An Insider’s View of Hombu Dojo: Podcast with Guillaume Erard

In this podcast episode, Guillaume Erard Sensei (5th dan Aikikai, 3rd dan Daito-ryu aikijujutsu) talks about his experience at the Aikikai Hombu (headquarters) Dojo, the Japanese perspective on Budo and the concept of harmony, and insights he’s gained about aikido through his Daito-ryu training.  Guillaume is extremely knowledgable about the technical, cultural, and historical side of aikido and other Budo arts. He’s one of the leading researchers and media producers in the aikido community. We hope you’ll enjoy this conversation with Guillaume.  

Learn more about Guillaume Erard and see his work here.


Josh Gold

Executive Editor of Aikido Journal, CEO of Budo Accelerator, and co-founder of Ikazuchi Dojo.


  • I enjoyed listening to this interview with Erard Sensei. He gives a good overview of practice at Aikikai Hombu Dojo, making many good points about the value of community and of practicing with many different people. I especially liked hearing about Hombu Dojo, today as opposed to 40 years ago, when I practiced there. Also Guillaume sparked my curiosity when he made reference to the significance of suwariwaza from both the modern aikido perspective and that of Daito Ryu. I can’t say that I fully understand his point about the Daito Ryu practice from the knees but from his interview, I’d like to learn more. Guillaume discussed the meaning of rank in aikido, making the point that a person’s rank has more to do with their relationship to their teacher than with technical skill. I think that was well said and I would add that in most cases there should be a baseline of technical competence, depending on a person’s physical condition. Overall, I’m glad that Erard Sensei’s voice is part of the mix.

    • Mr Bookman, your feedback is both unexpected and humbling. I have heard much good things about you and your work from Ellis and did not expect that I would one day be on your radar. Indeed, I keep wondering whether I am really legitimate to be giving that sort of testimony for Aikido Journal. For instance, I am well aware of the fact that there are many far more senior, and far more notable people than I who have been through Hombu and who’s testimonies would be far more pertinent to the audience than my meager experience. Perhaps the saving grace of my account, if any, is that it gives a snapshot of what people of my generation experienced. Interestingly, being one of the last ones of that generation to be still at Hombu, I find it increasingly difficult to relate to the younger (noticeably less numerous) representatives of the subsequent generation of foreign and domestic Hombu students, particularly in terms of the level of engagement into practice (and not in terms of hours spent of the mat, for that makes little difference if one is not really paying attention and pushing oneself). Perhaps not unlike what prompted you to listen to my own account, I often wonder how they might be perceiving things from their perspective. Thank you again very much for your kind and encouraging words.

    • Vince, not yet but we may release a written article based on this podcast in the not too distant future. If we do, you’ll get an update via our email newsletter.

      • I would appreciate reading this in an article form too! Thank you for continuing this work of sharing out thoughts and experiences of dedicated practitioners. These interviews and articles are so helpful to my own practice!