We were invited by Gergely Csák to teach an aikido class at his Zumm Aikido Dojo in Budapest on Monday the 14th of July 2014. We had a fantastic time and his students enjoyed our training a lot. Everyone was eager to learn from us. I enjoyed the interaction very much. It was a hot summer evening, so you can imagine that we had a nice one and half hour workout.. 🙂
The Zumm Dojo has a nice atmosphere and their aikidoka are very welcoming and lovely people to train with. If you live in the 13th District of Budapest, we highly recommend you to visit his classes. Here is their website for more information: http://zummaikido.hu/
We cooled down after class with a nice glass of beer. Here is the proof..!
Last Friday, before the snowfall, we went to visit Zsolt Szeltner Sensei’s Shobukan Dojo in the city of Eger. The city of Eger has a colourful history. It is known as where the Turks were finally defeated. It’s also a very pretty town. Well known for its castle, its wines, restaurants and thermal pools, we were expecting a treat, and so it was. I had met Zsolt Sensei at Matti Joensuu’s Summer Camp some months ago and have since watched Zsolt Sensei’s dojo videos on Youtube. Part of the Eger Athletic Center which is located on the grounds of a very large park, the dojo inside was also very spacious. There were 16 of us on the mat, yet there was room for many more.
The dojo members all seemed very flexible, eager to learn, and had great attitudes. Zsolt sensei’s aikido is stylish and it was a pleasure to receive instruction from him, as well as to watch his demonstrations of smooth technique. As a teacher, he was very relaxed, cordial, and precise in his instructions. He taught us a series of inviting and effective techniques from the mune-mochi attack (chest-lapel grab). In the final half hour, I was also able to share my own ideas of ‘aikido in 3-D’… In short, I had a lot of fun!
If you have never been to Eger in Hungary, you are in for a treat. Be sure to put Zsolt’s dojo on your schedule. It will surely be an additional highlight of your trip. You will find aikido training there a very pleasant experience, and a very nice workout too! The next morning, I had slightly sore muscles but it was the kind of pleasant soreness that makes you feel like having a body is worth it. Unfortunately, I teach aikido mostly only to kids these days and so I don’t often get a chance to train as much as I used to, so it was a very nice change of pace to be on the learning side again. The Eger dojo reminded me of those happy days when I used to train everyday. I would definitely repeat the experience! (Also: A Big Thank You to Marti who interpreted for me!)
Zsolt Sensei and members of Shobukan Dojo, Domo Arigato!
Life can sometimes seem heartless. Stressors can come from work, from family, from unresolved trauma. We might show up to aikido training feeling afraid, angry, frustrated, depleted, not knowing what to do. Some of us look to leaders to save us, to show us how to live.
Aikido takes a different tack. It says: Look inside. Breath. Meditate. Find your inner strength. You could ask yourself, for example: ‘What’s bothering me? Is it important? Can I open myself to this moment and listen to where the universe is right now?’ The solution to my troubles may be only a heartbeat away, in the sound of a bird calling or the wind whisking it away..
When we find our psychological center and move from it, we develop a sense of calm and peace in all we do. We stand differently, walk and talk differently, and a quiet confidence arises, in spite of the stressors around us.
Have you ever simply listened to your mind, like how you might listen to your heartbeat? It goes on its own way, if we leave it alone.
Take a moment, then, when you’re alone, and watch your mind at play. Give it a little freedom, but not too much. Above all, don’t react to the sensations your thoughts create. If you can develop your equanimity to that degree, you’ll find your life filled with increasing peace.
When asked ‘what is the greatest good for families?’, the Buddha answered: ‘peace’. A peaceful family is a happy family and their days and nights are filled with love.
Aikido is the art of making connections. With our bodies, with others, with our perceptions, with the cosmos. We learn to live in a more than perfect world. If no one can teach us sensitivity, we can, at least, create the conditions for its emergence.
Enter the aikido dojo.
Aikido. The art of harmony. We take our shoes off. Wear a simple uniform to establish equality. We bow and start to move / our bodies in unison. We stretch to slowly awaken the body, to prepare it for the rigours of connection.
Connection is not easy. But it ́s simple. We know what we want. A feeling of togetherness. Freedom from loneliness, freedom from struggle, freedom from desire. Just to be free to move without any compunction, like we did when we were kids. Flying to the moon and conquering space on tip-toe, reaching and leaping..
But aikido is an art form in time too. And the impulse to move is more basic than life. It takes us all inside its dream, plants, animals, planets, stars and streams, clouds and rivers on their water-course way – to heaven and back. Like music’s abstractions, ethereal movements segue when we’re discussing art.
But how will I choreograph this elaborate dance of love to move with you? I will have to think it through, pause to feel the connection and the theme, running through..
One of the highlights of my visit to New Zealand. Pictures by artist/photographer Diane van Reijn. Reconnecting with my ex-Professor of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jungian archetypes Eric van Reijn. Happy moments caught on camera. In a split second, as I was about to start posing, Master Cat sat in front, foiling my plan. My master refused to budge. I had met my match..
Here are some pictures of a recent visit to the Tomosei Dojo in Berlin. Peter Saager (Dojo-cho) was instructing. He concentrated on exercises that promoted relaxation and flexibility in movement, using the central axis and the breath. The dojo atmosphere was wonderful, and our visit was one of the highlights of our trip to Germany. If you are ever in Berlin, be sure to check out his dojo.