities in Ainu culture. In Ainu culture, a shaved willow branch called an inaw or inau closely resembles the Shinto haraegushi, and is used in similar blessing rituals.

Happy New Year (year of the horse) 2014 to all my friends in Holland and around the globe. Also in outer space :)
Thank you Lawrence Sensei for being so dedicated to this wonderful newsletter.

See you around healthy and happy,