“True victory is victory over oneself.”
Testimonials of practitioners

” Little by little, I learned to feel deeply nature, my surroundings and myself.”

“The dojo is for me a place of peace and letting go.”

Testimonial from the roaming seminar 2024

It starts like this: early in the morning, I close the door of my house, burdened by a full backpack and heavy shoes, still too new. A mix of emotions accompanies me to the train station; I am happy and proud to finally gather the courage to leave for 3 days in the mountains. I fear not being able to endure so long in the mountains, in nature, walking many hours per day, staying in the here and now, despite the fatigue and effort. White flowers, purple flowers, soft soil, and grass accompany my gaze since we left the road that leads us into the mountains. It’s hard not to escape my mind: I sing various melodies; I think about what I left behind and what I will find again in 3 days… I think about the end of the seminar, returning to my comfort, and the feeling of happiness that will accompany me in the end.

Purple flowers, white flowers, my feet start to hurt so badly, it’s still the first half of the first day, how is this possible? Anger rises, I’m behind the group, I want to stop. Why does Adrien Sensei keep walking? Why doesn’t he look back and keep going up, up, walking, walking…? Walking where exactly? Where are we going? These questions invade my brain. I can’t take it anymore, my throat is tight, I feel like crying.

White flowers, purple flowers, I’m going to cry, I can’t take it anymore, when are we going to reach the top? And finally, we get there. A huge cross stands between me and the extraordinary view of the lake. I’m angry. The strong wind overwhelms me like a slap. I turn around and sit down, turning my back to the breathtaking view, and tears start to wet my eyes and my face. They don’t stop. I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, I keep crying. I’m angry with Adrien Sensei, I’m even angry with the mountains, the trees, and all this nature so difficult to grasp. And then I blame myself for embarking on this tough and hostile venture. Then I blame myself for feeling all this. I close my eyes. Finally, my whole body needs rest.

The walk starts again, I look down, the white flowers and purple flowers are still there. I walk, I walk, I walk, and again, I can’t take it anymore. When are we going to stop? What time is it now? Come on, that’s enough, we still have a practice to do before nightfall, and then set up the tents, eat? We have to stop! Finally, Adrien stops, turns around, and looks at us with a big smile: “How are you?” Everyone seems to be fine, except me, still very angry, I reply: “Bad. I can’t take it anymore. Actually, where are we going?” I stop talking, one more word and I’ll start crying again. Adrien Sensei asks everyone to lighten the weight of my backpack by sharing some of my belongings. Afterward, he looks for a place to sleep and tells us we’re almost there. Okay, we’ve stopped, we set up the tents. I decide to practice bô with the others and not just watch the practice. Night falls. The first day is over. I’m tired, I’m exhausted. I close my eyes, in the discomfort of the tent, I can’t fall asleep.

We wake up at dawn to meditate as the sun rises. The view is spectacular once again. The lake is farther away, but still there, it’s beautiful! I’m sad. I’m fed up. Come on, two more days! I’ll make it…will I? And then the walk, again. My feet hurt even more than yesterday, and now I also have pain in my shoulders and hips, where the backpack puts pressure. We walk and walk, and here are my white and purple flowers, all along the paths. Sometimes there are yellow ones too. This time I walk behind Adrien Sensei, I keep pace with him, slower than yesterday. I don’t look back, from time to time I force myself to look around. But it’s deserted. Anxiety timidly arises in me. Why do we keep walking like this, in the void, in circles, without purpose, without destination? I’m far from any comfort, any reference, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t go back. I’m trapped. Oh dear! No shop, no source of fresh water, no break between the four walls of a room. The wind is very strong. I start to appreciate my adapted clothes that protect me from the wind. The practice is demanding, I accept to enter it and to soil my gi. We walk, we climb, we descend, white flowers and purple flowers, we climb to another summit. We are so far from the lake; we can’t see Geneva anymore. It’s beautiful. The wind tires me.

A long meditation, my mind flies away, I come back to myself, I’m tired. And another practice, it’s hard, the view is magnificent. The evening, the fire, the night. Adrien Sensei smiles, my brothers and sisters in arms are there. We are together experiencing all this. Indeed, I’m not alone. During the night, I’m not cold anymore, I close my eyes. I don’t sleep much. It’s morning. The morning mist slightly obscures the view. The wind, strong and incessant, helps me to stay present during another endless meditation. Another practice, I have no energy. And now my anger resurfaces. I feel stuck, it seems to me that everyone is using their muscles and blocking me. I get annoyed. I get angry with Adrien Sensei, why doesn’t he let me perform my wazas? And the others too? It’s unbearable!

