ulrike serak, 6. dan aikikai tokyo    max eriksson ohlwein, 6. dan aikikai tokyo

Ulrike Serak, 6th Dan Aikikai Tokyo

After my graduation at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Cologne in dance and motion theatre, I started practicing Aikido. Up till my 1st Dan (1984) I practiced at Asai Sensei‘s (now 8th Dan) school. He was a delegate of the Aikikai Honbu Dojo (Tokyo, Japan) for Germany, and in this way, I was practically in touch with the source of Aikido, his teachings were authentic. I became familiar with Aikido in his Dojo and owe a lot to these beginnings.

Opening my own dojo in Berlin

After moving to Berlin I became a student of Gerhard Walter. His Dojo was very famous within the Aikikai Germany. People from all over Germany gathered here to practice intensely. Many of us practiced on a daily basis, attending seminars of high-ranked Aikido masters all over Europe, and were very committed, and it turned out that many future teachers came from his Dojo. It was this special mixture in Gerd‘s training, his many highly motivated and committed students, and the common attendance at international seminars that made this time so intense and special.

After 13 years of intensive Aikido training, I opened my first Dojo in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. This Dojo worked out very well, I was standing on my own feet and looking for new teachers in order to proceed further. I did not want to make ends meet, settle for what I have achieved so far, not become an ‘expert‘ yet.

Finding a new teacher

Of all the seminars I attended, Yamaguchi Sensei’s made the biggest impression on me. Furthermore, I attended his seminars in Germany and practiced at his Dojo during my first visit to Japan. I definitely wanted to follow up on this trail, and my path leads me to Christian Tissier, the closest student of Yamaguchi Sensei in Europe. I had met him before at several seminars of Yamaguchi Sensei, however, I had not yet met him as a teacher.

When I went to Paris for three months in 1992 to practice at Noro Sensei‘s Dojo, I got to know Tissier Sense as a teacher. It was a revelation to me and any reservations which I previously had vanished. I spent a short but very intense time at his Dojo, he introduced me to his main students and from then on I ‚had to‘ mainly practice with them.

After leaving Paris I felt that I have found my teacher again. Since then I have continuously attended his seminars and I regularly invite him to Berlin and to a one-week summer seminar in Germany. Christian Tissier awarded me the 5th Dan in 2006. Nowadays I often have the feeling at his seminars that for me a gap is closing, compared to what I used to practice years ago with Yamaguchi.

Max Eriksson Ohlwein, 6th Dan Aikikai Tokyo

Practicing Judo as a teenager for a few years, I discovered Aikido at the age of 17 in 1990. For the first 10 years, I studied under Gerd Walter sensei.

In 2000 I met Ulrike Serak sensei at a Seminar with Endo Shihan in Norway. She already was an experienced student of Tissier sensei and through her teaching, I was able to understand was Tissier was talking about. Looking for new input to my Aikido studies, I decided to practice in her Dojo in Berlin Kreuzberg. I followed her lead and she opened the door for me to the Aikido of Christian Tissier Sensei and Seishiro Endo Sensei as well.

Through Tissier Sensei, I learned about the ancient sword-fighting style Kashima Shin Ryu, which he had studied under Minoru Inaba sensei in Japan. In 2006 I was able to travel to Japan for two months and to study Kenjutsu directly under Inaba sensei. Since then I deepened my research in Kenjutsu and try to visit Japan every other year to practice at the Shiseikan.

Aikido record

  • January 2015 – promoted 6th Dan Aikikai through the recommendation of Ch. Tissier Shihan
  • January 2015 – promoted 5th Dan Aikikai through the recommendation of Ch. Tissier Shihan
  • March 2011 – world trip (USA, South America, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Japan)
  • Oct. 2009 – one-month Aikido/Kenjutsu in Tokyo
  • July 2008 – promoted 4th Dan Aikikai by Ch. Tissier Shihan
  • Sept. 2006 – two-month Aikido/Kenjutsu in Tokyo
  • June 2004 – promoted 3rd Dan Aikikai by Ch. Tissier Shihan
  • March 2004 – three weeks Aikido practice in Cercle Tissier, Paris
  • Autumn 2002 – grading as Dipl. Ing. E&VT
  • Oct. 2000 – starting Aikido with U. Serak, Ch. Tissier, S. Endo
  • January 1990 – starting Aikido with G. Walter sensei


Werner Gräf, 5th Dan Aikikai Tokyo

Werner Gräf made his first experiences in Aikido with Jürgen Ebertowski in 1985. From 1995 on, he has been training with Ulrike Serak Sensei and in 2004 he started to teach the Friday morning class.

In 2006, he initiated a children’s project for Aikido and violence prevention in the Wassertor-Kiez in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Inspired by his experiences in the Kreuzberg project, he founded an Aikido Dojo for children and teenagers in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Werner Gräf teaches the morning training on Fridays and as the most senior student in the Dojo, he substitutes for Ulrike Serak Sensei as necessary in the advanced classes.

In January 2021 he received the 5th Dan Aikikiai on the Kagami-Biraki Ceremony by recommendation of Ulrike Serak Sensei.

Christiane Gräf, 4th Dan Aikikai Tokyo

Christiane Gräf started with the Aikido in 1997, still in the first dojo of Ulrike Serak at Badensche Straße. She gained her first teaching experience in aikido in the children’s training of the dojo, which she led from 2007 to 2012, and also as a substitute teacher.

Since 2012, she has been building her club, Aikido Lankwitz e.V. Here she teaches aikido for children, adolescents, and adults. At the dojo, she gives a regular morning class on Monday and regularly substitutes for Ulrike Serak Sensei and Max Eriksson Sensei in their absence.

Teachers for the Dojo children program

Helmut Seiler – 2nd Dan Aikikai Honbu Dojo

Helmut is teaching classes for children age 7-10 on Thursday and for adolescents on Friday.

Simon Debus – 2nd Dan Aikikai Honbu Dojo

Almut Wedekind – 1st Dan Aikikai Honbu Dojo

Almut and Simon are teaching kids at the age of 4 to 6 together on Mondays and Tuesdays.