Jul 2022 - Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance Newsletter

Your comments please

  • This Word file has a copy of the newsletter for providing your comments.

  • Please click on the above link, download the file and open it in Word.

  • Then, using the Tracking feature of Word, indicate any suggested changes.

  • When done, save the file and email it to .


News from Shin Kaze
July 2022

Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance is an organization dedicated to the practice and development of Aikido. It aims to provide technical and administrative guidance to Aikido practitioners and to maintain standards of practice and instruction within an egalitarian and tolerant structure.


By Claire Keller
Dojo-cho Bushwick Dojo, USA

Welcome to the July issue of the Shin Kaze Newsletter. In this issue we have cast a wide net and are presenting a broad spectrum of articles covering topics ranging from ways of training to what Aikido means to practitioners and instructors around the world. We also remember with gratitude our deceased teachers who taught and guided us along the Way.

Shin Kaze was created to provide a high-quality, inclusive and technically excellent organization for Aikido practitioners everywhere. As the newsletter helps us to connect, we hope you will feel moved to continue sharing your views and Aikido experiences. If you have submitted an article that was not published in this issue, rest assured that we are saving it for a future one.

We continue to aim to publish the newsletter on a quarterly basis, and by the way, we are still looking for that perfect name for it.

We hope you will enjoy reading this issue and feel free to share it with your fellow practitioners and friends.

Memorial Prayers and Offerings: Part 2

By Jo Birdsong Shihan
Dojo-cho Aikido of Austin, USA

Sitting down to write this article on the eve of Memorial Day, I wondered: do other countries have memorial days? The answer is yes, many countries around the world have memorial days and they are celebrated with flags, flowers, speeches and special events.

Different cultures and religions commemorate the passing of the departed. In Latin America many countries have a day or days to remember the loved ones who have passed. October 31 to November 2 is called "Día de los Difuntos" in Spanish and "Allhallowtide" in English. These dates encompass All Hallows' Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls' Day, respectively. These holidays can be expressed in a simple observance, such as a trip to a gravesite to place flowers, or very elaborate rituals and festivities. Regardless of the nature of the observance, commemoration of ancestors is integral.

Earlier, I asked how you or your dojo commemorate the passing of important people in your life or the life of the dojo. For example, this year to commemorate Akira Tohei Shihan (August 20, 1929 – July 2, 1999), our dojo (Aikido of Austin) is planning a ten-day training from June 23rd to July 2nd culminating in testing. Following the tests, we will go to the park where we trained outdoors during the height of COVID to eat lunch and share stories about Sensei.

I am very sorry about the cancellation of Framingham Aikikai's annual Kanai Shihan Memorial Seminar due to COVID. Let's hope David Halprin Shihan will be able to reschedule for later this year or next spring. I know that they will honor him in their hearts.

I would like to describe how I make a personal home shrine for prayer and food offerings. This is a way to pay tribute to the spirit of respected dojo friends and teachers who have passed away. We can set aside a specific place and time or times to honor them. Following the loss of a loved one, a formal practice of prayer and offerings can assist the grieving process and reinforce our connection with them.

The following description is a simplified way to make an ancestor, or memorial shrine.

Set the shrine up in a calm place in your home overlooking a pleasant view (not near the TV or front door). The shrine can sit on top of a small cabinet or a shelf, it doesn't need to be elaborate. On the shrine, there should be three small ceramic bowls. The left bowl is filled with fresh water each day. The middle bowl is refreshed with brown rice (can be uncooked) two to three times a week. The right bowl is refreshed with white sea salt at least twice a month. To the left and right of the bowls are single white candles. Photographs or objects of the person or people honored can be added.

It's helpful to maintain a regular time and way of practicing prayer and offerings. For someone who has recently passed away, prayers are offered two or three times daily for 49 consecutive days, then once a week on the same day of the week for a month, then once a month on the same day of the month, then once a year on the anniversary of the passing of the subject of your shrine. Many cultures designate one single day (or several days) each year to honor all of the important people who have passed.

The method of the prayers and offerings can be personalized. Since the prayer is a communication with the deceased, it is important that the communication contains nothing negative. Usually, the prayer has five elements:
  • Thanking them for what they mean to you; letting them know that you miss them, and you hope they are free.
  • Letting them know you are fine and they don't need to worry about you.
  • Vowing to honor their memory by helping others and taking care of the dojo.
  • Letting them know that you are open to receiving their guidance if they have any to offer (rather than asking them for specific guidance).
  • Letting them know "we are one, and we will meet again."
Most importantly, the prayer should come from your heart.

I don't want to dictate to anyone how to pray or stay connected to their loved ones or teachers. This is simply an offering to you based on my experience and learning.

Mental and spiritual aspect of Aikido

By Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan, 8th dan
Source: Aikido etiquette and transmission, by Tamura Nobuyoshi.

