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The `Ki` of Berlin

by Peter Nawrot

1990 – Germany was seized by aikido fever long ago. The whole country? No, the old and new capital Berlin was still practicing other aikido styles and the Tendoryu activities were taking place at other locations. Something had to be done!

After many years of learning aikido in Tokyo I returned to Berlin for business reasons.

In 1958 I had joined, the SSC Südwest, section judo, my budo home in Berlin, then under the leadership of jiu-jitsu master Walter Grunert. His successor, Jürgen Mohn, subsequently led and enlarged the club for about 30 years, upto the beginnning of the nineties.

Already very early the judo style of the SSC club had changed from a competition-orientated sport to a budo oriented ‚soft’ practice selfdefense. Therefore in 1990 the SSC enthusiastically adopted the new direction set by Shimizu sensei.

The change however, was more painful than expected. Break falls had to be bigger and softer, attacks more dynamic and more realistic, attacking techniques were left out, and nage had to harmonize with uke. Moreover, there still was something called ki ...

Highly motivated by the role model of Shimizu sensei and his dynamic and natural movements, all difficulties could eventually be managed.

After the first aikido seminar with Shimizu sensei in Berlin in 1991, with more than 100 participants, Tendoryu aikido was firmly integrated into the aikido community of Berlin.

The following years up to 1995 were characterised by intensive preparation of trainers, regular gradings, participation in seminars with Shimizu sensei, and the establishment of additional groups.

After my move to Singapore the succeeding trainers took over the club responsibilities step by step, finally becoming the club leaders in 1999. Since then they have organized seminars with other Tendoryu teachers and established additional groups.

After returning to Berlin ahead of schedule in 2001 (for business reasons) we established other Tendoryu aikido groups in the city at new locations to further expand the basis of Tendoryu aikido and to help even more people to find balance and energy for daily life by harmonizing mind and body in a stress-free dojo-like environment.