Bertram Wohak+Image

Remembering Bertram Wohak

July 17, 2016/in Health and Therapy, Peace Building and Mediation /

By Paul Linden

Bertram Wohak (06 August 1944 – 17 May 2016), a friend and colleague, died of pancreatic cancer recently. He worked as a research physicist for many years. He studied aikido in Japan in 1984 and 1987, where he met Watanabe Sensei, under whom he studied for a number of years. In 1996, Bertram founded a dojo near Munich. In addition to teaching aikido, Bertram had a practice in structural / functional body therapy and body-oriented trauma therapy.  From 2009 Bertram was a member of the AE Board of Directors.

Bertram and I met at an Aiki Extensions workshop in Munich around 2000.  Besides both of us being aikidoka and dojo chos, we were both professional somatic educators. At one of the early AE workshops in Germany, Bertram offered a presentation titled “Deconditioning the Protection Reflex: Bokken Work as Treatment Method in Body and Breath Therapy.” It showed how the fear reflex in traumatized clients (compression and restriction of the breath and posture) can be overcome through training in aikido sword work. By learning to get off the line of the attack, while consciously controlling posture and breathing, clients could reduce fear and develop more self-confidence.

Aiki Peace Week emerged from a conversation Bertram and I had around New Year 2010. We were thinking about what kind of project would interest aikido practitioners in AE. We came up with Aiki Peace Week. Our starting point was the idea that cultivating a peaceful mind/body in oneself is the basis on which international peace can be built. Bertram wrote that developing peaceful behavior must involve changing deep-rooted physical reactions of anger and fear. Peaceful thinking has to become “embodied” to become really effective, and that´s what aikido accomplishes.

In 2013, Bertram organized a European Aiki Extensions conference at Burg Rothenfels in Germany.

Bertram did a marvelous interview with a long-time friend, and posted a video of that discussion on  YouTube, titled  “Dem eigenen Tod in die Augen schauen” (Looking your own death in the eye).  When we Skyped to say goodbye to each other a few weeks before his death, Bertram remarked to me that in his meditations over the years he had gotten rid of both hope and fear, and that allowed him to be peaceful as he approached his end. He looked fragile but very happy and peaceful.



Contact Information:

Englischsprachige Artikel

  • Here you can listen to an Online-Seminar about Aiki Peace Week with Bertram Wohak and Bill Leicht
  • Wohak, Bertram and Leicht, Bill
    An Interview for AikiWeb to the International Aiki Peace Week [pdf-Datei]
  • An Interview with Ross Robertson for AIKIWEB about Aiki Peace Week
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Origins and Vision of the International Aiki Peace Week [pdf-Datei]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Resolving the Body Schema of Anxiety
    Sword training as empowerment for trauma victims [ pdf-Datei ]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Restoring the Dignity of the Body [ pdf-Datei ]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    What is Aiki-Somatics?[pdf-Datei]
  • Levine, Donald N.
    Extending the mature Vision of Morihei Ueshiba Sensei
    Aikido as a universal Practice of Peace and Self-Transcendence [pdf-Datei]
  • Feldenkrais, Moshe
    Practical unarmed Combat [pdf-Datei]
  • Leri, Dennis
    Moshe on the Martial Arts [pdf-Datei]

    Deutschsprachige Artikel

  • Wohak, Bertram
    Brief an meine Aikidoschüler Oktober 2008 [pdf-Datei]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Aikidotraining und Neurobiologie
    Grundlagen des Bewegungslernens [pdf-Datei]
  • Artikel in den Schorndorfer Nachrichten 
    Kampfkunst gegen die Gewalt
    Aikidoseminar mit Bertram Wohak in Schorndorf / Aikidoprinzipien in aggressiven Situationen anwenden [pdf-Datei]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Ki [pdf-Datei]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Wer unbedingt gewinnen will hat schon verloren
    Aikido - der Weg des Kriegers zur Kunst des Friedens [pdf-Datei]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Aikido als Friedenskunst
    Die Internationale Aiki Friedenswoche [pdf-Datei]
  • Wohak, Bertram
    Dem Körper seine Würde zurückgeben [pdf-Datei]
  • Levine, Donald N.
    Eine Erweiterung der späten Vision von Morihei Ueshiba Sensei 
    Aikido als universelle Praxis des Friedens und der Selbstranszendenz
  • Gruber, Martin
    Formen bilden, Formen vernichten.
    Bemerkungen zu Aikido in der Schauspielausbildung [pdf-Datei]
  • Gruber, Martin
    Go and wash your plate or how to teach Aikido to human resources [pdf-Datei]
  • Kozo, Karai
    Werfen ohne zu berühren
    Auszug aus dem Buch "Die geheimnisvolle Kunst des KI" [pdf-Datei]
  • Stevens, John und Ueshiba, Morihei
    Misogi - Die Reinigung von Körper und Geist [pdf-Datei]
  • Watanabe, Nobuyuki
    Ich denke, Aikido ist die Reinigung der Seele und die Suche nach Schönheit
    Ein Interview [pdf-Datei]


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