Progress together
Some practice regularly, but refuse to practice with beginners or those they consider "bad". Even if they progress technically, their technique will remain a technique that is imprisoned by technique. Let's not forget that Aikido is not only the path of body-spirit unity but, above all, the path of unity. If the spirit is stopped in its progression, everything stops. The spirit that rejects others, the spirit that does not know how to accept others, the spirit for which it is enough that only it progresses, that spirit that leads everything to the narrow domain of the ego, cannot open itself up to the state of union with the universe. Aite (see definition below) exists, therefore practice is possible. Practice exists, therefore progress is possible. When there is aite, reciprocal emulation causes each other to progress and share their joy.

With a grateful heart
Helping a less advanced practitioner requires a lot of patience and a lot of love. To understand the causes that hinder this less advanced practitioner, it is essential to push your own research always forward. There is no need to cling to force. In the world of Bujutsu, where one clings to the effectiveness of a technique and the power of its execution, the strength that allows one to overcome this state is even more important. Aikido practice should not be reduced to wanting to become strong in the sense of hurting one's partner or refusing to lose. In Aikido, power is a consequence of the application of the principle of the universe. Whoever, regardless of how strong he is, deviates from this principle, will not know Victory. Aikido is a method that studies the action of the principle of the Universe. Do not engage in anything that may impede this study.

Overcoming yourself
You have to overcome in yourself the spirit of anger, the spirit of laziness, the spirit of fear, etc. The greatest danger is pride! We must not forget that the moment the idea arises that our technique is good, all progress will end. In the constant flow of the world, to stop for a single moment is to arrive with a delay that is impossible to recover.

相手 (aite) is an interesting word in that it can have two meanings, which are practically opposites. It can be used to refer to an opponent and also a partner.

In Memory of Yukio Kawahara Shihan
August 14, 1940 - June 2, 2011

By R. Zimmermann Shihan
Dojo-cho Toronto Aikikai, Canada

Yukio Kawahara Shihan, 8th dan, was born on August 14, 1940, in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. He began his Aikido training at the age of 17 in Osaka, and was uchideshi under Bansen Tanaka Shihan, an early disciple of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Kawahara Shihan was an assistant instructor at Osaka Aikikai from 1961 to 1972 and became one of the senior disciples of Bansen Tanaka Shihan. He was dispatched by Tanaka Shihan to Taiwan in 1972 and served as resident instructor at Taiwan Aikikai through 1973. In 1973 he returned to Osaka Aikikai where he became assistant instructor under Bansen Tanaka Shihan. Kawahara Shihan also taught at various university Aikido dojo in the Kansai area of Japan and served as Shihan at Okayama Aikikai from 1975-1976.

Kawahara Shihan moved to Montreal, Canada, in 1975 at the invitation of F.I. Ishiyama Sensei (now Shihan). In 1977, he was promoted to the rank of 6th dan and Shihan and relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, to become the official representative in Canada of Aikikai Hombu Dojo, the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

Kawahara Shihan was the Technical Director of the Canadian Aikido Federation and the British Columbia Aikido Federation, as well as a member of the North American Shihankai, a group of Hombu-dispatched Shihan consisting of Y. Yamada, A. Tohei, T.K. Chiba, M. Kanai, S. Sugano, Y. Kawahara, Y. Kurita and I. Shibata.

Kawahara Shihan travelled extensively, teaching Aikido throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan and Europe. He was known for a traditional approach to Aikido and his powerful technique. His teaching approach placed great emphasis on basic technique, correct posture, precision and accuracy in training. He held the rank of 8th Dan and the designation of Shihan from Aikikai Hombu Dojo.

Kawahara Shihan passed away peacefully in Victoria, British Columbia, on June 2, 2011, after battling liver cancer. He dedicated his life to Aikido and was held in great respect and affection by all who knew him. He will be deeply missed in the Aikido community.

Preserving Authenticity in Aikido Training

by Yukio Kawahara Shihan, 8th Dan

This article was first published in the Fall 1985 issue of "Aikido Forum", a journal published by Victoria Aikikai.

The martial arts are a way of facilitating spiritual growth through training in martial techniques. Bujutsu, or martial discipline, is a physical education as a guide to the Way of Being. However, the traditional Japanese martial training developed out of the need for self-protection and overcoming the opponent. In this respect, I have a concern about Aikido students' attitudes toward martial training. I get the impression that some people neglect the martial aspect of the art and get carried away with the philosophical aspect. Without understanding the martial spirit inherent in martial training, some create a pseudo-martial art by simply seeking a feeling of harmony. However, you cannot dilute or disregard the strictly martial side of Aikido, including the manners by which you relate to your instructor and fellow practitioners.

