It is Friday afternoon. I have just finished presenting a PowerPoint for an exam with two university colleagues of mine, but the car has been loaded since the previous day. I go to Florence to pick up Flora and we soon are on the highway so as to go to Monza for Miyamoto Tsuruzo Shihan’s workshop.


The journey goes well since I maintain an almost constant speed. There actually is a lesson with Miyamoto Sensei on Friday, but we opt not to go this time because of tiredness. We stopped by the Autogrill in San Zenone, even though it is basically where the seminar will take place on the following day.

We arrive soon, almost among the first practitioners together with the organizers of the event, Emilio Carda and Massimiliano Perini from Renwakai, whom we say hello to. We then drop by a bar in the surroundings to recharge our batteries and eat something before attending the workshop.

As soon as we come back, we wear our keikogis and greet Miyamoto Sensei. In the meantime, many friends and well-known faces arrive, such as Alessio, Christian, Karl and his students, Nora, Christophe and Valentina, Céline and Julien. In no time, we all head to the tatami for some stretching, which is accompanied by some chatting before 10 a.m., when the instructor joins us and the seminar starts.

Since the beginning, Miyamoto Sensei proposes very physical exercises, especially as far as Kokyu Nage (for which I have the pleasure to be asked to be the uke during a demonstration once) and Ikkyo are concerned. We are consequently reminded that Aikido is personal, as a matter of fact everyone must create their own technique. What we are shown is then an interpretation of the movement. Physical and interesting forms, with a lot of contact between tori and uke, not much manipulation included, but making it possible to project it by maintaining it near the axis.

During the workshop, I gladly train with my fellow aikidokas and we tackle Suwari waza, together with a Shiho Nage from Katete Dori to Hanmi Handachi Waza, executed with Céline Froissart. This peculiar type of Shiho Nage requires that uke studies the correct position of Katate Dori, more on the external side and lower in the center. Uke, who can be tackled more easily in the front, thus finds themselves on the axis of the spine.

Time flies though, so we soon have our lunch break. After taking some group photos, we spend some time among aikidokas while eating, which is also when Céline’s husband Carlos joins us. We found a nice spot to have lunch at, that is to say a restaurant called “Vecchia Ostuni”, which is strongly recommended!

We talk about many different topics: from wine to sparkling water, from chemistry to the maritime republics, from local food to Aikido practice in general… After that, we say goodbye to Céline and Carlos, who will not be taking part in the afternoon session, and Flora, Karl and I decide to stroll while talking about online-advertisement of Aikido.

Once we are back to the place where the seminar will continue, we prepare ourselves and warm up a bit just like we did for the previous session. Later on, Miyamoto Sensei arrives and we start practicing once again. The activities are similar to those done in the morning, but they focus on Irimi Nage and Kotegaeshi this time, with leaving Kokyu Nage and Suwari Waza behind. Such a detail is particularly interesting because the tipping point was directly reproduced, ignoring blocks and control approaches that are typical of other Aikido styles.

As far as Irimi Nage and Kotegaeshi were concerned, the base concept was the same: contact and control through uke’s body. Uke had to keep a constant contact and hence a high activity in order to help tori give the utmost effort in the course of the movement.

All I can say is that I was able to go out of my comfort zone, which was rewarding for me.  In spite of the various differences with the Aikido style I am used to practicing, I felt like I lived up to the technique needed to execute such movements and I manage to practice as I intended to and by keeping a nice rhythm with a lot of people I am friends with.

The only downside of the workshop was the fact that some aikidokas occupied too much space and tried to show off by shoving others, which was evidently not due to organization-related problems. I am actually quite laid-back, to be fair, so I am not worried by the crowd. What I really cannot stand is bad manners, especially when we all are students attending the same seminar. Better not to indulge too much in this, it would spoil the pleasant atmosphere.


As soon as the workshop ends, we take some group pictures and a couple of selfies before saying goodbye. Having another day, we cannot stay for the night. However, Christophe, Valentina and Nora have waited for us so as to have a happy hour together, which positively surprises us. Certain gestures mean a lot, which is why I think no further explanations are needed.


When the happy hour is also over, we say goodbye and promise to meet soon, even without necessarily participating in an Aikido-related event.


We are now ready for Sunday’s seminar.