Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

2016 Gasshuku with Numata Sensei (7th Dan)

June 9, 2016

Yokosuka 2010 #5

AKI Wellington invites you to join us in a weekend of training with Numata Sensei, who is visiting from Japan.

Hideo Numata Sensei (7th Dan Aikido, 8th Dan Iaido) is a leading exponent of the free-flowing, research style of Aikido, as taught by Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan. Numata-Sensei has his own dojo in Tokyo. This will be Sensei’s 8th trip to New Zealand, and he comes as Takeda Shihan’s representative.

The seminar is open to all aikidoka.

Class times
Saturday, 16th July (9:30 am to 5 pm + dinner/social afterwards)
Sunday, 17th July (9:45 am to 4:30pm)

Riai Wellington City Dojo, 132 Hutt Road, Kaiwharawhara, Wellington (click here for directions).

Both days: $70/$50 (waged/student)
One day: $50/$35 (waged/student)
One session: $30/$25 (waged/student)

For queries or to register:
Mike or Adrian.


2012 Gasshuku with Numata Sensei (7th Dan)

October 24, 2011

Continuing our healthy link with AKI in Japan, and our strong relationship with Numata-Sensei in particular, we hope that  Numata-Sensei will be able to join us for the weekend of 18-19 February for a Gasshuku (aikido seminar).

Hideo Numata Sensei (7th Dan) is a leading exponent of the free-flowing, research style of aikido, as taught by Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan. Numata Shihan has his own dojo in Tokyo. This will be Sensei’s 7th trip to New Zealand, and he comes as Takeda Shihan’s representative.

For a book about Takeda’s unique style see Ralph Sensei’s book on our website.

The seminar is open to all aikidoka.

Class times
Saturday, 18 February (9am-5pm + dinner/social afterwards)
Sunday, 19 February (9am-4:30pm + BBQ afterwards)

Chartwell School, Chartwell Drive, Crofton Downs, Wellington (click here for directions).

$80 (full), $50 (one day) or $40 for one session.  Discounts for Victoria University students are available.

For queries or to register contact:
David Sutton or Adrian.

AKI Australia 30th anniversary gasshuku with Takeda-shihan

October 9, 2010

Three of our club members were honoured to represent AKI, NZ at AKI Australia’s 30th gasshuku in Sydney 1-3 October, 2020.

Takeda-shihan (8th dan, head of AKI)  came from Japan for the celebration and led the gasshuku. The 120 aikido-ka that attended were priveleged to join classes led by the sensei that travelled out with Takeda-shihan (Satoshi-sensei, Oka-sensei and Yamamoto Hiroshi-sensei) plus the top ranked sensei from AKI AU.

Click here for some photos from the event.

Taking direction – AKI NZ’s seminar with Ralph Pettman-Shihan August, 2007

August 22, 2007

We’re so grateful for the networks we have and the aroha (care/love) we get from our aikido whanau (family).  The Victoria University crew were happy to have our Director, Ralph Pettman-Shihan, back for a weekend seminar in early August, 2007. Meanwhile, one of our members was off training with Takeda-Shihan and Numata-Shihan in Japan!

With a characteristic roar of power in our funekogi warm-up exercise, we knew our and we were in for an energy-filled weekend.  We had three classes with Ralph at our home dojo at Victoria University over the course of our weekend, plus an early technical session on the Sunday morning.

For some of our new members, it was their first chance to train with Ralph.   For others, it was just like old times – as if we’d picked up a conversation that we’d just left off!  And for two of our members it was also time for a grading under Ralph’s examination. Congratulations to Naomi and Craig!

Always the busy academic, Ralph took time to mark work from his Masters students and edit a manuscript on the globalisation of god. And as Wellington prides itself on its coffee, Café Mode was the perfect spot for Ralph to catch up with friends and colleagues.

To top the weekend off, we went for yum cha at the Grand Century.  Streams of assorted plates, bamboo baskets billowing steam and the restaurant’s clamour was perfectly suited to a group of people dedicated to experiencing what the world has to offer and moving with our environment.

yum cha

Next major event: Gasshuku with Numata-sensei in February, 2008! For club news and events at other clubs see our notices.

See our regular class times.  It’s a great time to come and give aikido a go whether you’re new to aikido or an experienced aikido-ka.

