Aikido in Romania

Aikido has become a unifying factor in both my life and in the life of my family.  After nearly six years of marriage, my wife and I were finally able to visit her family in Craiova, Romania. It was to be the first time that she had been home since 2005, and the first time she would visit her parents since she was eighteen. Naturally, the planning process of this trip was extensive, and the duration was to exceed a month in length.

I had her promise me that I would be able to practice Aikido while there, especially since we were going to be away from home for so long. In preparation, I looked up the local dojos in the towns and villages near her family and began sending e-mails.

The dojo closest to her sister’s house was only a few kilometers from where they lived. In April of 2011, I contacted the Sensei there, [Adrian Albeanu, 2nd Dan] to let him know when we would be in the area. He promptly provided the best dates for me to visit, and he also sent his contact information, so that I could confirm our visit when we arrived.

We arrived in mid July, and after spending a few weeks catching up with family, my opportunity to practice Aikido in Romania was approaching. I planned and expected to go on my own, but to my surprise my spouse’s entire family wanted to come and watch. They had never heard of Aikido, and their impression of martial arts up to that time was that it was something that only young children did, or something that only people that wanted to fight practiced. They knew that I was a schoolteacher in the United States, and that I was relatively passive in manner so, they were not sure why I was so interested in this martial art. The night before my niece insisted that I teach her a few things about Aikido before we went. It certainly peaked her interest and the interest of her parents.

The day came, it was a great class that lasted just over two hours. Although some of the warm up techniques were different, the practice was mostly the same. Most of the lesson was conducted in Romanian, but Sensei Albeanu was also able to speak English, and all of the techniques were called out by their Japanese names, which were familiar to me.

We had a great time. Sensei Albeanu stated at the end of the class that he was impressed that though we had learned from different teachers on different continents, our ways differed little, and the transition was nearly seamless.

It was only at the end of the class that I discovered that he normally did not conduct classes during the summer, but had opened the dojo because I was coming. I felt a bit embarrassed, but was honored by him and his students for going though all the trouble for me.

Even though we left Romania in about mid August, the experience did not end for everyone. My niece had been incessantly nagging her parents to let her start Aikido in September, when the dojo was to officially reopen, and so they enrolled her to start in the beginning of that month. Not only has she continued to practice Aikido, but her cousin, her cousin’s boyfriend, and some of his friends have since joined.

If she pursues it, I promised her that when she comes to visit America I would take her to my sensei’s dojo.

The whole experience has inspired me. Now, every time I leave home I look up the local dojo, and plan to take at least one class while there. I just can’t help it.

Matthew McCann

Shodan, Soto Deshi

Aikido Schools of NJ, Roselle Park

 

The ‘Aikido Craiova’ website:

http://www.aikidocraiova.ro/en/blog/2011/08/31/un-oaspete-deosebit-la-clubul-nostru/

The Light Will Enter

The light enters…

My aikido training began in 1988; with whom is not quite important and where is even less important. What is important is the moment that “this is something different” occurred to me, created an instant change in my perception of the martial arts and human interaction. I matured physically, mentally, and emotionally, but discontinued my training as a result of just what I’ll call “life”. Always in the recesses of my mind, was Aikido. Again, I will be blunt. I was immature; I wanted to study a Martial Art that would allow me to solely gain physical power.

As a young athlete in fantastic physical condition, I was reckless. I did not appreciate the different path on which this art places its practitioners. I was more concerned with the physical accomplishments that I believed Aikido would allow me to achieve. It is more than just the generic statements that many make when they discover Aikido, or listen to the esoteric statements about the spiritual component of this fantastic style. What is interesting is that even in my immaturity, I still saw a power in Aikido that was unique, and cloaked from the general Martial Arts community.

Indeed pure physical power has its uses, for if one must do that in the face of eminent danger, it is certainly important to know how to act in an expedient, effective way. It would be disingenuous to say that a little doubt isn’t in my mind when I train. “Will this work, if I need to protect myself?”

Then the light entered…one day, a sempai and close friend said to me, “You know, a sensei said to me, that you have to trust the technique.”

Trust the technique? What does that look like on the mat? How do I do that when someone is rushing to me to harm me? I doubted the merit of that concept. Trust what technique…what is this sensei talking about? If this person is telling me that I’m doing it wrong, then how do I do is properly? As I listened to my sempai, waiting for an opportunity to say, “You are crazy”, or “I have no idea what you are talking about”, it occurred to me that he had hit the nail on the head. If I trust the technique, then my mind and spirit will quiet down, the doubt will be stilled and my body will focus on moving out of danger instinctively without trying to physically destroy someone else.

And so, a new way of training began. Suddenly, the sentences spoken to me by my senseis and sempais, weren’t sentences anymore. They were specific instructions as to how to move, re-direct, blend and subsequently off balance my practice partner. These words became keys to unlocking the power of Aikido; a power that only an Aikido practitioner would begin to see and commit to learning deeper. The light enters…..my youthful immaturity could not have fathomed this. Tonight the sensei said to me, “maybe you needed this as a youth, but your mind is now ready to accept it.” I believe this sensei was right.

