Seminar with Jan Nevelius

Aikido at its best: in his weekend seminar in Oberursel, Jan Nevelius taught challenging techniques of the Japanese martial art and their underlying ideas. The exceptional teacher from Stockholm followed the invitation of the Aikido Dojo Oberursel to celebrate our 5th anniversary. 50 participants from all over Europe travelled to the two venues at Bad Homburg and Oberursel to improve their skills and face the challenge of how to subtly neutralise attacks under the instruction of the Swedish teacher.

Lead through connection
Lead through connection
Jan Nevelius is one of the few European aikidoka who was awarded both the rank of 7th dan and the "shihan" title of the international Aikikai federation in Tokyo. This federation's history goes back to the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. It was a great honour for the Aikido Dojo Oberursel that Jan Nevelius followed the invitation to teach in the Taunus foothills. The focus of the seminar was on the inner principles of the non-violent martial art, how to develop a feeling for the attacker's intentions and how to influence the movement from this understanding. Even though the techniques are subtle, the effect is impressive: the attacker loses balance without sensing any interference. Depending on the situation they either end up pinned to the floor, or rolling away or taking a high fall.

High fall through entering
High fall through entering
Jan Nevelius has been practising aikido for over 40 years. He spent some of these years at the aikido headquarters in Tokyo which is under the management of the founder's descendants. Nevelius is head of the Vanadis dojo in Stockholm which is a popular place for aikidoka from all over the world to exchange and practise. He puts his focus on an alert connection between the partners, freedom of movement, and an alert and safe way of accepting techniques. In addition to aikido, he practises reiki and qi gong, and he teaches stress management and Asian arts of healing at Stockholm university. Recently, he published "Vaken vila", a book on creating awareness in daily life.

50 participants from all over Europe
50 participants from all over Europe
"I am very happy that for the first time my teacher and friend Jan Nevelius came to Oberursel to hold a seminar", says Klaus Messlinger, head of Aikido Oberursel. "International exchange is an integral part of aikido, following the founder's wishes. This not only creates a more versatile training experience, but also lays the foundation of lasting friendships. Jan Nevelius has been my inspiration for almost 20 years, particularly so because he keeps researching and developing aikido in a way that makes each seminar a unique experience. His role model was one of the reasons why I decided to create Aikido Oberursel 5 years ago, so I genuinely hope that he will return next year."

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.

 

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.

 

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