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Aikido at our place

Our Dojo

I am here, how wonderfull
You are here, how wonderfull etcetera
We are all connected for good and for worse
Once you realise
there is no enemy
but your fear of the enemy.
Now this is aikido
to connect and include
all life within your universal love.

Francisca van Leeuwen. Wednesday 30th of October 2013

 

In our dojo we discover the secrets of Aikido together because there are but not so evident. There is a nice story about a student of O Sensei. Aikido repeats constantly certain movements like scales in music. This student was bored and dared to ask O Sensei whether it wouldn't be better that he explained the secrets of Aikido.O Sensei replied that he was constantly showing the secrets of Aikido. Recent scientific research tells us that the brain is plastic by constant practice. Use it or loose it is the credo. Learning new things seems to be good against Alzheimer. That is promising for us who are getting old.

We train seriously but we also like a joke every now and then mostly by showing how not to do it or linking the movement to a situation we all know. In the beginning we train quietly and slowly, not spectacular at all. To prevent injuries we have special soft mats for beginners to learn the breakfall. But that is only the end of the art of taking breakfalls. It starts with an honest attack and a proper attitude to allow your partner to process the technic. Taking the breakfalls has also a spiritual meaning of taking the loss and get up again.

Wooden weapons - sword, staff and knife - feature regularly. These teach proper attitude, distance, and timing. This brings us a deeper understanding of Aikido. We also pay attention to Katori, the oldest known Japanese sword school. So we study the martial source and application of Aikido. We believe that an honest approach to combat teaches alertness, resilience and effectiveness. It also enables students to become more grounded and build inner strength (ki).

We discourage competition and displays of ego, though. Instead mutual respect and care are at the heart of what we do. We strive for a safe learning environment in which people can build on each others experience. Japanese etiquette is key to the spirit of Aikido.

Our dojo is inclusive and diverse with people from all walks of life, from professor to gardener, young and old, men and women. There is no jealousy but friendship.

Our dojo is a community. We share meals, watch aikidomovies, go to the cinema, an exhibition or a pop concert, whatever we find as mutual interests. See our blog.
We support each other also in difficult times. Aikido is a metaphor for life. You fall and you get up. It is of a certain importance that we have the privilege of training on fixed mats in our own plain but beautiful and clean space.

Twice a year we have exam day preceded by cleaning the dojo and ending with sharing what we brought for dinner.

Our foundation has her own aims, characterized by an open mind to all forms and masters of Aikido. Should you pass your exam for shodan (you then are allowed to wear a black belt) trained in our dojo, you will receive the certificate from the grandson of O Sensei, the so called Doshu all the way from Tokyo.