Therefore, I wish to remind students of some basic manners on and off the mat, such as the following:
  1. Show respect to the instructor and senior practitioners. Some people seem to believe they are entitled to practice in their own way as long as they pay their fees. They forget that they are at the dojo in order to be trained.
  2. When visiting another dojo, introduce yourself and obtain permission from the instructor. Do not assume that permission will be granted automatically. The manner of presenting yourself to another martial artist must embody your utmost sensitivity to a potential life-or-death confrontation.
  3. Respect those with higher ranks even off the mat. Honour their expertise and accomplishments with respect, and try to learn from them as much as you can whenever you are with them. Similarly, do not treat teachers like buddies or peers and lose manners.
  4. Follow the instructor's directions during training. Do not engage yourself in unassigned instructions, personally modified (wrong) techniques and verbal or physical conflicts with other practitioners. Do not step on or leave the mat without the instructor's permission during class.
I want to ask local instructors to train their students carefully in these manners, and to strive to maintain the order and unity of the dojo.

There are places where people unquestioningly practice pseudo-Aikido which is useless as a martial art. I think there are problems with the way Aikido is interpreted and practiced. If local instructors were conscientious and respectful enough toward Aikido as a strict martial art, they would be more careful about when and whether or not to start their own clubs by judging their level of expertise and readiness as a martial arts teacher.

By strict martial arts training, I do not mean rough practice. What is most important is your attitude toward training. You need to constantly ask yourself: What is "budo"? Budo training is a serious business.

Learning a Japanese martial art is, in a way, learning the Japanese culture. Some people disregard or distort this cultural background of Aikido by claiming that this is Canada and they should practice the way they feel like. I wish to suggest that we strive to preserve appropriate manners and seek to promote authentic Aikido as a strong martial art in Canada.

Remembering Chiba Sensei
February 5, 1940 - June 5, 2015

By Liese Klein
Dojo-cho New Haven Aikikai, USA

On June 5, 2022, the many students and admirers of Kazuo Chiba Sensei marked the seventh anniversary of his passing. The following is an excerpt from "The Life-Giving Sword: Kazuo Chiba Sensei's Life in Aikido", the first book-length biography of this Aikido pioneer. The author is Liese Klein, founder and dojo-cho of the Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance dojo New Haven Aikikai, located in New Haven, Conn., U.S.A.

"The Life-Giving Sword: Kazuo Chiba Sensei's Life in Aikido" can be purchased through Amazon at this link.

...Kazuo Chiba was in many ways a perfect exemplar of what makes Aikido special - the art is an amalgam of the violent and the peaceful, a sword-based martial art included in wartime training that was also promoted as "The Art of Peace". Students of the founder ran the gamut of personality types, from the Buddha-like saints to the introverted scholars to the glad-handing ambassadors to the angry brawlers.

Chiba had all of these aspects to his personality, but he is best remembered in many circles for his intensity, and, yes, rage. One could call that an excess of martial spirit; others would call it an anger-management problem. Regardless, he was a self-described flawed human being, struggling with a painful past and navigating a career path with many challenging twists and turns.

In addition, his story highlights the duality of Japanese culture - or any culture, for that matter. Behind the smiling women in kimonos and cherry-blossom vistas, Japan continues to grapple with its brutal recent history and repressive, post-human present. Every time he stepped on the Aikido mat, Chiba personified the uncomfortable fact that Japanese culture has aspects both noble and savage.

In Memory of Akira Tohei Shihan
August 20, 1929 - July 2, 1999

By Jo Birdsong Shihan
Dojo-cho Aikido of Austin, USA

Akira Tohei Shihan, 8th dan, was the father of the Midwest Aikido Federation (MAF). He began training in 1945 under the famous master Koichi Tohei, 10th dan, then the chief instructor at Hombu Dojo.

In 1960, he became an instructor at Hombu Dojo and also taught at University clubs and various dojos throughout Japan until 1972, when the second Doshu authorized him to create the MAF and dispatched him to Chicago.

Tohei Shihan worked diligently to grow the MAF from his Midwest Aikido Center (MAC), founded in 1975. Sensei taught every class at his dojo and traveled regularly to member dojos where he held classes and conducted tests. Sensei taught and tested every member of the MAF/MAC whose membership had reached 2400 in 46 dojos at the time of his passing.

Tohei Sensei’s spirit and legacy lives on in his students who continue to run dojos and train new Aikido members throughout the U.S. His memory is also held close by all who trained with him in the United States and around the world. He taught us to respect O-Sensei, to train daily, set high goals, and follow Agatsu, victory over oneself.

Kaimyo is a name given by a Buddhist priest after a person’s death. Sensei’s kaimyo is "Morning Star". The sun is our most important star and when it rises, I think of Akira Tohei’s words, lessons, his generous attitude and our time together sharing the Art of Love: Aikido.

A. Tohei Shihan in action.

Finally back on the mat ...

© Aiki Comics by Orit Shilon - Used by permission.
Click on the image to visit the site.