The practice is over, I go to Adrien Sensei. I talk to him about my feelings, my anger towards him, towards this workshop, the mountains, the trees, and myself. He smiles and says to me, “Your anger is welcome.” His reaction brings me back to the habit of being criticized and rejected for expressing my emotions. And that, consequently, brings me a feeling of immense gratitude. Gratitude towards this challenging practice, towards this tough experience, towards my Sensei and his teachings, towards Adrien and his immense kindness, towards my brothers and sisters in arms and their precious presence in my life. Towards myself and my choice to follow this path. Towards nature, the mountains, and all the summits that are still to be climbed.

And it’s with all this that the walk resumes. Quite quickly, Adrien Sensei turns and says to me, “Walk in front for a while!” “Me?” I reply out loud without even realizing it.

And from there on, everything changes. The first emotion is very strong: I am here, in front of me a path to follow, to find, to create in the infinite possibilities that this immense nature offers me. I see the white flowers, the purple flowers, the immense trees moving with the gentle caresses of the wind, I hear the birdsong that has accompanied us since the first day. I look at the beauty of the summits and the view. I walk, I am there, I no longer feel fatigue or pain, I don’t want to stop. I walk, I am confident. Could this be the right path to follow? I quickly look back at Adrien Sensei, he says nothing. He is calm, I am calm. And I walk, I walk, my purple flowers, my white flowers. But they are everywhere, what beauty! I want to climb the summits in front of me, I want to see what’s behind. I am touched by this gift that Adrien and the kami have offered me. And suddenly, the map of this region of the Jura is in my hands.

I am now leading the group. Adrien Sensei shows me on the map the points where we need to arrive, and I try to orient myself and find the right paths. But there are so many of them. It’s one discovery after another, I don’t know what awaits me at the end of each path, at the top of each hill. But that’s where I want to go.

It’s extraordinary, I no longer have to think about fatigue or pain, I don’t even feel them anymore. I walk, I enjoy doing it. And time? Does it exist? It doesn’t matter anymore, I walk, everything is immense in front of me.

Each opening of the shepherds’ enclosures we pass through, I feel it like a torii of Japanese temples. I almost want to bow at each gate. I do it with my thoughts. Each gate is like a milestone to cross. When I pass through it, I have the same feeling I had when entering a temple in Kumano, the same humility, the same beautiful emotions.

We stop to rest. (Already?) We all fall asleep under the trees. Peace, wind, birdsong. We are one. Afterward, Adrien Sensei lets out of his body a Norito of extraordinary power, it was the voice of the kami and no longer his. He sings it in front of a large rock, which he will explain to me later has a very strong importance for him, for the energy it emanates, and for its shape resembling a Dragon.

We resume the path; I am in front. We now have to find the way to reach the summit, the first where we stopped on the first day for the first practice. Adrien Sensei shows the direction, but he lets me find the right path all by myself. He lets me choose, without saying anything.

And me, I feel called, I choose the steepest path, among the trees. The hardest, but the most direct, according to my feeling. It may be the steepest path we walked so far. But I go, with determination. That’s where we have to go.

I reach the summit, not even too out of breath. And I discover with immense joy that we have arrived exactly where we were supposed to. Adrien Sensei will tell me later that there were other ways to get there, much less steep and difficult, but I chose the most direct and the most difficult path. Just like Aikido.

It’s our last practice, I’m tired but not too much, I’m in it, everyone is giving their best. It’s so touching. I’m on the ground and my gaze is captivated by a large falcon (maybe an eagle) above me, I feel like it’s calling me and observing me. I take its strength in me. The last practice ends.

We’re here, it’s the last walk that will take us back to the starting point. I’m still in front. I start to feel pain in my body, but I’m so happy I made it. My anger has disappeared. I walk, I am immersed in nature, I don’t fear it, I find it beautiful and full of possibilities.

I say goodbye to the trees, to the uneven and soft ground, to the trees again, to my anger, my fear, and my anxiety. I say goodbye to my purple flowers, my white flowers, which I leave behind step by step, to find the asphalt road, the houses, and the cars. A crow greeted us as we entered the forest on the first day, and we find it there again, upon arriving in Saint-Cergues on the third day.

We are in the right place.

Here and now, nothing could be better than this.



Early Spring Seminar 2024

At the end of the seminar, we often end with randori: almost a dozen attackers, and we alone in the middle. Nothing is prepared, and the attackers are like hungry lions, ready to jump on us.

And then, in the midst of it all, a miracle: my mind and heart shift into something else. Fear, the desire to do well or to be powerful are replaced by love, care and compassion: “Come on, let’s make them roll a bit more, it’ll be good for them”. The attackers disappear and all that’s left are humans, valuable humans who come with tremendous energy.

