EU Youth Working Group Europe

EU Youth Working Group Europe

EU Youth Working Group unites Aikido Youth instructors within the European countries. It is a place where instructors can communicate with each other and share the best teaching methods, suitable for young Aikidokas, as well as in the future receive recommendations of Youth instructors from AIKIKAI Hombu Dojo.

Let’s join and work together for making Aikido Youth trainings more attractive and perfect in its technical form, may Aikido trainings become an effective method for physical, mental and moral education of young people, let’s unite Aikido Youth and make a suitable space for communication and friendship, let’s draw future perspectives for Aikido Youth development of not only within the country, but also to international level.

The close future goals are to create an online platform for Youth instructors for sharing their teaching methods, unite countries for organizing and leading Aikido Youth events, as well for organizing annual International Youth seminars conducted by AIKIKAI Hombu Dojo instructors. Later we hope to create a Youth teaching curriculum with the recommendations of AIKIKAI Hombu Dojo, as well criteria for certification of Youth instructors.

Together, let’s get inspired and encourage young Aikidokas to become future Aikido leaders and

Irina Kushelevich
Chairperson of the Youth Working Group



IAF Youth Seminar
Aikido Back on Track

The fourth IAF Youth Seminar was organised in the Netherlands. IAF member organisations were cordially invited to send a delegation to participate. 

Here are the demo sessions, at the end of the seminar:


Details of the seminar:

Friday 22nd of July until Sunday 24th of July

The event was aimed at passionate youthful aikidoka, aged 12 - 20, from IAF member associations.

Aikikai World Headquarters in Tokyo Japan decided to dispatch Toshio Suzuki 6 Dan Shihan for this Youth Seminar.

Location / Venue
The event was held at Papendal. Papendal is the Dutch Olympic training ground, beautifully situated just outside the city of Arnhem. Hotel and training facilities are all situated on the campus ground within walking distance of eachother.

The preliminary schedule:

Friday 22nd
18:30 Arrival and registration (dinner optional if requested in advance)
19:00 - 21:00 Training

Saturday 23rd
09:00 - 09:45 Preparation time Embu
10:00 - 12:00 Training
14:00 - 16:00 Training (parallel: teacher workshop)
16:30 - 17:30 Preparation time Embu (parallel: teacher workshop with Hombu shihan)
Dinner and Party

Sunday 24th
10:00 - 12:00 Training (open for all youth)
12:00 - 15:00 Embukai

Teacher workshop
The teacher workshop is a platform for attending teachers to exchange ideas, experiences and best practices with other teachers.

The event finished with a large embukai (demonstration) by all the participating teams. The delegation was responsible for preparing their own embu.

Your stay
Hotel Papendal offered twin bedrooms (two beds that can be separated). The delegations were to decide how to divide the rooms amongst themselves.

(Dietary) requirements
Please contact your national association regarding (dietary) requirements. This information could be filled in on the registration form and was accomodated where possible.

Arrival and Departure to Papendal
A free shuttle service between Arnhem Central Station and Papendal was provided. Delegations were to travel to Arnhem Central Station by themselves and provided an estimated time of arrival and departure.

Arrival and Departure to the Netherlands
There are two international airports in the vicinity (Amsterdam-Schiphol and Eindhoven). Please check the travel time to Arnhem Central Station carefully before booking a flight. You can check Dutch public transport scheduling here.

Participation in the seminar cost: 240 euros per person. This covered the travel from Arnhem Central Station to the venue and back, accommodation, meals and participation in the event.
Accompanying teachers or parents: 100 euros per person, subject to availability. This covered the travel from Arnhem Central station to the venue and back, accommodation and meals.

Registration for the event was done through the national member associations. All IAF member associations received a registration form. Those interested in joining had to apply through the national association.







Imagine Challenge!

Dear instructors and friends,

The IAF Youth Working Group will be hosting an online challenge for all children and we would much appreciate your help with inviting them to join.

What do they have to do?
Children should prepare a short video clip (60 seconds) with the question(s) they are answering.

This video can be filmed inside or outside the dojo, however, please get parents’ permission before we upload videos of their children onto social media.

Please see the questions below and send your videos to this email:

Please send the videos by 27 June 2022!


Past Activities

2021 Online Youth Working Groups Joint Event - Autumn Edition

The two IAF Youth Working Groups, from Europe and from Latin America, had an online joint event on the 25th of September 2021, Saturday. Youth instructors shared stories and skills from their aikido classes. 

The event was held on Zoom and video streamed on the Facebook pages of the two working groups. The workshop had two sessions:
I:  Live Streaming on the Facebook page IAF Aiki Youth
II: Live Streaming on the FAcebook page ULA IAF Aiki Youth

We are also uploading videos from the event on our IAF Youtube Channel:

The seminar was a part of the #EuropeanWeekofSport and was enjoyed by both children and instructors from around the world. Here above is the opening speech (English and Spanish) from Kei Izawa Sensei, IAF Vice Chairman at this moment. This virtual event was organized with the coordination of Pia Moberg Sensei and Rafael Chayres Sensei, the Chairpersons of the two working groups, and also with the much appreciated help of Mario Sapienza and Fredrik Schiren, who designed the poster and edited the videos.


