Next week at Genryukan Dojo

We are very fortunate through our good friends at sister club Mushin no shin, to have Mick Pratt (4th Dan) visiting us next Monday. Mick is a Manager of the BAA National Aikido squad, so this is an opportunity not to be missed for all Genryukan students.

Below is a video of Mick competing in open kata competition last year in Kyoto;


Shoshin (Beginner’s Mind)


One of the most profound secrets of learning anything new is keeping what has been called a “Beginner’s Mind”.
What is Beginner’s Mind? Well part of it is described very well by the famous Zen story known as:

Empty Your Cup

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

So to begin, we must all empty our cups of all the preconceived ideas, concepts, techniques and methods that prevent us from receiving the new. This seems like a simple thing to do, but can be quite difficult in practice. At first we think we are emptying our cups but as we drink from the new knowledge we detect residual tastes of the “old”. Sometimes this new mixture can be sweet, like adding honey to tea, but sometimes even a little residue can curdle the whole mix, like adding lemon juice to milk. We must not only empty our cups, but make sure we have a “clean receptacle” so we may taste the “true essence” of the new knowledge.



Locks & Controls with Paul Smith

Tonight, Genryukan played host to Paul Smith from Mushin no shin Aikido in Cheriton.

Paul took the class through various applications of aikido locks and controls.


The emphasis was on moving uke as a single unit, and the lack of need for pain compliance.

The session was great fun and I think thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Our thanks go to Paul for taking the class.



In the dojo community, advanced students of aikido are called Yudansha (black belts), the beginners are called Mudansha (unranked and kyu ranks).You will not become a Yudansha only by improving your ability. It is also necessary to strengthen your mind and soul according to the way of the warrior. A Yudansha always gives more to the dojo than he takes. For him, the dojo is more than a sports center. It is a part of his life and the members are a part of his family.

Therefore, in the dojo, all the members are connected in a Sempai (Senior) and Kohei (junior) relationship. Everybody, even the teacher, is always a sempai and kohei at the same time. The sempai is the senior member despite his physical skills or the degree he might have. The kohei is the junior member. Even if he is more skilled and higher ranked than his senior, the kohei has to respect him as long as he lives. The senior takes care of his junior and always tries to be a guide to him on his way of budo. 

Shoji Nishio