From Japan to Wellington: AKI NZ’s seminar with Numata-sensei March, 2007

May 24, 2007

This year saw Numata-sensei visit New Zealand for his fourth visit in as many years, to join in our annual gasshuku (seminar).  There were many happy smiles of recognition as well as a number of new faces in the group.  Below are some impressions of attending a seminar with Numata-sensei from one of the club’s core members, Naomi Yuhara.

I’m a relative new comer who has trained in aikido for 2 years.  I came to New Zealand in 2001, and was a student for a while and now work at a childcare centre in Wellington.  Since I met Ralph Pettman at Victoria University of Wellington, I’ve come to love aikido and enjoy training with my friendly, caring mates at the club.

This is the third time I’ve attended a seminar with Numata-sensei.  I’d only just started training in aikido a few weeks before the seminar in 2005, so I felt a bit nervous about going.  But my senior mates encouraged me, “Don’t worry, we’ll look after you”.  Because my mother tongue is Japanese, I could really appreciate what Numata-sensei said and meant, at a different level to the understanding I might have gotten from an English explanation.  By 2006, I had more experience in aikido, and I was able to welcome Numata-sensei back and was really positive about attending the seminar.  His warm smile and kind words helped me learn, but I noticed that understanding it in my head is different from doing aikido!  In 2007, many of the same faces returned to the seminar with Numata-sensei and the seminar started with a relaxed mood.

At the beginning of the first day, we learnt using boken (wooden swords).  It helped us to learn how to move and to keep centred.  We also learnt how aikido movements relate to katana (swords).  Done properly, the good metnal state of zanshin (relaxed but engaged) is achieved at the end of a katana movement.

In the afternoon of the second day, we learnt about the protocol for embukai (demonstrations). Each dojo performed their Aikido, and we could also see Numata-sensei’s Aikido. It was the first time I’d seen an embukai.  It was an extraordinary experience.  I was fascinated by the dignity of Numata-sensei’s aikido.

Once we had bowed out, we met up and ate and drank together, as we often do after trainings.  There were so many good aikido-ka from the seminar to talk with about the seminar and investigate the ideas of aikido. As Ralph sys, “We need to search out the ‘do’ part of aikido by ourselves”.  Indeed, that is what we are doing!


After the seminar, I tried to remember what we learnt in the seminar, not only in dojo but also at work.  I practised some of the basic movements with the preschool children. “Stretch your arm like this…”  When I showed them how to do it, they were so good at copying.  It was such a fun time.  These children are so open-minded to learning and growing well.  And I’m learning something from them everyday.

Every year, when Numata-sensei comes, I reflect on what I have done so far, and I can also see how long I will be able to go on doing aikido in the future.  I deeply appreciate encountering aikido and my aikido mates who take care of me:  To open my mind and learn well, to keep my centre and to care for each other.  The philosophies of aikido link to world peace and contribute to my happiness.  There are a lot of things to learn, but I like to do it with my head high and to make progress.

Naomi’s impressions capture how Numata-sensei has helped us to build on the lessons he has introduced over the past few years, and which have helped us make progress as individuals and as a club.  He has shown us how to work on good posture, centred movement and blending ideas from weapons work into our training.  In addition to sharing his knowledge on how to improve and expand our aikido, sensei encouraged us to share ideas between the aikido-ka represented at the seminar.  We held a short demonstration (embukai) along with the two other Wellington club’s represented at the seminar, and we had a chance to see sensei’s aikido above and beyond what he shares with us while instructing.  It was a testimony to the spirit of cooperation and curiosity sensei inspired.

Thank you doesn’t seem to capture our gratitude for Takeda-sensei and Numata-sensei for their support for AKI, NZ.  But we hope that this simple word communicates the message we intend.  A sign of the strength and importance of the seminars is the on-going support we receive from the Wellington community.  We would like to thank in particular VUWSA, the New Zealand Community Trust and Riai Aikido Wellington.  We were also lucky this time to be joined by David Lynch-sensei, who acted as a translator.

Aikido requires us to connect.  And through these connections we learn from others and have the chance to research and develop our aikido.

Club seminar, July 2006 – more photographs

August 30, 2006

Photographs kindly provided by Sotheany Ream

– Mike and Matt

– Rose and Victor

– Mike and Adrian

– Mike and Wendy

– Naomi, Marti and Tony

– Gassho

Club seminar, July 2006

August 3, 2006

The Victoria University AKI club held a one-day seminar on Saturday, 29 July 2006.  It was great to see a good turnout from the Wellington Riai club, with more than 20 people on the mats.  We’re glad for the new tatami that we recently got (thanks again to David Lynch).

