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The first IAF’s Youth International Seminar took place in Netherlands at mid November. Over 270 children attended the seminar that was conducted by Eiji Katsurada Hombu Dojo Shihan. The young aikidoka came from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Russia, Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands.

1 group

Eiji Katsurada Shihan 6th Dan conducted the trainings of the seminar in Arnhem, Netherlands. He is the Chief of Youth Program at Hombu Dojo, in Tokyo. During the classes in Japan, the young ones learn not only the techniques, but also the etiquette and manners.

2 Katsurada sensei

Children worked together on tatami in three training sessions. Katsurada Shihan used a lot of games to explain certain movements they needed to use when applying them in the techniques. For example, he coordinated the groups of children to build castles from the members themselves and then he asked them to use that firmness in their hands when they needed to do ikkyo.

3 castle

Katsurada Shihan creates in his classes a variety of situations in which children have to move all the time so they don’t get to be bored and their interest for the class and for Aikido is continuous. Besides teaching them techniques and etiquette, Sensei mentioned “Another purpose in my classes is to determin the young ones to make certain moves that strengthen their body so that they become less tired and continue to have a healthy life style even if they stop doing Aikido when they grow up.”

4 class

Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba sent a message at the opening ceremony through a video, in which he emphasized to the young public the characteristics of Aikido, how it developes the mind and the body of those who are practicing it, he talked about the respect for each other and about the spirit of unification in Aikido.

In return, the children sent messages to Doshu, expressing their gratitude for having the chance of practicing Aikido and learning so many things through it.

At the end of the seminar, the young ones were happy to conclude that it was a great seminar and they enjoyed working with children from other countries and not only did they learn better the techniques, but also they made new friends.

Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, the Ambassador for Japan in the Netherlands, came to see the participants and their presentation of techniques and said he was happy to see so many young people from different countries training together there. When asked how does he think Aikido relates to other aspects outside tatami, His Excellency said “Aikido is knowing yourself and knowing the other side and this is the basis of diplomacy.” He also mentioned that Japan and Netherlands have a long history of relationship and communication between these two countries and cultures is based on principals that can be found in Aikido.

5 ambassador

(Gerrit-Bartus Dielissen - Chairman of Aikido Bond Netherlands, Kei Izawa - Chairman of IAF, Wilko Vriesman - General Secretary of IAF, Hiroshi Inomata - Ambassador for Japan in the Netherlands, Eiji Katsurada - Chief of Hombu Dojo Youth Program)

Mr. Andre Bolhuis, Chief of the Dutch Olympic Committee, was present at this event too and, considering that a Memorandum of Understanding between IOC and GAISF has just been signed a few days ago, he said “I welcome Aikido in the Olympic movement and the philosophy of Aikido is what is needed in the world. Its harmony and the fact that it suits for elder people and young ones as well are a plus in the Olympic universe. It is a good time to renew our interest for Aikido and in a short while I will start discussions here to improve even more this relationship.”

6 noc

(Wilko Vriesman - General Secretary of IAF, Andre Bolhuis - Chief od Dutch Olympic Committee)

On this occasion, the first meeting of the IAF Youth Working Group took place in Papendal Sportcentrum, the vanue of the seminar in Arnhem, Netherlands. The Chairman of this working group is Renato Filippin Shihan from Switzerland, who organized a big youth Aikido event in his country this spring and shared his experience with the other members as Youth Activities represent one of the pillars of the new IAF Directing Committee strategy for the future. The next International Aikido Youth Seminar has been announced to be in Romania next year.

7 wg arnhem

This event is the biggest Youth Aikido International Seminar that the Netherlands Aikido Federation has organized so far. Wilko Vriesman Shihan, who is the Chairman of this umbrella Dutch organization and also the General Secretary of IAF, together with the core team consisting of Lijnie Reijers, Erwin Nijhoff, Rene Habraken, Tom Dijkman and Ronnie Stevens went to a lot of infinite to make this event be a great one.

8 team

(Rene Habraken, Ronnie Stevens, Erwin Nijhoff, Irina Gaspar and Lijnie Reijers)

9 team

(Rene Habraken, Tom Dijkman, Erwin Nijhoff)

Most of the young Aikidoka were attending for the first time such a seminar abroad and all of them said they are looking forward to the next one. The instructors that came with them were also overjoyed and had the opportunity to be part of one of the training sessions conducted by Eiji Katsurada Shihan.

International Aikido Federation

17-18 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0056 Japan

TEL : 03-3203-9236
FAX : 03-3204-8145
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