Harmony with life

By Omar D. Bravo
Escuela Nacional De Aikido Zen Bu Dojo Aikikai, Venezuela

From its beginning in the mountains of Aizu, Aikido was an unusual invention. It collects ancestral ideas; it seems to me that it is the grandson of Wu Wei, an ancient Chinese concept literally meaning "effortless action", and of even older knowledge. Despite its not being something new (nothing is), Aikido is puzzling to many, laymen and experts alike.

Because of its tendency to aim at the invisible, Aikido is easily misrepresented; "it's a martial art" would be a good enough definition for a good listener, since it has some art and something martial, but those words don't even come close to representing its meaning.

Looking at the kanji that the Founder used to define his teaching at its most mature stage (and let's not forget that it went through previous stages like "Aiki Budo"), I'll start the other way around from what is normally done, that is to say from the last kanji "Do" which appears in the name of all the modern Japanese martial arts (Shin Budo), since that seems to me to be the key.

"Do" refers to a path, a simple path that leads to a specific place in the physical world, but more deeply refers to "The Way." In the inconceivable "Dao" of the Chinese philosophers, encompassing both nothingness and the absolute. "From the Dao came one, from one came two, from two came three and from three emerged the ten thousand beings," that is, the infinite diversity of the manifest universe.

With a bit of intuition we can understand the double meaning of what the Founder wanted to convey: the idea of a path, a small path (among many possible) that leads us towards the "Great Path" which is at the same time the pinnacle of a mountain, but just the beginning of another journey into the unknown (the road is eternal).

From there we can consider the other two kanji, which act as one: "Aiki, the harmony with the vital force." The path will then consist of a search for deeper levels of harmony with the life force, this force that animates our fellow practitioners, our guide (Sensei), the trees, the birds, the sea, that is, Life itself.

Aiki is cultivated through constant, humble, dedicated and sincere practice, always new, within the Dojo. Also a faithful application of the principles in all aspects of life.

Many approach Aikido in search of a sophisticated, exquisite form of Jujutsu, a cultural treasure, an aesthetic proposal or a healthy physical activity. It is possible and valid to search in these ways, because, ultimately, each shall find answers to the extent of their own understanding and longing.

A way of life

By Mariano Pedraza
Musashi Dojo – Asociación Samurai Aikido Kawai, Uruguay

My interest in the philosophy of martial arts began in my childhood. I had a passion for Japanese culture and their pursuit of perfection in everything they do but I struggled to find a practice I could identify with.

One day in 2008, my brother Martin called me very excited telling me that he had found an Aikido Dojo run by a dedicated martial artist and insisted that I accompany him immediately, and so I did. From the first day, I realized that not only did I find the martial art I was looking for, but I also found my teacher, Enrique Silvera, a person entirely dedicated to Aikido.

My opportunity

I am a practitioner who finds out every day how much he still has to learn, but I also feel that I have a lot to pass on.

My family and I recently moved to Punta del Este in Uruguay, a place with a special energy.

Everything worked out so we could have our dojo in our house. We made a practice space such that the energy in the Dojo helps our students improve their lives in a constant and definitive way. I want to transmit to my students that Aikido will always be with them when they need it most, as it has been for me.

Aikido - Despite Myself!

By Ricky Berger
Framingham Aikikai, USA

I am 62 years old. In college, in the 1980s, I took up kickboxing, a new full-contact sport. My dad was a WWII combat vet and a prolific street fighter and kickboxing seemed like a good way to prove myself to myself. My training partners included martial artists from many disciplines (all under the age of 23) including a friend who was related to the late, great heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano and another friend who was a Senegalese Kenpo champion. Boy, did I think I was cool. Then I met the Aikido teacher Paul Sylvain Shihan. Sylvain Sensei was really cool.

I took two university "Intro to Aikido" classes with Sylvain Sensei and trained at his dojo, Amherst Aikikai. Trying to understand how Aikido worked left me feeling alone and incompetent. At one seminar, the teacher came up to me and started screaming at me in Japanese (I think) and it really upset me. I didn't know what he was yelling about, or what I had done wrong, but I did not appreciate being yelled at. I did notice the man was much smaller than me. Sylvain Sensei saw what was happening and ushered the man away. Subsequently, I realized the man was Chiba Sensei, Sylvain Sensei's teacher. Thank God for Sylvain Sensei's intervention that day!

I left Amherst Aikikai - and Aikido in 1983 for almost 30 years. Aikido seemed too complicated for me, and I didn't think I could be martially smart enough to do it. I was too much of a brute. Why redirect energy, I thought, when I can just hit the source really, really hard. I spent the next 30 years hitting everything that came at me very, very hard. Despite some successes, this lifestyle proved draining. I did this because to live life any other way seemed too complicated to me, like Aikido! In essence, I returned to my default setting which I learned in my early life of Karate and from my dad. I love both, but still….