Here above is the video from Chile. Lorena Freire sensei is showing how they study ukemi through an exercise called ‘melted’ while using a short wooden stick. She demonstrates tenchi nage and sumi otoshi and the students then practice this ukemi.


Here above is one of the videos from Sweden. Åsa Bergström Sensei from Liljeholmen is showing an exercise called ‘jumping Aikido’. They start off with katatedori gyakuhanmi kokyu nage, then from the same grip they do kaiten nage, and after that they do suwariwaza kokyu ho. Afterwards, everyone is asked to do their favourite technique while doing the exercise.


The workshop was between 16.00-19.00 CET (Central European Summer Time).
Therefore, we had:
16.00-19.00 for Sweden, Slovenia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France
17.00-20.00 Bulgaria, Romania
09.00-12.00 (am) Mexico, Peru
12.00-15.00 Argentina
11.00-14.00 Chile, Uruguay
10.00-13.00 Venezuela, Colombia

Instructors in the first session:
Lorena Freire ”Melted” Chile (used a wooden stick of 50 cm for the class)
Åsa Bergström “Jumping Aikido” Sweden
Nelson Requena “Big ball ukemi” Venezuela (used a big ball or a partner during the class)
Jana Jacobsen “Umbrella technique” Germany (used an umbrella with a curved handle for the class)
Ariel David Arriagada “Let’s play with balance and center” Argentina
Colin Beyers “Overhead Strike kotegaeshi” South Africa (used a cylindrical object resembling a tanto or a tanto during the class)
Pierre Marcon “Keep calm and use the force" France
Eleonore Lemaire “3-steps massive randori” France

Instructors in the second session:
Pablo Buenafe “Harmony Circles” Guatemala (used a hula hoop or an obi or a dress belt during the class)
Olga State “Shikko tag” Romania
Lucho Howard “The circle is our center” Argentina (had a medium ball during the class)
Pia Moberg “Scarfs play” Sweden (used a scarf per person - synthetic cloth, light material)
Aramando David Miyagi “Avoiding with tai sabaki” Perú
Maarten Heinsius ”Teaching tai-sabaki using your hands” Netherlands
Meyalxochitl Hernandez “Learning Aikido by playing” México (had small balls prepared for the class)
Nikolay Dimitrov “Chudan tsuki attack avoidance” Bulgaria
Oliver Omar Estremadoyro “La piñata” Peru (used a foami tube of 50 cm or a bokken or wooden stick of 50 cm for the class)

The event is part of the European Week of Sport.

The credit for the design of the poster goes to Mario Sapienza.

We use these hashtags for the publishing campaign:

You can also see the videos on the IAF Youtube Channel here or by clicking on the name:

Kei Izawa Sensei - Introduction



2021 Online Youth Working Groups Joint Event - Spring Edition

The two IAF Youth Working Groups, from Europe and from Latin America, had an online joint event that went on wonderful. It was held on the 1st of May 2021. Youth instructors shared stories and skills from their #aikido classes.
The opening speech (English and Spanish) was held by Kei Izawa sensei/IAF Chairman and German Santamaria sensei/Ulaiaf Coordinator.
This virtual event was organized with the coordination of Pia Moberg sensei and Rafael Chayres sensei, Chairpersons of the two working groups, and also with the much appreciated help of Lijnie Reijers sensei and of Fredrik Schiren, who edited the videos that we are happy to share with all of you during the following days, on the facebook pages of the two working groups and also on the IAF youtube channel.

We use these hashtags for the publishing campaign:

Here is the video of the opening speech, uploaded on our youtube channel (click on the picture below):

Click below for the first video from the new series we have just launched, regarding the online youth working groups joint event.
It comes from Venezuela. Nana Gonzales Petit is showing us how she teaches 3-6 years old aikidoka to learn words in Japanese. There are two nice simple songs, one for learning body parts and one for learning directions in Japanese, that Mariana and Gabriel enjoy. They have fun singing and dancing.

Click below for the second video from the series we have recently launched, regarding the online youth working groups workshop.
It comes from Germany. Inga Minet and Silke Makowski are showing us two funny exercises that can be used in the children classes.
Inga is emphasizing a warm-up exercise, suitable for kids up to 5 years old, in which everybody is imagining is running in the forrest and encounters all kinds of obstacles: fallen trees, rivers etc. You have to jump over or aside, bend or even swim.
Silke is using a ball to describe better how children (and not only) can move the uke when doing an iriminage.

Click below for the third video from the series regarding the online youth working groups joint event.
It comes from Argentina, from Gabriel Benitez. In the first part, a ball is used in warm-up exercises for hips, arms and knees. And if you play the ”follow me” game, just like these two protagonists, you might have some laughter exercises as well.
The second part reflects a great way to use the same ball to teach young aikidoka how to improve the irimi while playing. You can do it at different ma-ai, at different speeds.

Click below for the next video from the youth working groups workshop series.
It comes from Mexico. Eva Arellano and Meyal Hernandez focus on ukemi. Take a small ball and invite the students to do the ukemi either by taking the ball from the tatami or by grabbing it from the air.