 

One of my senseis also said “Aikido is personal, it’s your own”… “It’s a process. You must be patient.” My Sempai said to me, “You’ve got to respect the process. You can’t just go from point A to point B.” I understood that notion and tried to incorporate it into practice. Then one day, the light entered and I realized that I had to respect the process. This statement does sound redundant, but there are two parts to its meaning. There is the one-dimensional level of understanding, but then there is the holistic level where your body and being suddenly becomes somewhat ‘comfortable’ with the continued, repetitive, movement. We begin to feel when we take someone off balance, if we trust the technique and respect the process. We begin to feel when we move away from our center…My body seemed to look for the practice, so to speak. I’d heard these statements many times before, but This Time, I was absorbing it. This time, I truly heard “Trust the technique, respect the process….train, train, train.” It all made physical and spiritual sense to me. It has never been about rushing to the end, to conquer the “other;” “the outer”….It’s always been about commitment, patience, confidence and trust. I trust that this process lets us know that our continued, committed training will result in a positive outcome. Our senseis show us specific techniques. If we practice what they show us, we will develop a trust in this art, which will lead us to learn the power of Aikido. We must practice with confidence, commitment and intention.

The light will enter…..

Dena Williams

Aikido North Jersey

Harmonizing Your Online Dojo Presence

Photography Made Simple!

 

 

Aikido of Charlotte

Harmonizing your online dojo pressence!

I’ve been fortunate to utilize my other media and production firms creativity, video equipment and social networking skills to my dojo’s advantage. Website development, HD Video Production and creating content doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars anymore.

The components of a solid online marketing brand for your dojo consist of
:

  • A Contemporary looking website that is interactive
  • Creating content that is original and sets your dojo apart
  • Videos are a must. YouTube is the #2 Search Engine behind Google.
  • Graphics matter. Pages of text aren’t read anymore.

I’ve had the opportunity with work with several Dojo Cho & Chief Instructors in this capacity in the USAF and I believe in giving back. Feel free to contact me if you’d like a consult on your dojo website, how to invest in the right online tools to drive more traffic to your site, and ways your potential students can learn more about your dojo in new and creative ways.

“He helped me not only to achieve my vision of what I wanted to convey to the public about our Aikido school, but he helped me improve on sharing that vision to the public. He helped me to broaden my skills and was available to work with me when I got stuck.” - Jesse Kaufmann, Adminstrator, Open Sky Aikika

Websites

In addition to being able to radio interview several high ranking USAF Technical Committee Members and Board Members, I had the opportunity twice to work with Peter & Penny Bernath at Winter Camp on original video content. Special Thanks to Yamada Sensei, USAF Technical Committee and Penny Bernath of Florida Aikikai.

Video Work for Florida Aikika at Winter Camp

Video

Video

“I highly recommend Jonathan for his excellent video work and total commitment to Aikido!”

-Andy Demko, 7th Dan, Shihan, USAF Technical Committee

“He has added another dimension to advertising Aikido by using his creative video experience. Jonathan produces an exciting short story using captivating clips, editing, and music. Jonathan’s work is exceptional and we appreciate his talents!”

-Penny Bernath, 6th Dan, Shidoin, USAF Board of Directors, Florida Aikikai

Questions? E-mail me:

jonathan@aikidoofcharlotte.com

 

Who is Jonathan Weiner?

Jonathan Weiner is the CEO of Mez Media, Inc. a full service online marketing and advertising agency servicing clients globally. He specializes in HD Video Production, Website Design & Development, Online Radio Podcasting, Email Marketing, Social Media & more. He is the Dojo Cho of Aikido of Charlotte and is currently ranked Sandan and is a Fukushidoin in the USAF.

Facebook

 

An Important Message from Yamada Sensei

We have just finished the USAF summer camp of 2012 and it was a big success. It was the second biggest summer camp of our history in terms of attendance, and I’m very happy. A million thanks to all the people who worked so hard to help organize this big event. I would like to mention many individual names to show my appreciation, however, there is not enough space to do so. Anyway, it was successful because of everybody’s effort.

One unique point of our camp is that we have so many classes taught by so many instructors, including women and people from other countries, and each one of them showed their personality and skills freely. That showed my motto for our federation is working: Freedom, Friendship, Fairness and Flexibility. This is what no other country offers besides ours.

Needless to say, my biggest concern is to make everyone happy, but nothing is ever perfect. My summer camp headache is to make the class schedule. There are so many capable instructors for a limited number of classes, so in the future I must make some adjustments and shuffle the schedule around. I need your understanding and I will do my best. You can expect another good camp for next year. I will also try to improve my singing.

At the end of camp during the farewell party, I introduced my ideas for the future of the USAF. You may have received the official letter with my announcement, but here is a copy of the letter to read if you have not seen it.  I also asked the Technical Committee to do the testing at camp, as it is also one of my ideas for the future. I understand that there was some confusion among the members when this happened. Please put your trust in whoever it is that oversees our tests, and not question their decisions as I have put my trust in them as well.   After all, changes must be made sooner or later and since it is my responsibility to make sure the USAF stays strong in the future, it is better to start addressing them now. I will remain involved in the oversight, instruction and guidance of the federation for many years to come, and hope that you will accept with positive thoughts the many changes I have offered to secure our future.

You should be proud of yourself to be a member of the best federation in the entire aikido world.

Y. Yamada