The transformation of fear into love, of defense into welcoming, is the total overturning of all my childhood conditioning. My path in Aikido is strewn with such gifts. Each time, it’s a window that opens; a window to a new way of being alive, unsuspected, incredible and so obvious at the same time.




For O Sensei, misogi is purification. Purification of the body, mind, and soul. It is the act of dispelling negative spirits, getting rid of all bad energies. This includes letting go of one’s ego, the source of all suffering. Among them, we find fear, discouragement, frustration, chronic dissatisfaction, despair, and self-devaluation. Getting rid of one’s ego creates inner emptiness and allows the true essence of life to spread its gentle fragrance of serenity, tranquility, inner peace, confidence, freedom, joy, and love. It is accessing a state of grace, “a state of pure delight and overflowing gratitude” (O Sensei).

Getting rid of one’s ego is a challenging endeavor, a long internal battle. This battle can only be waged with the guidance of a clear-eyed and sharp sensei, along with the succession of practices performed with fellow practitioners in the dojo. Moving on the tatami is exposing oneself, showing vulnerabilities and becoming aware of one’s ego. It is confronting oneself, all facets, even the darkest ones. It is allowing all conditioning and traumas buried in the unconscious to come to the light of consciousness. This journey is a , a long path that requires courage, perseverance, patience, and unwavering commitment. Few are those who manage to follow this path. Those who do are warriors of peace.

Aikido is not a combat sport or a self-defense discipline, but a relentless battle that aikidokas engage in to rid themselves of all impurities to access a realized state of human being, to access their true human nature. This is takemusu aikidô.

On this path, when the aikidoka finds himself at the foot of the towering inner mountain, fear arises, and many become discouraged. Yet, nature provides each with just enough resources to reach the summit, to access a new horizon, a new state of being. It is necessary to put one foot in front of the other and move at the slow pace of the mountain guide. Advance sometimes on a steep, rocky path in the fog, sometimes on a wider path through vast fertile plains, always moving forward. Ganbatte o kudasasaï!


When the ego withdraws, emptiness is realized, silence ensues, allowing the source of all life to spread its gentle fragrance of serenity, clarity, harmony, joy, and love. A pure, delicate, invisible yet clearly perceptible force radiates, enlightening the perceptions, thoughts, and actions of the aikidoka.

During practices and while performing misogi, the aikidoka trains to unify his energy with that of the “great nature,” that of the universe, at the source of life and all creation. His training aims to empty his kokoro, heart-mind, to make his body flexible and untied, without tension, so that the flow of vital energy from nature, of which he is a part, can flow through him as smoothly, freely, and strongly as possible. Then he becomes the bowl and the mirror. Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei, 10th dan, said, “Aikido is incessantly cleaning one’s inner pot so that it shines. Then the light reflects in it.” He added, “But this light does not belong to us.”

This light is the breath of life, the energy of kamisama, kannagara, divine flow of ki, energy. The traditional form of aikido practice still maintains the sacred and mystical practices taught by O Sensei, allowing one to connect with kamisama. These practices date back to times before the appearance of Shinto in Japan.

Each person has a small flame of life within them. However, it is covered with many layers of conditioning and ego that prevent it from growing and shining. Practicing aikido is gradually shedding each of these layers, like peeling an onion. Then, gradually, the light intensifies and radiates more. The important thing, O Sensei said, is not to reach the goal but to be on the path. The path, , is light. The more the aikidoka progresses, the more he shines. He becomes like a lighthouse, illuminating the world and clearing it of impurities. This is takemusu aikidô.

The aikidoka, this warrior of peace, with his unchanging heart-mind, fudo shin, solid grounding, strong center, clear mind, and open heart, will avoid fanaticism and navigate the trials of life with sincerity, serenity, dignity, and kindness. He is the expression of shin zen bi, truth, goodness, beauty.

Jean-Pierre Kunzi
Aikido Geneva Takemusu Dojo

Trip to Japan

Going to Japan for two weeks as part of the dojo means going to train. Training one’s body, mind, and heart.

This training is incessant. It begins from the departure in Geneva. The long plane journey imposes a painful immobility on us. We arrive disoriented by jet lag and are immediately immersed in practice on the tatamis. These practices are long and frequent, with precious few hours of rest. Each day counts for a week.