Beginning about a decade ago, my significant other - and far better half - convinced me to go try Aikido again after listening to me talk about how great Aikido is and how much I wanted to do it again. Because the universe generally unfolds as it should, my local dojo Framingham Aikikai is led by David Halprin Shihan (chief instructor) and Barbara Britton Shihan, two great teachers. When I gathered the courage to walk through that dojo door, both David and Barbara Sensei happened to be there. They asked about any prior Aikido experience that I had, and I told them about Paul Sylvain Sensei. They laughed and said "Oh, we knew Paul" and "You're in the right place."

I am now a 1st kyu, a seemingly insurmountable achievement. The process of training remains an enormous struggle for me. I am not as naturally talented as many of my friends. I was not blessed with great cardio. It takes me forever to learn things and I am very hard on myself. My ability to hit things hard doesn't appear to be an advantage in Aikido. I have wanted to quit many, many times. Sometimes I still do. I have spent hours and hours talking with David Sensei about life, music, Aikido, fighting, conflict, being a good person and many other things. I am blessed to have both David and Barbara Sensei in my life. By the way, Barbara Sensei is the most interesting combination of martial ability and personal warmth that I have ever experienced. If you don't know her, you should!

All of this brings me to the big question. Why do I still do this Aikido thing? It's because the lessons that I learn on the mat are life lessons as much as they are martial lessons. Aikido keeps trying to make me a better person, a more self-accepting person, a better person in the service of others, a person who more graciously accepts others as they are, and just generally an entity that blends well with the energy around me as opposed to an entity trying to disturb the natural flow of things. I practice because Aikido molds me, even if what I do on the mat needs a lot of improvement. It always will. That's okay because Aikido also teaches me that it's okay to not be perfect.

Will I make it to shodan and truly become a "beginner?" My ego wants that, but my ego (as I have learned) is kind of an idiot. The answer is I don't know when and whether this will happen for me. When I am thinking in a balanced way I know that doesn't matter. What matters is that I am learning to be better, despite myself!

Onegai Shimasu

By Morgen Willis
Framingham Aikikai, USA

Exactly half my life ago, my Sensei moved away in the night. We were preparing for tests, and at 17 years of age I was bracing for the year of intense study that would follow. There was barely enough time to earn my black belt before going away to university, and only then if I worked hard. We still don't know why our Sensei left; it meant that our small school was finished. It is only now that I am ready to learn again that fate has gifted me an Aikido dojo five minutes from my house. I have never practiced pure Aikido before. In childhood I was taught from a variety of traditions, and there is something of the familiar in this plain and peaceful space. My new teachers walk with kindness and grace.

I have just finished the introductory course at the dojo when the week of the Uvdale Texas school shooting hits us like an asteroid. I am an anxious ball of sorrow and fear. My 6-year-old attends public school, and I am an educator-in-training. Putting him on the school bus and telling him that he is good and kind and brave, that saving his friends is not his job, breaks my heart. Half a world away, bombs are tearing up lives and families and hospitals, and at home my youngest child remains ineligible for vaccination against this disease that has eclipsed our world since before her birth. And still, I decide that an evening being thrown and pinned sounds like exactly the thing I need to ground and center my soul firmly in my body.

Our Sensei opens class. We meditate, stretch, and my new friends teach me the names for movements I have wordlessly practiced since childhood, correcting my habits that are not appropriate to this style. Down on the mat I go. I am out of practice. When you pin someone, your knee goes in the armpit, and you bring your weight forward, you see? In the back of my mind, I remember that what I am learning might one day save lives in my classroom. I refocus my attention. When you twist the wrist, it is important to put your thumb on the knuckle of their ring finger, and then your hand goes over their hand (like so!) as you turn.

More urgent than learning throws, Sensei is very careful to teach me the rules to be a proper and responsive uke. Keep your elbow more bendy, this arm is too tight. Push back a little; don't anticipate. Keep your eyes on your partner as long as possible. Bring your body low, and then fall back.

I have always been told that the martial arts are a dance, but it is only now that I see this is a literal comparison. As in a ballroom, there is a lead and a follow, and they keep a sacred trust with each hold, twist, and throw. Thump. You roll like this, see? Now you try. It is so much easier to catch the energy and redirect it, but you have to be fast. My tailbone hurts less when I follow the roll and come to my feet. Keep those toes tucked under. The power comes from your center line.

"Some people think, 'oh, it's him or me' says our Sensei, "You, you do not think like this. When someone comes at you, you think 'oh! Let's practice!' " His face models mild and surprised delight.

For a moment I know that O-Sensei did not believe in a passive pacifism. He may have covered the teeth of his formidable fighting style, but a skillful hand can bare them again. He seemed to intend that Aikido have many aspects, that it should not solely be a self-defense system, nor a social order, a physical fitness regimen, or even an exclusively spiritual practice. Ancient techniques that would otherwise be lost to time are precious, but even conservationism is not the only goal here. Aikido is something more, something dynamic.

