aikido martial arts at daishizen retreat center

Aikido meaning:

The word Aikido is composed of three kanji:

合 (AI) = Harmony, union.

気 (KI) = Vital energy, spirit.

道 (DO) = Path, way.

Together, they could be translated as: “The way of harmonizing energies.”

aikido japanese kanji

Experience the world of Aikido martial arts, a discipline that stays true to the principles of Budo. Awaken your true potential at Daishizen Retreat Center.

It all began with Aikido, a practice that not only brought us together but also ignited a dream within us. Inspired by Aikido, we envisioned creating a space where we could share our knowledge and experiences with others. 

Aikido is:

  • A non-violent martial art.
  • A non-competitive practice between partners.
  • A way to resolve conflicts in a harmonious and understanding manner.
  • A tool to become aware of the integration of body, heart, and mind.
  • A means to explore fluid movements with beauty.
aikido founder with his students

The creation of Aikido:

Born in 1925, Aikido is a Japanese martial art created by Morihei Ueshiba “O’Sensei” based on his experience and knowledge of Jujitsu (empty-handed techniques), Kenjutsu (sword techniques), spear techniques, bayonet techniques, and staff techniques. O’Sensei was also driven by a personal quest for peace.

This quest led him to create a new martial art based on non-violence and non-resistance. He transformed the aggressive techniques of traditional martial arts into harmonious circular movements that seek to take care of both the attacker and the attacked.

the beginning of aikido

“Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment”

Morihei Ueshiba

The Lineage of teachings


One of the greatest martial arts masters in history. Even at eighty years old, already an old man, he could disarm any enemy, defeat any number of attackers single-handedly, and immobilize an opponent with just one finger.

But despite being an invincible warrior, Morihei was above all a man of peace who despised fights, war, and all forms of violence. His path was Aikido.

Morihei Ueshiba was born on December 14, 1883. With a growing interest in Budo, he studied Ju Jitsu, unarmed combat, at the Kito school, and Ken Jutsu, swordsmanship, at the Shinkage school. Perfecting his skills in different styles and under renowned masters, he continued his search for Budo until he created the Ueshiba Martial Arts School.

His prestige spread rapidly. In 1923, he officially named his art Aiki Bujutsu. His martial ability reached an almost superhuman level. It was then that he experienced the revelation of what he had sought his whole life: he understood the essence of Ki, the force of universal life, and that the origin of Budo is the spirit of protection. He then dedicated himself to further studies and the development of this new “Way of Budo.”

His art was renamed Aikido. New dojos were opened throughout Japan, and the teacher’s prestige has now developed internationally. On April 26, 1969, the Grand Master passed away. On the same day, the Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure, the highest decoration received by the founder of Aikido.

founder of aikido morihei ueshiba

“The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.”

seigo yamaguchi aikido


Seigo Yamaguchi (1924-1996) was a prominent figure in the world of Aikido. He began his Aikido journey as a disciple of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, after being impressed by Ueshiba’s strong personality. Yamaguchi became one of the first post-war professional Aikido practitioners and played a significant role in the development of Aikido internationally.

He held the rank of Shihan 9th Dan and was responsible for grading at Aikikai. Yamaguchi traveled extensively, teaching Aikido in various institutions and private dojos.

His students included notable practitioners such as Seishiro Endo, Masatochi Yasuno, Yoshinobu Takeda, Christian Tissier, Didier Boyet, and Frank Noël.

Yamaguchi’s unique teaching style emphasized fluidity and expansion of energy. He left a lasting impact on the Aikido community before his passing at the age of 71.

takeda shihan aikido


Yoshinobu Takeda, 8th dan shihan, began his Aikido studies in the early 1960s at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo under the guidance of Seigo Yamaguchi, 9th dan shihan, a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. He soon became recognized as one of Yamaguchi Sensei’s most talented students. Encouraged by his teacher, Takeda decided in the late 1960s to open his own dojo in the Yokohama area.

Today, he is recognized as one of the great living masters of Aikido. His style of Aikido, gentle and effortless, has brought together and inspired numerous people around the world. Emphasizing fluidity and the expansion of energy, Takeda Shihan invites us to explore and realize personal growth through Aikido.

Yoshinobu Takeda is the current director of A.K.I (Aikido Kenkyukai International) and the Shonan Aikido Renmei in Kamakura, Japan. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Aikikai at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. Takeda Dojo.

Kenkyukai Approach:

At Dojo Daishizen, aikido classes are conducted at a fast pace with a lot of energy, and the emphasis is placed on sensitivity and adaptability to our partner’s movements.

Our goal is to encourage exploration and foster creativity in the study of Aikido, rather than focusing on a routine of Kihon Waza (basic techniques). Hence the name of our school: “Kenkyukai,” which means “Research Group.”

The inscription on the Kakejiku, the hanging scroll, in Kenkyukai dojos reflects this unconventional approach. Here is its story:

When Takeda Shihan decided to open a dojo for the first time in Higashi Totsuka, near Tokyo, he asked his friend Motomyia-san, a Zen monk living near Mount Fuji, to create calligraphy for his new dojo. In a traditional Aikido dojo, the hanging scroll includes three characters: Ai-Ki-Do.

However, when Takeda Sensei received the scroll from Motomyia-san, the last character was missing. He asked his friend, “But where is the ‘Do’ (path)?” To which Motomyia-san replied with a smile, “You must find your own path.”

Takeda Shihan thus encourages us to find our own path, our own way, to discover and develop the expression of the art through ourselves through sincere study and the pursuit of Aiki (harmony of energies). This approach is an exciting, inspiring, and above all, very enjoyable challenge!

kakejiku aiki kenkyukai

“The human spirit has the capacity to expand hundreds of millions of light-years beyond the boundaries of space… Let us try to purify our minds during practice. If you can focus clearly on this moment, then you will feel your mind united with the Universe”

Takeda Yoshinobu Shihan

The dojo

The dojo (道場) is the place dedicated to the practice of budo or Zen Buddhist meditation. Literally in Japanese, “dō” means “the way” (it is the same character as the Chinese “Tao”), and “dōjō” is the place where one studies/seeks the way. At Daishizen Retreat Center, we provide diverse classes suitable for individuals of all skill levels and genders.

daishizen aikido school

The sensei

In Daishizen Dojo, there are two experienced instructors.

Manuel Aldunate started practicing Aikido in 1999 and received his 1st Dan in 2008 in Matsuyama, Japan, directly from the master Takeda Yoshinobu Shihan. He currently holds the 3rd Dan Aikikai of Japan.

Julie Montes began practicing Aikido in 2007 and obtained her 1st Dan in 2016 directly from Takeda Shihan. Both instructors have been deeply committed to the practice and teaching of Aikido.

In May 2011, they founded Daishizen Dojo, a space for spiritual development and Aikido practice. In 2018, they decided to seek new opportunities in France and share the teachings of the Kenkyukai style.

Throughout these years, they have taught Aikido classes and workshops in various companies, schools, yoga centers, and communities. They have also participated in numerous seminars with different masters from around the world, including Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Italy, Chile, among other countries.

aikido teachers

Since 2018, they have organized seminars with various masters here in Europe, contributing to the expansion of Aikido and the Kenkyukai style.

Finally, after years of searching and dedication, their dreams come true with the acquisition of land in Costa Rica, where they intend to concentrate all their activities in one place.

A space for reconnecting with nature, ancestral wisdom, and the essence of the human being.

costa rica wellness retreat

Our community awaits you on social media. Join us and become part of a tribe dedicated to the adventure of self-discovery

“Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion”

Morihei Ueshiba