The pearls are threaded on the silk cord of our days without interruption, one after another. They are so numerous! I evoke some of them, among many. The freshness of the air in the stairs of Kamikura San, the powerful mass of the rock that overlooks them. The gentle friction of gravel under our feet in front of the temples of Hayatama Jinja, the tinkling of bells shaken by the hands of visitors. The round dance of morning practice, the beauty and fluidity of the movements of the practitioners. Water droplets falling into the sunlight at the bottom of a shadowy valley.

Each of these moments requires from us an invested availability. To relax is to be sure to miss out. We must let annoyance, insecurity, the feeling of not measuring up, the sense of not being worthy of receiving so many blessings, the desire to please, the fear of disappointing, all flow away in the powerful current.

Among all the teachings we receive, those that impress me the most are those without words.

After the midday snack, Anno Sensei stands up without a word and disappears into the bushes. His determination is unbelievable on the path along the abyss, his courage to move forward, always forward, still forward, despite age, despite the weaknesses of the body, is indomitable. I am overwhelmed with admiration.

For two weeks, a Japanese practitioner accompanied us, guided us. He worked to make meetings, events, and visits possible. He didn’t count his time or efforts. He shared treasures with us, without asking for anything in return. It is the pure and simple embodiment of Aikido teaching, without affectation or arrogance. It is so beautiful, so clear.

We are pebbles rolled on the beach by the waves. Gradually, we lose our roughness and become round and smooth.

And there is still so much to do! Like Anno Sensei, let us have the courage to move forward with determination as long as we can move.


An Aikido class for children

Two groups of children and teenagers train regularly at the Takemusu Dojo, an Aikido school located in the center of the Gradelle area in Geneva.

The practice of this traditional Japanese martial art gives them the opportunity to develop many qualities. Regular training in the techniques reinforces the young pupils’ physical aptitudes: coordination of movements, balance, stamina and endurance. Children quickly learn how to fall without hurting themselves, and how to remain flexible to avoid injury. But it also teaches them to focus their attention by remaining still and quiet, and to channel their energy.

There are no groups for specific levels. All children practice together in age groups, the little ones (7 to 11) from 5.15 to 6.15 p.m. and the older ones (11 to 15) from 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. This mix enables beginners to make rapid progress. They can practice with and learn from more experienced children. Instructors pay particular attention to respect and safety. These are two core values in the martial arts.

Over the years, young practitioners learn to sense what’s going on around them, to act appropriately in any situation, without waiting, and to stay centered. They develop a greater sense of tranquillity and the ability to take their rightful place.

The atmosphere is cheerful before training, with children running and playing all over the dojo. As soon as the practice begins, it becomes serious and focused. When the children return home, it’s often with bouncing joy. At the dojo, they’ve put down some of the day’s fatigue and weight, and filled up with renewed energy.

Two free trial classes are available for all interested children. More information is available here.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

Jean-Pierre Kunzi Sensei

Roaming Seminar Jura – April 20–22, 2023

After an hour’s train journey and an hour’s walk, the forest closes in just behind us, enveloping us completely. Great nature sucks us into its kingdom. At first, I feel like a stranger, as a tourist.

We walk.

A long walk in single file.

United and silent hikers. Each moves forward in his own silence. Mine sometimes leads me astray. Then it brings me back to the moment, called by the song of a bird or the presence of a young deer. Nature tries to penetrate the fortress of my mind and, little by little, succeeds.

First practice with our gi.

The brilliant whiteness of the gi seems to belong to another dimension. These gis and their wearers radiate a light that makes me dizzy. I’m struck by this almost dreamlike vision. I seem to be seeing Aikido practitioners for the first time. The surrounding forest carries the practice.

Majestic march in single file.

Switching the bamboo bo from one hand to the other, sporadically clashing it with a stone on the path, we move forward one behind the other. We make our way through the forest with no other aim than to become one with it. Nature is vast, and each place is sufficient, generous.

The destination seems paltry, or even non-existent. In fact, I get lost. I have no sense of space or time. The days stretch, distort and multiply. Places come together by their beauty and stand out by their vegetation.

Snow is present. It’s cold. A raw cold that seeps in between each step, that rushes in by pushing the door open every time the body is at a standstill, every time the body is at rest. So the movement can’t stop. The nights are hard and interrupted. I put on all my layers and dread its arrival. The cold penetrates at the moment of relaxation, when alertness drops and muscles relax. And so the practice continues at night.

Very last gi practice.

We put them on under an almost rainy sky. The rain, being generous, only seems to give us time to change clothes. The pasture is soggy and muddy, but this time we roll. The joy and excitement of rolling in the grass brings us together. Our feet slip in the mud and the rain continues, light but present.

Breathless, hair sticking to my face, I feel fully alive.

Soaked and brown gis, twigs on my forehead, my body in direct contact with earth, as happy as children playing in the mud.

After three days and two nights, the woods had left a few marks on my being. The great nature has revealed the one in me. I feel less of a stranger.

Through the trees and the moss, the Shin Kokkyu and the Wazas, the rain and the hailstones, our aching bodies are loosening and our hearts are binding with each other and with everything.

Thank you so much.


An Aikido practitioner

Aikido has changed my life… it’s something I never would have imagined when I started. The movement started, and I decided to follow it … it took time!

There are days when certain words, heard hundreds of times, suddenly take on their full meaning, start to resonate strongly enough to have a profound and significant impact, calling for action and decision!

There are practices that shake up and liberate, practices that exhaust and invite questioning. There are practices where I feel particularly good and full of energy that I want to share; and there are practices where I need the energy of the group to stand up. There are practices where laughter and spontaneity arrive and others where the rigor and the martial aspect take over.
One thing is certain for me: no matter what happens, I always come out of my dojo a better person.
As in my daily life, the dojo is the expression of a palette of emotions, encounters and situations, which follow one another but never resemble one another!

The “ballet” of these emotions, the accumulation of memories on the tatami and outside with the other members of my dojo, the courage to come and practice when the desire is lacking or when tiredness takes over, have helped me, for the last 5 years, to go through the different difficult moments of my life with the certainty that I will always come out of these moments grown up and that I had a family to rely on if it was necessary.
All this has allowed me to avoid losing sight of the essential… LIFE itself!

The dojo is for me a place of peace and letting go, I am the only one who decides how I will live the practice that is coming up… and I am also the only one who decides the importance I give to the teachings I receive.

I have exported many of these teachings into my daily life. They have caused me to lose some of my relatives and “friends” but have allowed me to meet people who think positively, accept me as I am, allow me to be myself and have a real group spirit.
What I was looking for, I did not find in Aikido… Aikido allowed me to find it within myself!


My path

How did I get into Aikido?

I came to Aikido late in life, at the age of thirty. I was attracted to both the graceful movements of dance and the mysterious aspect of martial arts. Aikido combines these two aspects. One day, a friend told me that he was going to start Aikido. I followed his lead.

What did Aikido bring me?

An unsuspected universe, vast new plains. Confidence. A tranquility and inner peace that is difficult to shake.
A deep connection to myself, to life, to others. Little by little, I learned to see beyond appearances, to feel deeply the nature, my surroundings and myself.
A certain clarity of mind. By gradually detaching myself from my conditioning, from my mind, from my ego, I had more access to intuition, to this direct link between life and myself. My thoughts, my words and my actions have thus become freer and more appropriate.

Why do I continue to practice?

I wish to preserve and maintain this exceptional state of clarity, alertness and availability to what manifests itself at any moment. I do not wish to return to a state of semi-somnolence. So I train myself daily to maintain this clarity, just as I brush my teeth to keep them clean.

Jean-Pierre Kunzi Sensei


Intensive training in the cold, in the pure Kumano tradition.

What power, what strength, what beauty, what joy, what inner peace! After facing the winter cold every morning before sunrise, the mind is polished, the soul purified, the body invigorated. We feel peaceful, fully connected to the present moment, without pursuing any goals or gains, ready to welcome what life offers us. A vast, clear sky!

Aikido: Masakatsu agatsu katsu hayabi

Aikido, the path of victory over oneself. Testimonials of members of the Geneva Aikido Takemusu Dojo.

Misogi 2022

Practice of purification to enter the new year.

Plage d'Hermance lors de la pratique du Misogi

Sunday 9th of January 2022. The lake is as gray as the sky, the cold wind lifts a few waves, the water is at 7 °C, and the air at 1 °C. In unison, the aikidokas, wearing only their dogi, greet the elements and then each other. This is followed by a series of purification cuts with the sword in the direction of the four cardinal points. Vigor and powerful kiai are needed to overcome the cold weather.

Then the jackets are removed and the aikidokas step into the water, barefoot. There they begin the age-old ritual movements from Japan in order to purify themselves and to become one with this beautiful winter nature, with the large lake, the snowy mountains surrounding it, the elegant flight of the seagulls passing by, the two majestic swans strolling, gracious and insensitive to the cold. The clouds part, a ray of wonderful and clear sunshine underlines the end of the practice. Late Hikitsuchi Sensei, 10th Dan, would have said with a smile: “We purified the sky!”

One of the aikidokas gives the following testimonial:
“Whatever my life experiences and whatever burden I have collected this year, the practice of misogi comforts me and fills me with a new energy to face and live fully my life and this new year.”

There are only a few testimonials in English. You can read all of them in the French version.