No; the virtue of pacifism is not in abstention, but in intervention. O-Sensei, too, lived amidst violence and fear, and he knew that peace has never been the natural order of our species. There is no virtue in abstinence if it can be outpaced by skillful, mindful intervention. He wove the pieces of Aikido together with purpose, binding wisdom to ability. It is better to meet the day than to hide.

We bow. Thank you, Sensei. Thank you, friends. In my soul, the third leg of an emotional tripod has been put back in place. I walk to the door. My heart beats. There is breath in my lungs, and my feet are on solid earth. An hour has passed and the world is no different, but I am.

I step outside. In the window of our dojo is a small piece of paper that I have never seen before. I read slowly.

"At the core of the practice of Aikido, more than anything else, is a continuous hard training and disciplining of one's body and mind in order to develop wisdom.
–Mitsunari Kanai."

Onegai Shimasu indeed.

Here and now with Budo

By Pasqualino Sbraccia
Venezuela Aikido Kokyu-ho Dojo, Venezuela

To this day, just as I have done since the first day I started in September of 1979 at the age of 16, I continue to enjoy the practice and study of some of the Japanese Budo and fighting arts.

Two of the hard memories of my life are the day I went to the dojo to request information and those first days of practice. Perhaps the challenge motivated me and helped me to overcome that hard feeling. That first step and the first classes are unforgettable. In the days of my youth, at school, there were plenty of bigger boys who wanted to impose their power by force in the classrooms. The blows flew, and at any moment one could be surprisingly received, or perhaps a dear friend received it, a situation that in most cases triggered a fight with these aspiring monarchs that surely ended with a torn shirt and being hit a few times due to the strength and size disadvantage.

I entered the dojo with the permission of my dear parents, aware of the economic effort they made. During the first months of practice, I frequently imagined some of those classroom bullies while practicing the techniques.

Despite my ignorance of the dojo's discipline and style, some divinity had led me to that dojo so that I could study a method of self-protection, which at the time was all I was looking for. But as the first few years passed, I also realized other benefits that the practice brought, and consequently I decided that this would be my path and I would never deviate from it. Every time I go to a dojo, I continue to live the emotion of the first day, and I practice with the same enthusiasm and strength of that day. I made a promise to myself to practice and study for life.

From that day on I traveled and practiced some Japanese and Chinese fighting arts, with empty hand or with weapons, but always taking care that the traditional aspect prevailed. The strict upbringing that my parents gave me kept me on my feet when training got tough, and therefore I easily adapted to its discipline and demands.

If I were asked which of the disciplines that I practiced or practice now has given me the most benefit, I would not know how to answer. I consider that each one has given me and gives me knowledge and benefits in the physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Of course, for one reason or another, I prefer some over others, perhaps because they adapt more to my personality or body, but in the end, for me they are all a family, they all relate to each other. Recently I was reading an article about the rainbow and its colors with its characteristics and properties. The article described Isaac Newton's discovery in the first decades of the 18th century when he managed to decompose light through a prism. Newton declared that there were seven colors, choosing the number seven for its broad virtues, but it was later found that there were dozens of colors and to each of which properties were applied over time. In the end all these colors were contained within a single ray of light. After reflecting a little on the subject, I observed that I was able to establish a similarity between the ray of light and Budo, and between the colors and the different fighting disciplines. In a manner similar to colors and their properties I assigned properties to the disciplines, which came from my experiences and the emotions contained in them.

Among the disciplines that I practiced and continue to practice, are Karate do, a Japanese style and two Okinawan styles, three styles of Iaido, Battodo, Taijitsu, Taichi, Hakutsuru Kenpo, Mantis style Kungfu, Kickboxing, two weapons of Okinawan Kobudo, Aikido and Aikijo. Talking about each would take up considerable space, but I would like to share some of my experiences in the practice of Aikido and Aikijo.

I practiced Aikido in Italy, and although it seems strange, being Venezuelan and having lived all my life in Venezuela, in 2004 for personal reasons related to the safety of my family, I sent them to live in Italy with the help of a dear uncle, and over the years they stayed there. I used to travel often and during my stay in Italy, I started looking in the small town where my family lived for a dojo of some "traditional" Japanese discipline, and I came to find an Aikido dojo, in which I practiced for more than two years in an interrupted way every time I traveled. In it, two Sensei taught class, one belonged to the Aikikai and the other came from the Iwama branch, I was nurtured by both and also by some senior students. For some logistical reason, when I entered the dojo, it had reopened for a short time and therefore there was a lot of emotion during practice. I remember that I enjoyed it immensely, and they enjoyed working in pairs with me, since no matter how hard I tried, Karate was always marked in my reactions, and they loved my way of evading, attacking, and "sometimes" avoiding being grabbed.

The main purpose of any practice of a Japanese fighting discipline, "self-protection", was always in the forefront of practice, since it determined the way one would fight in reality. I believe that in Aikido there is a tendency to create a lot of empathy between the participants in the class, perhaps this exchange of energies sets Aikido apart from what happens in a Karate dojo. You knew when the class started, but you didn't know when it ended, and for me, that was fine, I ended up dead tired, but the camaraderie was great and made me forget my fatigue.

