Kids class sempai

Usually during the school semester the senior kids can`t make the Wednesday early junior class. However since we are now on summer holidays a few of the older, more advanced kids have been coming to assist. Not only does it help to make the classes run smoother, but it also and more importantly, gives the juniors something to strive for. To see what hard work and years of traning looks like. To see the cool and confident Meiryukan Noda sempai.

More pics from Kyoto...

Aikido Ryu`s Ando Tsuneo shihan teaching the connection of basics to advanced techniques on Saturday, July 1st in Kyoto.

The flow of kotegaeshi

Having fun with iriminage - both sokumen iriminage and irimitsuki

Renshinkai`s Chida Tsutomu shihan teaching ushiro waza and katate ryote mochi

Canada`s Robert Mustard shihan taking balance in a relaxed but powerful way

Australia`s Joe Thambu shihan, although working with only one knee, showing dynamic and effective technique.

Mugenjuku`s Jacques Payet shihan controlling by moving from the center

Aikido Meiryukan`s Jim Dawes shihan assisting with some classes - shomen uchi shomen iriminage ichi

Break time! Meiryukan`s Kenji and Junya with long time friend Francis

Meiryukan Noda members and visitors - Yanai-san, Arai-san, and Katsukawa-san

Aikido Meiryukan`s Fukiage and Kumagaya dojo representatives, Saito sensei and Mikiko sensei.

Original kihon dosa to kanren waza plus some jiyuwaza done well by the guys from Meiryukan.

Aikido Meiryukan`s Jim Dawes shibucho demonstration on Sunday, July 2nd at the Kyoto Butokuden.


Aikido Meiryukan Kumagaya

Aikido Meiryukan Kumagaya club training on Sunday in the Kumagaya Higashi junior highschool judojo. A fairly new location with a strong up and coming member base.

The kids class is from 2:20 to 3:20 and adults are from 3:30 to 4:30. Visitors are always welcome!

Summer tests are finished

The Aikido Meiryukan kids and adults summer tests are all finished. 

Results are up on the Meiryukan homepage. Check with your instructor for the password.

Congratulations to all who passed!

This time around we had a lot of first timers. Students who have joined within the last 6 months or so. The first test syllabus isn`t all that diffcult. The challenge however is the hard work leading up to test day. It has been really hot and humid, and going over and over the basic movements and hundreds of ukemi took concentration and effort. They worked hard, progressed and earned their blue belts. Awesome job!


型 VS 形

Albeit almost 20 years in Japan, I am still a beginner to the language. However, the kanji intrigue me, especially when related to budo. 

Take 型(KATA) for example - as in our set techniques or kata geiko. This kanji, although correct, is more of an empty mold, like an ice cube tray, producing colourless replicas solely based on the preset outer shape or form. Whereas 形(KATA) - again fundamentaly used in the same way, has such a deeper meaning. Ironically you need to see what is within the character to understand. If you look at the left part of the kanji, it resembles the gateway or tori you see before entering a Shinto shrine. The right side being 3 lines written from top to bottom representing 天(heaven)、地(earth)、人(humankind). You could interpret 形 as simply the start of something more meaningful, the beginning or first step to harmony between all.

Another example that I am sure many of you are trying to find meaning to - Let`s take the unusual characters(pun intended) from 養神館. Most of us know that the first two,  養神 basically mean to cultivate spirit, to develop, to strengthen ourselves so we can be better people, and in turn be an assest to our families, society etc. It is that 3rd kanji that puzzles me... 館 is supposed to be the facility, house or place where we can do this growing, where we have the bond and support to improve ourselves and our peers as a whole. 

I live in a 館, the address ends with 弐番館(#2 HOUSE). It is owned by a landlord, rented to me by an agent, and taken care of by keepers. As long as rent gets paid, they do not care whether we are here or not. There is no connection, they are not at all invested in our growth or well being. I am merely another tenant. 

Instead however, If you look at the kanji for HOME→家, it is also the first character in FAMILY→家族. Even in the English language there are numerous quotes differentiating house and home. "A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body" - Benjamin Franklin, "Home is where you feel at home, and are treated well." - Dalai Lama

So back to "KATA" VS "KATA". 型 is similar to HOUSE, 形 is like HOME. What is most important in our technique? The outside form? The exact angles? The direction of fingers and toes? Things we could without even stepping on to the tatami, without even being in direct contact with others, just copy from books, YouTube and so on? OR the stuff that can only be felt? the bond between teacher and disciple? the connection between students? the energy within? the 合気(harmony)? 

"A house is made of bricks and mortar, but home is made by the people who live there". - M.K. Soni















ushiro waza in Sakado

Today at Aikido Meiryukan Sakado we went through 3 behind both wrist grasp techniques.

ushiro waza ryote mochi hijishime ni

The first half of this technique is the same as the 3rd kyu ikkajo. The point was not to try and catch the elbow to early. Lead the partner forward and catc while pivoting. We also worked on breaking the grip.

ushiro waza ryote mochi sokumen iriminage ni

Similar to ikkajo however the twisting and turning while breaking the grip brings problems. Don`t think about moving one part at a time, lock your arms and just spiral down from your center. The form will naturally come.

ushiro waza ryote mochi kotegaeshi ni 

The main focus was on leading our partner with the hand they are gripping. Not trying to catch and pull.

All these above techniques, however new to some of todays members, have parts in other basic techniques. If you understand the riai within the movements, it all just comes down to putting the pieces together.





必ず稽古前後に水分補給をお願いします。 また、稽古中のマスクは熱中症のリスクが高くなります。それを踏まえ、個人の判断で着用ください。




















Nagareyama 7/8

A few visitors at last Saturday`s Meiryukan Nagareyama class. We first went through the kids 1-2kyu techniques - katate mochi nikajo osae ichi, shomen uchi sankajo osae ni, shomen uchi kotegaeshi ni, katate mochi hijiate kokyunage ni

Focused on one point per technique. The raising of the hand in nikajo, the 5th and 6th movements in sankajo, the position before the throw in kotegaeshi, and the breaking of the grip in hijiate.


A few pics from Kyoto

Payet sensei classes Friday morning

Thambu sensei classes Friday afternoon


A bit of sight seeing Sunday morning


Hotel from Thursday to Sunday

Relaxing after training

Demonstration on Sunday

More to come...