Dojo Files ~ Lineage and Heritage

This may read like the brag post that it is but I think it is important when I wax on lyrical about the workings and mindset of Aikido that you get some idea of my background for this.

Firstly – About my introduction to and development in Budo. When around 17 years old I began seeking answers to life and existence and my pursuit lead me, via Karl Jung, to Zen and in particulars Japanese Zen as expressed through the budo ways. Judo, kendo, kyudo, etc. After reading more books on Zen and Asian philosophies I enrolled with the local Judo Club as a means of Zen practice and my Budo life began there at 19 years of age.

After a break away from judo due to time spent with performing in bands I found my way to Shotokan karate in 1984 which came to town just as I retired from performance work. During my time with Shotokan I was introduced to Miyamoto Musashi’s “Go Rin no Hon” and also talk about Aikido. A Sandan aikido instructor came to town in 1989 and started classes at the local Judo dojo and I was right in there. Bill Sensei was 68 years old and I was quite impressed. As student membership grew Bill and I formed Tauranga Aikido Club in 1991 affiliated to NZ Aikikai headed by Nobuo Takase Shihan.

At this time I had my first introduction to Hombu Dojo Shinjuku instructors. Masuda Shihan came to visit Bill so we ran a small seminar and invited other dojo students from other towns and aikido styles. It was also at that event that I met Alan Wade Sensei from Gisborne Dojo.

Alan was a weapons man and had trained under Chiba Sensei in the UK before coming to NZ. On his way to NZ Alan stopped off at Iwama and trained ushideshi with Saito Sesnsei for a while. I formed a close friendship with Alan and trained with him often, attending weekend seminars in Gisborne and also inviting him to Tauranga to teach.

Hence my bokken Aikiken work is based on Chiba Sensei’s style and Aikijo is from Saito Sensei. Although I have trained extensively later with Sawada Shihan from Kimori Dojo, Nagoya, my base styles are still those I learned from Alan.

Front Row from left – Self, Takase, Sawada (centre) with Greerton Dojo senior students and three from Nagoya.

In 1992 I attended my first national Gasshuku in Auckland with Ichihashi Shihan (RIP) and this followed on with Masuda Shihan, Miyamoto Shihan, Ng, Sawada, Seki, and others over the years, including Doshu.

Hakama City
Instructors warming up for a weekend of training at Auckland’s Howick Stadium – 2006

While attending the 8th International Congress at Yoyogi in Tokyo, September 2000, I managed to fit in classes with Endo, Tissier, Yokota, Yamada and Tamura Shihan, also Doshu. I managed to bring back so much material for my classes over the following years, plus the whole thing was a once in a lifetime experience with many great memories. 28 instructors and senior students of Shinryukan travelled from New Zealand with Takase Shihan to Tokyo and we stayed at the Olympic Village (1974) in Yoyogi Park for the week.

So, hiking back to 1996. Bill for health reasons left Tauranga and resettled on Waiheke Island. I suddenly found that I was Dojo Cho at Nikyu. Takase Shihan became my Sensei and I forged on running the show with help from Hamilton Dojo who invaded the dojo one Sunday each month to check up on progress, offer some mentoring and generally see that we were doing it right. I gained Shodan in 1998 and formally closed Tauranga Aikido Club. Takase had recently launched Aikido Shinryukan as his national school and organisation under the patronship of his sensei, Masuda Shihan, thereby astablishing a direct link to Aikido Hombo Dojo, Shinjuku. Greerton Dojo was formed as a direct branch of Hombu Dojo Auckland and an integral part of Aikido Shinryukan.

Greerton Dojo – 2004

After gaining my Sandan, Takase had me registered as an assistant instructor (fukushidoin) with Hombu Shinjuku.

So that is my Aikido lineage: myself –> Takase Shihan –> Masuda Shihan.

And, yes, I did get to train at Hombu Shinjuku in 2000. We all took an afternoon off from the Congress programme and Takase took us in to attend a class with Yokota Shihan and formally meet Doshu. Also, even though I missed the class with Sugano Shihan (RIP) because of that, I did get to spend the evening drinking beer with him, although I think he may have been drinking whisky!

~ Dent



Take ownership for all of your actions and that will moderate what you undertake. Only in full truth to yourself will you ever realise the full potential of your own life and experience fulfilment.

No Remote

The way to enlightenment is not necessarily by the direct path. The crooked path can be far more interesting and the point is not to arrive as soon as possible, but to actually arrive.

It’s not where you walk. It’s how you walk! This is what I always told my dojo students.

“See first with your mind, then with your eyes, and finally with your body” – Yagyu Munenori

Some people go through life totally oblivious to the havoc they wreck due to their indifference and lack of consideration for others. Like a bull in a china shop they have no comprehension of the finer points of life nor any inkling that their own lives could even be made richer if they actually opened their eyes and made an effort to understand the true depths of human interaction, expectations and social empathy .

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself” – Chinese Proverb

A lot of the current social situations in the “civilised” world today seem to be the product of inept thinking and limited understanding. Too many people are happy to be ill informed and gaining real understanding of any situation, process or viewpoint is just too hard.

Similarly, I hear many people grumble and whine about the sorry state of the country, society and their own lot in life, yet when it comes to doing something about it – “It’s not my job!”

So, if life is not what you expected get out there and change it — Jump in at the deep end.

~ Dent

Footnote – Yagyu Munenori (1571 – 1646) was a swordmaster, teacher of sword to the first Shogun and head of the Palace Guard of the Tokugawa Shogunate at Nijo Castle. Also a contemporary and friend of both Miyamoto Musashi and Takuan Soho the zenmaster.