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

Monday, November 10, 2014

October - December 2014

1. Editorial
It's been quite an active new season, hardly leaving me time to update this blog. This can only be a good sign for the activities surrounding this little Aikido world have been vibrant and enriching for all participants.

Of particular note, since September, there has been a surge of interest from the public concerning the new Monday Aikido practices at the Grote Pyr in The Hague, I've been quite busy teaching Aikido minimum 6 times per week, and, have been also occupied with bringing another production of the Samurai Game® to The Hague at the beginning of November. 

Some words about these activities here-below.
In this edition, I also provide an update of where Yamashima sensei will be hanging out in November, and, I have something to report about a recent lesson I was invited to teach at The Hagukumi dojo, where I emphasised the need to practice Henka waza (changing of technique) and Kaeshi waza (uke taking over technique from tori).

Do you want to know more about what I do in Aikido or would you like to hire me for teaching Aikido at your dojo or applying Aikido to your business? Feel free to contact me (official email: I would be happy to hear from you if you have a genuine interest in the services I provide.

Lawrence Warry
4th dan Aikido Instructor, 
Certified Samurai Game® Facilitator
Director of Shinyu Body & Mind

2. The Grote Pyr, an Excellent Place to Practice Aikido
The Grote Pyr is something of a well kept secret of The Hague but it's popularity is expanding. The Grote Pyr (at the waldeck pyrmontkade.115) is a social organisation situated in an historic building located just outside of the center of The Hague. They organise cultural and social events for the local people and there is really a folky atmosphere in the surroundings. At the location, just next to the sports hall, the well known vegetarian restaurant, The Hagedis, provides excellent fresh cooked vegetarian food every day. 
Grote Pyr members practicing ukemi.
Many activities take place each day at the sports hall, and, it is a privilege, therefore, to be able to provide weekly Aikido practice from 19:00 - 20:30 every Monday at The Grote Pyr. Every 4th Monday of the month, there is an extended practice, in which we include additional Aiki-weapons practice, Aiki-Move & Stretch to music, and, Mindful healing practice.
For more information about these activities at the Grote Pyr, see the website of Shinyu Body & Mind or send an email with an enquiry (official email:

3. Samurai Game® Report from 1st & 2nd November
The fourth Samurai Game® event took place at The Hagukumi dojo, in The Hague on the 1st & 2nd November just passed. The event was enthusiastically attended and participants were highly engaged in the three or so hours of challenges that took place during the game, and, equally engaged in the feedback sessions that took place the next day.
The Samurai Game® is quite something to try if you have not yet done so and, even if you have been before to a Samurai Game® event, each attendance will lead to a unique experience never had before. 
Whilst the Samurai Game®, designed by the late thinker, philosopher, writer, and Aikido teacher, George Leonard, is not Aikido as such, many of the approaches we learn in Aikido apply also to the Samurai Game®. George Leonard effectively took the ideas of Aikido and applied them to his life simulation game, only, with the setting of the Samurai generation of feudal times of Japan. 
It's really quite an experience, and the next such event has already been planned for the 21st and 22nd of March 2015
Samurai Game® in action. Participants prepare themselves.
I do advise you to keep that weekend booked in your agenda. More updates about it will be appearing on facebook here:
The official Samurai Game® can be found here:
It was furthermore a great pleasure, an honour, and with thanks, that we received, from Petaluma, California, worldwide representative and facilitator certifier, Lance Giroux, who, with more than 40 years of facilitation experience, made the last Samurai Game® event extra special and a whole lot of fun. 
Lance Giroux with me on the beach near The Hagukumi dojo, visitin The Netherlands from Petaluma, California, USA.
4. Lessons on Changing the Technique (Henka & Kaeshi).
On the weekend of the 18th and 19th of October just passed, I was invited by The Hagukumi Dojo to give two morning classes in a more 'seminar' style than just the regular classes I give. I'm not really the 'seminar' type, I must admit, and, I apologize if the people found me too much like another one of them. But, that is how I feel when I am at the Hagukumi dojo. I feel like just a regular student and not exceptional in any way. But times have changed, our teachers have passed away, and the Hagukumi dojo will always be the dojo I started out with when I first moved to The Hague in 1999, and, I've never looked to be a student of another dojo since then. So, with changing times, The Hagukumi dojo was looking for inspiration from the 4th dans that travel a lot for Aikido (namely, myself, and Silvia sensei). I went to Silvia's lesson on Saturday morning, and had basically a really good time with her and the other Hagukumi students. She showed us some of the movement that has inspired her Aikido and one could see that she'd really been thinking about this movement and how to put it to effective practice.
My two morning lessons revolved around the themes I've been working with and seeing from various senseis with regards to Henka and Kaeshi. Henka waza is applied when the tori wants to change from one technique to another. Kaeshi waza is applied when the uke takes over the lead from the tori and applies another technique to tori. Both are interesting concepts for the following reasons that I can think of right now:
1. Applying henka waza and kaeshi waza in Aikido allows us to be creative in our movement.
2. Henka is often useful when one technique doesn't work. Rather than be blocked by the uke, applying Henka allows us to continue to flow in our movement. 
3. Henka is often necessary as a philosophy of life. If we cannot adapt and change when there are blockages in life, we also lose momentum, grace and grounding.
4. Kaeshi is useful for ukemi. It gives the uke the feeling that he/she should always be ready to take over if the opportunity arises. This deviates Aikido from being just dance, and, puts it firmly under the category of martial arts. 
5. Kaeshi is often necessary as a real concept in relationships in every day life, at work, at home, with friends and family. Kaeshi effectively promotes good communication allowing freedom to interchange leadership and followership in conversations.
There are probably much more reasons why to practice henka and kaeshi. Needless to say, these are not commonly tested aspects in the yudansha exams. This, I find, to be quite perplexing because they seem, at least to me, to grasp the essence of what Aikido is really about.
Anyway, here is a result of our practice on that weekend. Two of the yudansha students, Martijn and Jahan, taking home with them some useful ideas of kaeshi waza from yonkyo to shiho nage, for example:
In all, it was a pleasure exploring this theme at the Hagukumi dojo, and, afterwards, I got some requests to show it again some time soon. It would be my pleasure to study these ideas again with my fellow Hagukumi students.
Domo Arigatou!
- Lawrence

5. Yamashima Sensei, Where are you?!!!
It's already November and Yamahima Sensei, 7th dan Aikikai is nowhere in sight in Europe right now. So, I do wonder. Well, looking at his Aikido agenda, it seems like the beginning of November is quiet, and hopefully he's having a break from travelling and going to his regular practices in Tokyo. Greetings, to the Nerima and Chiyoda ku Aikido friends.
However, we're excited to receive Yamashima Sensei soon.
At the end of November, sensei will be first in The Netherlands (from 19th to 23rd of November), and, from there, he will move on to South Korea, where a seminar will take place from the 27th of November until the 1st of December. A few crazy ones of us will also be flying together to Seoul to also enjoy that seminar.
For the Dutch program, you can find the schedule, locations and contact details here: 
For the South Korea program, you can contact the Korean Aikido Federation ( Email me if you're interested to travel to S.Korea for thsi event from The Netherlands (
And, to conclude this edition, here-below, a reminder of what you may have missed during 2014, Yamashima sensei's Aikido agenda this year: