Testimonials

Testimonials


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


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


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


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.

Isaïe


AIKIDO TAKEMUSU DOJO

Misogi

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!

Kannagara

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.

Adrien


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.

Eloïse


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!

Marie


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


Kangeiko

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.