Click below for next video from the series of the youth working groups workshop.
It comes from Sweden. Pia Moberg and her team are using funny green hats for showing us how to entertain and also teach/learn ikkyo, omote and ura waza.
Do not lose the hat when taking the steps and doing the technique!

Click below for another video from the youth workshop series.
It comes from Peru. Jose Tarrillo uses a jo to make the students react faster and faster. He connects different attacks to different sabaki. The speed and the difficulty of the exercise will adjust to the age and experience of the students.

Click below for next video from the youth workshop series.
It comes from Argentina. Ariel Arriagada is running and doing shikko among colored milestones, for a start. Then he practices different sabaki using a triangle, a rectangle, pink and yellow arrow forms and also a zig-zag shape. Our friend - the geometry!

Click below for the next video from the youth workshop series, that comes from France. Eleonore Lemaire, Pierre Marcon and a happy aiki-chorus brought their contribution to the film that has a dance included in the second part.
Eleonore starts with an exercise about the aihanmi contact to emphasize the distance, the direction, the posture. Then comes Pierre and shows udekimenage, constructing the technique with the elements shown by Eleonore.
Aaaand...after that, we enjoy a great Aiki Socca Sabaki. You have the lyrics and also the rhythm. So all you need to do is to follow the leader/follow the sensei!
Try it!

Click below for the video from the youth workshop series, that comes from Colombia.
Abraham Builes and his son, Geronimo, are playing with a balloon to learn how to connect to a moving element. First, they roll the balloon on the wall using their hands, then they roll it between the hands of them both, then between their heads, then their chests, then their shoulders. You can teach how to keep proper close distance, to keep connection with the partner and to feel his movement.

Click below for the video from the youth workshop series, that comes from Chile.
Lorena Freire is using a jo to show 2 exercises that are to move the energy and stimulate the circulation in our body. She recommends to vary the speed in order to achieve more fluidity.
Seems easy, yet demanding.

Click below for the video from the youth workshop series, that comes from Slovenia.
Nika Pisek is together with teen-aikidoka, helping them to make easy basic steps for using the bokken. She is also explaining a play of words related to the bokken and how the practitioner should be relaxed and have soft movements.

Click below for the video coming from another dojo in Argentina.
Silvia Colucci is playing with sounds when challenging the students to practice the ukemi. The ”game” is that the fall will be done when the clapping is accompanied by a number. But Silvia will try to trick the students, so sometimes she is just clapping or she is just saying a number.
This way, you train both the focus and the ukemi. Plus, you have fun.

Click below for the video from Romania.
Olga State has some advice out of her experience regarding how to communicate with the kids in her class. The main thing is that she adjusts her speech according to the age of the audience in the dojo. For example, when she coordinates the warm-up for the sankyo, she likens the circular motion to spinning in a bowl of chocolate. Or when showing how to hold hands right in front of her, she says she is holding a plate of cakes that she does not want to drop.
Olga sends the message that she is also a kid, almost just like the young students. She makes the explanations fun and uses words that make the children excited to hear.

Click below for the video coming from another dojo in Mexico.
Rafael Chayres has a very funny assistent sensei, called Akita Tumono. The aikido puppet is coordinating the aiki taiso for the class. It is leading the movements for the warm-up for the neck, the arms, the legs and the rest of the body. It brings extra joy for the kids and they love it!

Click below for the video coming from Bulgaria.
Nikolay Dimitrov is showing us how he teaches children to respond quickly to an attack.
The first exercise aims at creating the reflex of using the same hand as the attacker. So, first, the instructor commands what hand the uke must use and the nage can prepare easily the hand also, then uke does the shomenuchi with whatever hand he wants, so the nage has the element of surprise.
The second exercise is actually a funny game, called ”the dragon's fire tongue”, ment also to determine the children to pay attention to the attack. The instructor uses a belt or a piece of cloth, with fast movements, and the young aikidoka must step outside the range/the direction of the attack.

Click below for the video from Uruguay.
Pablo Alonso is describing an exercise in which one kid is wearing a sock and moves inside the tatami while the other children are trying different ways to take it off. It is very funny for the youth and, with the coordination of the instructor, the aikidoka can develop technical skills while moving.

Click below for the video coming from the Netherlands.
Maarten Heinsius is showing us how to do ushiro ukemi and then get up immediatly with the knees not touching the floor. This is a small detail of which lots of people are interested in.
He points out the steps to practice in order to do it easily - first, ending in a normal plank position, then in a plank with spread legs and then with the knees close to the chest.
Try it!

Click below for the touching message from one of the young aikidoka who participated in this online event.

We have just completed the series of publications related to the youth instructors aikido workshop - the first edition of 2021.
Thank you all for being part of it, either by participating, watching, liking or sharing the posts we published on our Facebook page and on our Youtube channel!
Soon we come with news about the next workshop of this kind!


2020 France (cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic)

2019 Bulgaria - International Aikido Youth Seminar

2018 Romania - International Aikido Youth Seminar

2017 Netherlands - International Aikido Youth Seminar