5 Years – My Thoughts on the New Year

This New Year has a special meaning for us: in a few days, 5 years ago, we conducted the first class at the dojo. It is a good occasion to think about where we are today and how we got here. Since the beginning, 70 people joined our dojo, of which 50 are still with us – this is a marvellous development that I had not anticipated in January 2014. Since that date we organised 60 seminars and special events which brought many people from all over Europe to Oberursel.

Inauguration with Roberto Martucci
Inauguration with Roberto Martucci
But pure strength in numbers has little relevance to me. I find it much more important that the right people have come together whose enthusiasm and dedication created this community. A community that practises with sincerety and perseverance, while keeping an open mind and having fun. The aiki way is not an easy one, but eventually it enables us to better perceive ourselves and others, to develop a sense for the dynamics of conflicts and how we can peacefully reconcile confrontations. New beginners and visitors experience this first hand when they step on the mat, receiving a warm welcome and being treated with respect and patience.

Newspaper article
Newspaper article
A valuable element of our dojo life is the regular exchange with aikidoka from all over the world who come to visit us or whom we meet elsewhere. These our friends help us to scrutinise our certainties, they challenge us and allow us to find new perspectives on familiar routine. I am much obliged to both teachers and participants of our past events for their passionate support of our joint research.

First events 2014
First events 2014
Our anniversary year 2019 will be particularly ambitious: as an exception to our usual pattern we will organise 6 weekend seminars and 3 special events with teachers who are very close to my heart and who have over the years espoused the development of our dojo. It is a challenging schedule, but we hope to return something to the aiki community which has contributed so much to our growth and well-being over the years.

I would like to thank my teachers who have guided and advised me over the years, for sharing their research and helping me connect some of the dots of the greater picture (many more still to be connected): in particular Endo Seishiro shihan, Jan Nevelius shihan, Jorma Lyly, Mouliko Halén, Ulli Kubetzek and Antony Pinchbeck.

Ulli Kubetzek
Ulli Kubetzek
A very special and heartfelt "thank you" goes out to all the people who supported me at a time when it was unclear whether the dojo would be sowing the seeds of a thriving community. First and foremost I would like to thank my long-standing teacher Ulli Kubetzek who taught me and guided my research for over a decade, who introduced me to the aiki family, later encouraged me to start my own group and whose example is always present in my way of teaching and researching. I am deeply obliged to Daniel Slamal and Rainer Grebner of TV Weisskirchen who welcomed me to open the dojo as an department of their traditional sports club, which had previously not offered any kind of martial arts. Christoph Stangier organised our very first and very affordable set of tatami, and Roberto Martucci taught the inauguration seminar.

TV Weißkirchen
TV Weißkirchen
Many more people—from the club, from connected dojos, friends and family—have stood at our side, and they will always have a place in my heart. I am particularly grateful to my wife without whose unending patience and support I would not have managed to come this far.

I sincerely hope that this group will be the ignition spark for many decades of joint development. A happy New Year and good connections to you, our friends, and your families!

Klaus Meßlinger

 

Seminar with Alvaro Campo

Advanced techniques and improvisations were at the core of the seminar that Alvaro Campo taught at Aikido Oberursel last weekend: how to sense the intention of the opponent and how to neutralise the attack through an alert connection and spot-on timing. People came from all over Germany and several European countries to practise their skills under the supervision of the Stockholm-based teacher. Notable fact: the majority of the 28 participants were women.

Hip throw
Hip throw
The non-violent martial art Aikido is based on the principle of the "unification of forces", i.e. the attacker is not blocked or incapacitated by a counter attack but guided through a subtle movement that releases the force from the attack into thin air. In most cases, this leads to a pin or a roll or even a spectacular-looking high fall. It requires years of practice to develop the skills for this art, but even a beginner can learn the basic principles in a relatively short time. In the four classes of the seminar, the Swedish teacher showed how those principles can be applied on every level, giving a large number of application examples.

Alert connection
Alert connection
Alvaro Campo teaches at one of the biggest dojos in Stockholm and is well-known across Europe. He holds a 4th dan of the international Aikikai federation. 20 years ago he started practising in New York, and has since followed world-renowned teachers from Japan and Europe. Alvaro's focus is on the ambiguity of technique and improvisation and how the two might possibly come together. By practising kata forms and free form alongside he explores the differences between the two and finds ways to incorporate one into the other.

High fall from a wrist lock
High fall from a wrist lock
"We are very happy that Alvaro Campo accepted our invitation to teach his first seminar in the state of Hesse", says Klaus Messlinger, head instructor of Aikido Dojo Oberursel. "In the seminar he showed us how important it is to develop a good sense for the dynamics of the attack, and how one can 'feel' the attacker's mind. The participants appreciated his relaxed and humourous way of teaching and the easy-to-grasp explanations – even if the techniques themselves were not so easy to master."

If this made you curious about aikido: regular classes are Mondays from 18:30–20:30 at the Landgraf Ludwig school gym in Bad Homburg, Thursdays from 20:00–22:00 and Sundays from 18:00–20:30 at the TV Weisskirchen club house in Oberursel. For a free trial class come in comfortable sports gear; we practise barefoot. Find out more in the FAQ section.

Please visit the image gallery for impressions from the seminar.

 

Dojo in Bad Homburg

From 5 November we teach aikido classes at our new dojo in Bad Homburg. The gym of Landgraf-Ludwig-Schule is located right in the city centre, opposite the castle. Every Monday between 6.30 and 8.30 pm, women and men of all ages are welcome to practise the non-violent martial art with us (starting from age 14).

Gym of Landgraf-Ludwig-Schule
Gym of Landgraf-Ludwig-Schule
Aikido is a martial art which in the 20th century was developed from a number of old budo traditions. It strives to develop body and mind with the goal to defend against attacks without hurting the attacker, putting reconciliation before victory. This martial art becomes more and more popular as it improves concentration, furthers the capacity of reaction and flexibility, and helps practitioners to stand their ground in conflict situations. Respect, politeness and mindfulness are important pillars for our studies. We practise empty-handed, sometimes using wooden weapons to show movement principles. In aikido there are no competitions, but gradings and a great number of seminars.

Friendly atmosphere
Friendly atmosphere
"As a fast growing dojo with about 50 members we offer classes three times a week, two in Oberursel and now also one in Bad Homburg", says head instructor Klaus Messlinger, 3rd dan of the international aikido federation Aikikai Tokyo. "The impetus for branching out was that the gym where we used to have our third class is going to be torn down in November. After searching around for quite some time, we found the gym of Landgraf-Ludwig-Schule to have a vacancy. This is particularly exciting for us, because now we can offer our classes to a whole new audience in the discrict town of Bad Homburg."

In the centre of Bad Homburgs
In the centre of Bad Homburgs
On two consecutive Mondays, 5 and 12 November, we start our routine by teaching special beginners' classes at the regular times from 6.30 to 8.30 pm. Each day is a unit in itself and can be attended independently. There is no fee for these trial classes.

Aikido is suitable for both women and men. In Bad Homburg admittance is from age 14, and no special previous experience is required. For the beginners' classes come in comfortable sports gear (track suit trousers & t-shirt with sleeves) if you don't have a judo gi; we practise barefoot. Classes are taught in both German and English. Find out more on our FAQ page.

 

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