Category: How to train

Fiddler Dan Violins and Workshop

Aiki insights: learning an instrument

I’ve enjoyed learning aikidō for over 25 years so far. It’s a fascinating art, filled with intellectual and experiential joy. I continue to be intrigued by the subtle nuances, the quest for perfection and the creative space afforded by taninzūgake (free practice with one or more training partners). Lately I’ve returned to the violin, which I played as a younger man. As I… Read more →

training online at home

Training online at home

We’re establishing good routines of regular training online from home while we’re unable to train together at the dojo. Below are some guidelines on how to set up at home to enjoy online training sessions safely. Choose a space with: adequate light for you to see what you’re doing and be seen on video adequate ventilation sufficient floor space to… Read more →

Happy New Year 2019

Happy New Year 2019

We started a new year of training on Monday with a fresh look at the role of uke. We also worked on tenchinage, sankyō and yonkyō. We are still terrible at taking group photos but the good news is that everyone’s aiki continues to improve. Looking forward to the rest of the dojo coming back from exotic travel and various… Read more →


One of the challenges for our Aiki Kids and Teens (not to mention adults) is mastering the Japanese terms and phrases we use to facilitate learning aikido. ‘Onegaishimasu’ is a common phrase in Japanese, used in everyday life, and an equivalent of ‘please’ in English. Here’s an easy way to practise: say ‘on air guy she muss’ emphasising only the… Read more →


Sword training and aikido

When the founder of aikido passed away in 1969, sword training at the Honbu dojo in Japan ceased to exist as a part of the regular curriculum. The importance and history of sword training in the study of aikido is discussed in this article by BiIl Gleason Sensei, chief instructor at Shobu Aikido of Boston. (~1300 words) At that time sword training… Read more →

Keyboard warrior

I’m currently learning to type and realising it’s a great analog for learning in the dojo. I’ve been typing for a long time, mostly with two fingers, and wanted to take my skills to the next level. It’s been tough because there is so much unlearning to do. Daily activities involve lots of repetitive mechanical drills to bed in a… Read more →

Aikido and MMA

If aikido is so damn good and superior how come we don’t see it in MMA? It’s a great question. You see the founder of aikido travelled Japan taking on many challengers in the development of his art, and his teacher honed his skills on the battlefield. In a way, aikido began as the very definition of MMA: that is,… Read more →

aikido gorilla

Oww… dude, don’t grab my wrist so hard!

I think we have all had that experience of the dojo ‘gorilla’ striking to injure or grabbing our wrist so that our hand turns red and then varying shades of purple! It’s discouraging and we wonder if we are really learning a martial art when it’s so difficult to perform the technique we are meant to be practising. So what’s… Read more →

Oak tree or bonsai?

Would your aikido survive in the wilderness, or is it a beautiful abstraction that requires a controlled environment? In this possibly postmodern age of aikido, it is important to take time to unpack our practise and approach. Here is a reflection from Danny James Sensei. Many of us studying aikido and other asian martial arts are familiar with bonsai, in which… Read more →

What’s the hurry?

David Lynch Sensei has had a long and remarkable career in aikido—55 years and counting. He’s also an accomplished writer and he has given me permission to reprint some of his editorials from the magazine Hakama, which he published for the aikido community in New Zealand between 1995 and 2005. On reading them it struck me how little issues in training change… Read more →

Keep looking under the basin

In mid-2012 I spent two months in the UK. While I was away my landlady renovated the bathroom. I wasn’t consulted on anything other than the timing. I returned to a new bathroom with every fitting replaced. There was just one niggly-naggly little problem: the new basin had a mixer tap and I couldn’t get more than a trickle of… Read more →

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