The seminar focused on what Sensei Mike Lubomudrov picked up from training with Takeda-sensei (8th dan) and Numata-sensei (6th dan) during his trip to Japan in March, and from our seminar with Numata-sensei in April.

The longer class let us relax in to the flow of our aikido, which for many of us we often only get near the end of our shorter classes.  Mike lead us through a range of techniques and variations, but there was a focus of on being relaxed, having good posture and capturing the sensation of gathering our partners’ energy.

Sotheany Ream, a photography student from Massey University, joined us to take some shots for a project she is doing on aikido.  She has kindly sent us some great shots from previous photo shoots, and we’re keen to see the next lot.

After the seminar, a group of us went up to Café mode in Kelburn.  On a cold Wellington day, the warm café was a bit like a sauna, easing our muscles, but better because we could get coffee and some of their reliably good food.  It’s only a shame we don’t have public baths like in Japan, where you can go eat and drink between soaking in the pools.

Training Outdoors

March 27, 2006

Ralph and Si

Ralph and Si

Ralph and Adrian

Ralph and Adrian

Ralph and Si

Numata-sensei visits AKI, Wellington for an Easter weekend gasshuku (16th-17th April 2006)

March 13, 2006

Sensei, Oki-san and Shishido-san arrived to a clear, cool and calm Wellington day. The seminar began on Easter Sunday, and while we originally planned a two-day seminar, Sensei delayed his trip to Christchurch so we could have another keiko on Tuesday. AKI, Wellington along with aikido-ka from Riai Aikido Wellington and Shinryukan Aikido Wellington participated in the seminar. It was held at Riai’s lovely dojo at Chartwell school.

Numata-sensei’s workshop was relaxed and accessible, for beginners as well as those approaching middle age and not as fit as we used to be. We were very lucky to have the translation services of Kenny Lynch whose knowledge of Japanese and experience of Aikido gave us a rich translation.

We did some work on basics like falling safely and keeping our torso aligned and flat when we are on the mat. Sensei emphasised that flexibility (and extension!) is a key to accessing a good flow of ki, and we worked on this in suwari waza, kokyu-ho and tenchi-nage, as well as a range of warm up/down exercises. Sensei also touched on the idea of meimon (gate of life); the centre (hara) is also in the back and movement is generated from there. We practiced that especially with tenchi-nage.

Numata-sensei helped us to look at our posture, and he encouraged us to make our aikido a lifetime body-regenerating, rather than degenerating, activity. He gave us lots of help on how to use stretching as Uke: to help Tori understand the exchange of energy as much as possible as well as to encourage Uke to take the opportunity for stretching and elongating torso and limbs, and consequently strengthening the body. This elongating is also about extending, mentally as well as physically. It was very practical way of helping us to develop that sense of mental extension with relaxation when giving energy.


Alongside the idea of stretching and flexibility for strength, sensei reminded us of being aware of one’s (physical ) periphery,  e.g. extension going to the fingertips. Some of us gained sudden insights into the sense of expansiveness created by this awareness.

We really appreciated the warm atmosphere created Numata-sensei  during the seminar, that maximised our learning opportunities, and his pleasant, easy manner outside of the dojo.

Group photo

Mixed in to our five keiko, our guests traveled up to Plimmerton beach, enjoyed a Kiwi potluck party, strolled through central Wellington and Te Papa (the national museum), ate mussels and had a mad dash after the Tuesday keiko to Starfish – one of Wellington’s best fish and chippies, had a great time horse riding at Makara and later went to the wild and windy Makara beach. Thanks are due to many who made the seminar possible. Arigatougozaimasu to Numata-sensei for his kind nature, his gentle encouragement and his deep thoughts, and also to Oki-san and Shishido-san who made the long journey to “the last AKI dojo before the south pole” to share their aikido with us. To Ralph (Pettman), we owe a debt of gratitude that we never repay to him and we can only hope to approximate it by passing on to others the flame of aikido that he has lit in us. We grateful to Matt Tebbs and all from the Riai Aikido Wellington who contributed for their support, for opening their dojo to us, and for the chance to train and research with them thereby deepening all of our experiences. We also recognise the important, on-going support of the Victoria University of Wellington Student’s Association and the New Zealand Community Trust for our aikido research.

With such support and contact from Japan, even though we are so far south we feel very connected to the global AKI community.