I remember that once they announced a national seminar in the city of La Spezia, and luckily I was there, and as I have always done, I was the first one to say I wanted to attend. Everyone was surprised, but I was more so, because I was unaware of the commitment I had gotten myself into. Due to various personal issues, my classmates could not attend the seminar, and I went with Sensei and my family. There are no words to describe the first day. There were about 250 participants on the tatami, and when the breathing exercises were called, a semicircle was formed and everyone was directed towards Sensei, and as you must have experienced very well, the energy that moved there was impressive. It was such a dimension that my wife, when I finished, told me that while sitting in the stands she felt so much energy that she burst into tears. Also, it was impressive when Master Hiroshi Tada entered the tatami, his eloquence in explanations, his movements, seemed to float, and everyone who approached him did so with him. I confess that I met a "Super Teacher"!!!

For financial reasons, I participated in the training for three out of the five days the seminar lasted. For me it was enriching to move and move among that crowd of practitioners. I remember that my Sensei saw me during the movement session (I had 250 people moving freely around me) and he told me that I should defend my space and flow at the same time, and I did so. I still remember and feel that experience, that experience is not common for a Karateka. Then, during the development of various techniques formed in a group of ten practitioners, there was always the one who got more excited and made me feel that at a certain moment, he could divide my body into several pieces. This potential threat motivated me more.

I remember that Master Hiroshi Tada recounted his experiences practicing Karate with Master Gichin Funakoshi and that was very exciting and enriching. What a great character Master Tada!!! When the practice ended, he would stand to one side as we left the tatami, and his posture was exemplary, sublime and solemn.

Going back to the practices in the dojo, I loved Wednesday, since weapons were practiced, especially the Jo. I had the opportunity to obtain the sixth kyu by the President of Aikikai during that period. After returning to the dojo after an absence of more than two years, the masters had parted ways for some reason, to open a dojo each. I visited them and each one asked me to train with him, and I felt very sad and uncomfortable. I chose not to train to avoid possible misunderstandings with one or the other for I appreciated them both very much.

Anyway, speaking honestly, Aikido was creating a conflict with my practice of Karate. At that time I was practicing Shotokan style, and an internal discomfort was generated in me, since I had discovered and felt the benefits of circular movement, and liked to use it, but in the practice of Karate the movements were completely rectilinear. Both the Sensei and other advanced companions noticed and found it strange, creating an uncomfortable situation for me.

I continued on my own with Aikijo, until having the fortune to coincide fifteen years later with Rafael Pacheco Sensei, resident in the city of Maracay, member of the Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance organization. Talking with him and telling him about my experience in Aikido and taking into account the distancing established by health regulations during the pandemic, he invited me to practice Aikijo. You can't imagine how much joy I felt, in addition to always looking for a time to meet and share experiences. and discuss topics related to the arts of Budo. Today I continue to practice Aikijo under his guidance, along with my other disciplines.

I appreciate your attention and understanding of my words, perhaps my descriptions are impregnated with Kokoro, which in one of the interpretations that I know, refers to the enjoyment of the emotions that are generated when certain memories come to mind.

I extend to each of you a respectful greeting accompanied by the best wishes for health, happiness and prosperity… and lots of Budo!!!

A note about the author:
5th Dan ODKKK (Okinawa Dento Karate Kobudo Kyokai) – Shorin ryu Karate, Kobudo
5th Dan International Bujutsu Sosei – Taijitsu Shinkyoku ryu, Iaido Myata ryu
3rd Dan JKA (Nihon Karate Kyokai) – Karate Do Shotokan
3rd Dan ZNTIR (Zen Nihon Toyama Iaido Renmei) – Iaido and Battodo Toyama ryu
1st Dan ZNKR ((Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei) - Iaido Seitei
1st Dan Hakutsuru Kenpo Kenkyukai – Hakutsuru Kenpo
1st Dan WAKO (World Amateur Kickboxing Organization)
Sports Coach Level IV – Simón Rodríguez National Experimental University

Lorem ipsum

By/Por Author Name
Dojo-cho Dojo Name, Country/Pais

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?

Welcome to our most recent member dojos

We are pleased to welcome 5 new dojos from Latin America.

From Argentina we welcome Shinka Dojo, led by dojo-cho Adolfo Calatayu, godan, Meiyo Dojo, led by dojo-cho Horacio Plaza, sandan, Chikara Dojo, led by dojo-cho Esteban Lagiglia, nidan, and Aikido Santa Fe Miyazawa Dojo, led by Carlos Alberto Jara, shodan.

From Uruguay we welcome Musashi Dojo, led by dojo-cho Mariano Pedraza, shodan.

