Wilbert Sluiter 5th Dan
After practicing Judo and Jyujutsu from the mid seventies, I was tired of the competitive atmosphere in the dojo. One of my high school teachers and now a good friend took me to an aikido dojo in my city of The Hague in The Netherlands in 1987. Aikido immediately grasped me. The teacher, Dick de Wit Sensei was a former Judo teacher student of the late Tamura Sensei and of the Ki-Aikido instructor Yoshigasaki Sensei, an interesting mix. In 1988 I went to a seminar with John Stevens Sensei. He had just written Abundant Peace, the Biography of O Sensei and the seminar was so confusing and interesting at the same time with a lot of sword-body work and explanation of O Senseis philosophy, that I decided to register for his first Dutch summercamp in 1989 on the spot. I had dreamt of going to Japan my whole life and Stevens Sensei made it come true. In between my medical studies I squeezed in a full year of being an “uchi deshi” in Stevens Senseis dojo in Sendai, Japan. I was fortunate to be there when Shirata Rinjiro Sensei came forward with his wonderful Misogi no Ken and visit him many times for regular training and intensive training staying at the Yamagata Budokan. O Sensei’s aikido has so much to offer for personal development and making a difference for and in the world. Classical Aikido has given me so much, mainly because of Stevens Senseis lifetime work of explaining its technical, philosophocal and spiritual aspects. I am happy to keep on practicing, studying and sharing aikido this way. Heiwakan Dojo in The Hague, The Netherlands is my home dojo where I both teach and train with Michael Reichman Sensei. I like to share with my students that aikido is wonderful to practice presence, and the 4 virtues: courage, wisdom, love and empathy. Classical Aikido has an immense tool kit to practice everyday. I see it as my mission to keep on using it myself and help people discover it all and not get overwhelmed.