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I’ve trained in NY and Chicago with Yamada en Toyoda sensei as an uchi-deshi (= live-in student). So it might be we know each other :-).

After a few years being a teacher I’m now starting from zero on three extra locations, Tongeren, Riemst and Diepenbeek, in Belgium. Tongeren is the oldest “city” of Belgium. That’s also where the name “Ambiorix” is coming from.

Ambiorix, King of the Eburones, is a legendary figure from ancient Gaul (modern-day Belgium). He gained fame for leading a successful resistance against Julius Caesar’s forces in 54 BCE. His memorable victory prompted Caesar to call the Belgians the bravest of all the Gauls1. A bronze statue of Ambiorix stands prominently in Tongeren, commemorating his historical role2. 🌟

Feel free to find some extra English info on the picture of the info plate mounted at his statue.

I started with Aikido back in ’93

I’ve been an uchi-deshi twice:

  1. Once with Yoshimitsu Yamada in 2006 in NY
  2. After this adventure I’ve been an uchi-deshi with Tatsuo Stephen Toyoda in Chicago during 2015 -2016. Where I’ve also been following the iaido classes

The Art of Peace

Coincidentally, I practiced five Aikido “styles” more deeply:

  • I started in a dojo where we followed Seiichi Sugano Shihan (°17.12.1939 +29 .09.2010) who I met again at the New York Aikikai years later
  • Later on this dojo switched to Classical Aikido from John Stevens Shihan, who was a student of the pre war student Rinjiro Shirata Shihan (°29/3/1912 +29/5/1993). Who had an extensive amount of weapon work that I never encountered anywhere else.
  • Going to the NY Aikikai in 2006 to be an uchi-deshi with Yoshimitsu Yamada, I also saw Donovan Waite Shihan (°04.11.1957 +26.02.2021) for the first time. Who made quite an impression on me.
  • Around this time in Belgium, I also started training with Alain Salée sensei (+02.02.2018) at the Santan Ryu dojo. A student of Noro sensei (Kinomichi Aikido). I’m still training at this dojo when possible :-). They’re now following De Benedetti Shihan from the Mutokukai organisation
  • Last but not least I had an awsome time being an uchi-deshi with Tatsuo Toyoda sensei at his dojo in Chicago, praticing Traditional Aikido. A style who is in general a bit more different than the other styles I practiced in my life.

Keep Calm
Practice Aikido

Nevertheless I’ve seen and practiced more styles than mentioned I noticed this is not always easy to do. We all tend to stay in the stuff we like to do and what we now best. Nevertheless I persisted to learn as much as possible from each Aikido “style” and teacher/student that I encountered. It can only enrich my Aikido journey.

It has been an interesting an great learning experience. I hope to meet you some day so we can train and discuss techniques and life together 🙂

Kind Regards,


Aikido, C’est L’amour

Alain Salée sensei