Aikido against two attackers. Filmed in Kosice, Slovakia, 2012.
My Aikido Life So Far
I started to practice 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 much more than a dozen. Luckily, several of them were in the Stockholm area, where I lived.
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.
Me back in 1973 or 1974, quite scared as Ichimura attacked viciously with a bokken, the wooden sword. Filmed in Uppsala at the summer seminar.
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. I started to throw people without touching them, and so on. You know the Japanese saying: Three years on a stone...
Still, I soon got back to struggling with the basics, albeit from another perspective. The club where I started to practice aikido is still around: Järfälla Aikido Club
Revisiting my old dojo Järfälla in 2004, teaching at a seminar there. Sorry it's only in Swedish, but I think you get the idea. Filmed by Olle Dehlén.
By 1977 I had moved to another Stockholm suburb, Brandbergen, and started an aikido dojo there. At first it was a little section of the local football club, and we practiced in the small gym hall of a school in the area.
Video recording from Brandbergen in 1979. Sort of a mock class for the camera, with me talking quite a lot (in Swedish) as usual.
In 1981, a brand new sports hall was opened and we moved our aikido practice to it. In the transition we formed a regular club of our own: The Brandbergen Aikido Club, which is still very much active.
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. So I got to participate in its 100th jubilee. I am still here. Here is the website of the Enighet Aikido.
Jo 31 kata in four directions, filmed at Enighet dojo in Malmö, Sweden, 2006.
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 training 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.
Nishio Sensei teaching at a seminar in my dojo Enighet, 1993. This is the first of five videos from that seminar, filmed by Ulf Lundquist.
In 2015, I received the rank of 7 dan Aikikai Shihan. I am also 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.
Iaido, the sword art. Recorded at my dojo Enighet in 2006.
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 and the concept of Qi (ki). Scroll down to see my aikido books in English.
Iriminage as henkawaza (shifting technique), when uke resists shihonage. Filmed at a seminar in Munich, 2014.
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 was the President between 2009 and 2016. 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 the intriguing art of aikido and the endless path it presents. Not to mention how much fun it is to throw people around in all friendliness.
Aikiken Sword Exercises for Aikido. The aikibatto exercises, practical and spiritual aspects of the sword arts, advice on equipment for training. Click the image to see the book at Amazon. More about the book here.
I'm a Swedishauthor 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.