I started to train aikido in 1972, when I was 18 years old. How that happened, you can read on the page called Aikido is true. In those days there were not many dojos in Sweden - I'm not sure, but probably not more than 10-15. Luckily, several of them were in the Stockholm area, where I lived.
Seated and standing aikido techniques, from a seminar in the Czech Republic.
Actually, there was a dojo in the very suburb where I had my home, Järfälla, at walking distance. The teacher was Allan Wahlberg, one of the few shodan in those days. There was no Swede with a higher grade.
On Fridays, our dojo was visited by the Japanese teacher Toshikazu Ichimura, who was at that time 5 dan aikido and 6 dan renshi in iaido. After some time, I was allowed to go to his classes, too. By then, I had already been completely mesmerized by aikido. We were a group of students of about the same age, who practiced as much as we ever could, and went to Ichimura's classes in the other dojos in the Stockholm area.
I think it was already after one year of training that I started teaching the children's group in aikido - not doing a very good job with it, I would say. About a year later I started teaching some regular classes, and by 1976 Allan had left the dojo and I got to be in charge of the training. In those days, I was sure that I was skilled enough to do it.
Shortly before that, I had what I would like to call my first aikido satori, where suddenly everything seemed to be clear as water, and I started to throw people without touching them, and so on. You know the Japanese saying: Three years on a stone...
By 1977 I had moved to another Stockholm suburb, Brandbergen, and started an aikido dojo there - at first as a little section of the local football club, then as a club of its own. In 1991 I moved to Malmö, in the south of Sweden, and started the aikido section at the big Martial Arts dojo Enighet, which was founded already in 1892. I am still there. Here is the website of the Enighet Aikido. The Brandbergen Aikido Club is still active, and so is Järfälla Aikido Club, where I once started.
Since the 1960's, Swedish aikido has been fortunate to be visited by several Japanese teachers. Many of them have come repeatedly to hold seminars, and some still do. I have had the pleasure of traing for most of them, such as Tamura, Saito, Kobayashi, Igarashi, Sugano, Nishio, Endo and Takemori. Nishio sensei held annual seminar at the Enighet dojo for some years in the 1990's. Also Sugano sensei and Tamura sensei have visited our dojo. This has been very inspiring indeed for us, and of immense value for me in trying to progress as a teacher.
Presently, I have the rank of 7 dan Aikikai Shihan, and 4 dan in the iai of Nishio sensei's Aikido Toho since 1996. Apart from the regular training at the Enighet dojo, I hold seminars in Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Photos of such events can be found in my aikido album.
Being a writer by profession, I have produced some books related to aikido and the Martial Arts, some of them only in Swedish but several also in English. I've also written a book about the Chinese classic Tao te ching.
Whether we like it or not, when people gather there is politics. Aikido is no exception. I have been in the Swedish Aikido board for some periods in the 1980's and 90's, sometimes as its Chairman, and in the board of the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation, where I'm the President since a few years. I'm also a member of the Swedish aikido grading committee since 1991. In the International Aikido Federation I was its first webmaster and Assistant General Secretary for a few years in the 1990's, later a member of its Directing Committee, and its Vice Chairman 2008 - 2012.
I'm still mesmerized by aikido, have an aikido satori now and then, but always come back to preferring to throw people by touching them.
Photos by Frank Weingärtner from a Berlin seminar 2005.
I'm a Swedishwriter of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihanaikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.