Shinka Dojo, Meiyo Dojo and Chikara Dojo are members of the Alianza Aikido Argentina, an organization directed by sensei Adolfo Calatayu, while Musashi Dojo and Miyazawa Dojo are members of the Asociación Samurai Kawai, an organization under the direction of sensei Enrique Silvera, godan from Uruguay.

Welcome all to Shin Kaze!

Calendar of Activities

The Activities page on the Shin Kaze web site has been updated. Please visit by clicking on the Activities tab on the Main Menu.

Here is a list of Upcoming Activities:
  • August 13, 2022:
    Aikido Seminar in Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Alianza Aikido Argentina

  • October 14, 2022:
    Aikido and Iaido Seminar in Toronto, Canada
    Toronto Aikikai

  • November 5, 2022:
    30th Annivesary Celebration in Montevideo, Uruguay
    Asociación Samurai Kawai

Book Corner: Technical Aikido

By Mitsunari Kanai Shihan, 8th Dan
Chief Instructor of New England Aikikai (1966-2004)

Editor's note: Starting with this issue we will be including a section in our Newsletter called "Book Corner", providing installments of books relevant to our practice. Here is the Preface to Mitsunari Kanai Shihan's book "Technical Aikido".


Aikido is...

At the core of the practice of Aikido, more than anything else, is a continuous hard training and disciplining of one’s body and mind in order to develop wisdom. In the event of a confrontation, beast-like behavior aimed solely at protecting oneself and injuring the opponent must be avoided at all costs.

To develop the determination to resolve a confrontational situation with omniscience and omnipotence (that is, using not merely technique but applying the entirety of one’s abilities and wisdom) is bugokoro (budo’s spirit/mind). One must realize that Aikido is neither more or less than the expression and embodiment of this bugokoro.

Yamatogokoro is what Aikido advocates.

Because Aikido includes the elements of bugi (combat techniques), it is inevitable that, at times, the Aikido practitioner must face the possibility and the reality of confrontational circumstances. If one seriously and continuously probes into the reality of coming face-to-face with an opponent in a show-down situation where one’s very existence is at stake, that is, where one’s survival means the opponent’s defeat or vice versa, and if one were to fully and openly recognize the inter-relation between oneself and the opponent, it would lead one to discover the most logical and efficient fighting techniques.

It is nonetheless true, however paradoxical it may seem, that in pursuing the perfection of this principle, one will eventually arrive at a harmonious state, born from the insight that no matter how strong one is, one cannot continue to exist if one tries to fight against all existence. This is the “Way" (or process) to reach harmony as advocated by Aikido.

One should bear in mind, however, while trying to understand or attain the principle of harmony, that without going through the internal transformational process that begins in the state of confrontation and only after working through a critical process eventually arrives at the state of non-confrontation, there can be no budo.

Under normal conditions, living things live in groups, not alone. A basic feature of social existence is the development of relative descriptions or comparisons, for example, strong versus weak. Each being tries to use its individual qualities to best advantage in light of its relative strengths and weaknesses. The process that eventually led to budo began with efforts to compensate for weakness by developing specific qualities (for example speed, or strength, or size, or facility in using weapons).

Therefore, under normal conditions, living in the world leads at times to confrontational situations, and developing increasingly effective techniques for facing such confrontations eventually leads to the realization that there is always someone or something bigger or stronger than oneself. Ultimately one realizes that the most effective defense is to merge with and become part of the opponent. This is how the principle of confrontation evolves into the principle of non-confrontation.

Yamatogokoro is the idea that the reason for developing martial arts is to protect those who are unable to protect themselves from aggressors. The proponent of this philosophy devotes himself to developing budo in order to protect the security of peaceful people from the victory of cruelty and violence. This idea is at the heart of Aikido.

It should be understood that Aikido includes a philosophy and ideas that go beyond martial arts defined as the practice of combat techniques. Therefore, martial arts is included within Aikido, but Aikido goes beyond martial arts. Aikido stands for the idea that budo, the principle of confrontation, and the principle of non-confrontation can be synthesized without compromising any of their fundamental essences.

However, it is sad to note that much of what is called practice has compromised these elements. What follows is a technical description of the physical principles which must guide true Aikido practice if it is to achieve total, rather than partial, realizations of this art.

Dear Dojo-cho and Supporters:

Please distribute this newsletter to your dojo members, friends and anyone interested in Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance.

If you would like to receive this newsletter directly, click here.


Do you have a great idea or suggestion?

We want to hear all about it!

Click here to send it to us.


In these difficult times and as a nonprofit organization, Shin Kaze welcomes donations to support its programs and further its mission.

Please donate here: https://shinkazeaikidoalliance.com/support/

We would also like to mention that we accept gifts of stock as well as bequests to help us build our Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance endowment.

Thank you for your support!

Facebook Page

Copyright © 2022 Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance, All rights reserved.

Our Mailing Address is:
Shin Kaze Aikido Alliance
58 Ritchie Ave
Toronto, ON, M6R 2J9, Canada

You can unsubscribe from this list .