welcome to my world
My name is AJ van Dijk, proud founder of The Digi Dojo.
I’m excited you found the place and can’t wait to teach you the best stuff.
And better yet: make sure you don’t make my mistakes so you can save years of trial and error.
With the articles, videos, downloads, courses and e-mail series I have ready for you, you'll be up to speed about the most effective ways of training in no-time.
But for now:
Allow me to introduce myself so you know who’s on the other end. And why you can be confident you came to the right place.
That's me on the right with my friends Roeland and Willem.
We’ve studied together under the late Naoki Ishikawa sensei. They’ve been more than rock-solid support ever since he passed away in 2008.
Ishikawa’s passing was a defining moment, as the responsibility for 2 Dojo and Wadokai Holland instantly fell on my shoulders.
I had big shoes to fill.
But of course, that didn’t just happen.
In ‘96, my mother didn't want me to start Karate.
Being 12 years old, what could I do?
I guess most would except their fate and forget about Karate. Not me.
Here's what I did:
- Practised along with Van Damme every day when getting back home from school. (Kickboxer).
- Took "secret classes" at a local Shaolin Kempo school. My parents thought I went to table tennis
- At table tennis, I took "left stance" to get ready. And I often practised my spinning jump kicks behind the table.
- I did outdoor training with my friend who actually did Kempo and memorised their 7 Kumite.
And the list goes on.
It was a great time, but I always wanted that real Japanese sensei you see in the movies. Straight face, long beard. With invisible moves and words of wisdom.
So I kept pushing at home to convince them.
It didn't work.
So why am I sharing this with you? And how did I finally start Karate?
My uncle told my mother it was not as violent as she thought. So pretty much, I owe my life to him.
That's how my journey started back in '96...
Fast-forward to 2008, I find myself without a teacher. Devastated.
But we continued.
Roeland, Willem, Hiroki (Ishikawa’s son) and me. The core four.
Always training and teaching. Updating the syllabus for our Dojo, doing demonstrations and teaching at summer camps to a wide range of students…
There seemed to be no end to the stuff we did.
In a way, Ishikawa sensei’s passing boosted my drive even more because I couldn’t let him down.
And he told me: "You know my Karate, and you know enough to continue on your own".
That made me determined.
At this point though, I know Wado's Curriculum, but sometimes I was still confused about variations that other instructors teach...
...but that doubt is about to change into confidence.
First, I have to say I owe a lot to Nukina sensei too.
I’m forever in his debt for unlocking skills that form parts of the fundamentals of my Karate today.
Meanwhile, I watch a Karate DVD every night before I go to sleep. I love it, but there is not much that stands out anymore, or that I find really interesting.
Until that one time — I was stunned.
It’s a Friday in 2009 round 10PM when I get back from the Dojo.
There’s a package from my friend from Japan waiting for me.
I open the fridge with Kihon Kumite 1's Taisabaki, grab a cold beer and Wasabi pees.
Then, I drop on the couch — ready to decide which DVD I’m watching this time...
I open the package. A new one titled “Yokoyama, lightning flash hands” catches my attention.
I put the handwritten-labeled DVD in my Playstation 3 hoping it would run.
And then it happens…
My jaw dropped. And I pretty much shed a tear watching the “final message”.
Who is this man?! Wow!
After the final message, credits showed an email address.
I thought: “It must be from a student like me”.
After all, I produced Ishikawa’s DVD from the ground up.
"Shall I give it a shot?"
I figure I’ve got nothing to lose and one thing is for sure: I want to study with this man.
It was HIS email address. Yokoyama himself.
We emailed up and down a few times and I found out he was close friends with Yanagawa sensei.
It seemed all this was meant to be...
When things finally start get back to normal at Ishikawa Dojo, I invite Sakagami and Peter May sensei over to Holland to get one message across: I want to go ALL OUT under their instruction.
A month or 2 later Peter May sensei contacts me if I want to come to the UK: "Yanagawa and Yokoyama sensei are coming over".
Seriously, is that a question?
It was the start of another big acceleration in knowledge and skill.
Yokoyama and myself got very close. So close, that I assisted him to write "Principles of Karate". End up on in Japanese magazines and on the cover of his DVD.
Anyway, back to 2011...
I saw Sakagami sensei as often as I could. And Yokoyama came over to Holland frequently, while also providing me with feedback over the phone as I sent him videos of my training.
During this stage all doubts about variations or "changes" in Kata are gone.
I can go on and on as I’m still scratching the surface of these stories... And I will, haha.
No but seriously — there’s one more thing I want to share before I’m letting you in on the practical stuff that I’ll teach you this week.
Because believe it or not: Yokoyama Kancho passed away in 2018.
I lost my teacher. Again.
So you see, my Karate life is not easy. At the same time, it supplied me with more drive and passion I could ever imagine.
I’m on it 24/7 studying, training, and helping students and senior instructors worldwide to improve their skill.
The opportunities to study directly under these amazing instructors and all these hardships lead to me script and record thousands of videos, write books, shoot DVDS, succeed Yokoyama for his Kobudo line in Europe…
It’s nuts when I think about it.
All these events lead to this very moment that I’m writing this email to you.
Today, I’m finally in a position to teach what they taught me in step by step methods. As clear as possible.
And that brings me to another angle:
I’m a professional school teacher.
In school, everything must be obvious and prepared. Taught using step by step methods that have a clear goal.
In Karate, teachings are sometimes vague and not useful. Even if it’s true (I'll explain this week).
I had to work my way through the philosophical stuff, the cloudy Zen-like Japanese and the shut-up-and-do-it style.
It was hard.
Not to say my instructors always sound like a wise monk, of course they explained clearly too. But not always.
I learned it in a fragmented way, while I'm presenting you packaged stuff. To avoid confustion and speed up your learning process.
I’m here to help you shortcut your learning curve. And save you a number of headaches too.
I can't wait to see you enjoy valuable insights and apply actionable key points that are inside The Digi Dojo
Through free articles, premium courses and insider-only emails, I'll bring you up to speed about the most effective ways to develop your Karate — faster than you can imagine.
It contains knowledge and strategies on training that took me 20 years to figure out under Japanese instruction and 15 years as a professional school teacher.
So I think this is it for now
To thank you for coming this far, enjoy footage of my instructors. Plus seminar footage of Takashima sensei.
Scroll down and you'll find them.
PS: Next to my official "Dojo time" I practise a lot at my house too
That’s an old picture of me with my son Jay in my home Dojo. When I do my morning session (6.45-7.00 start) he joined me.
Here's a more recent one, Dax is on it too. Just just passed their Yellow Fist grading!
Yes... long story short: I convinced my wife she could decide things in the house as long as I got a Dojo on the top floor
(you should try too)
This is how it looked before my house was even completely built:
The promised videos 👊