On June 7, more than 60 children and young adults from across the Mid-West gathered at the tastefully renovated dojo in Urbana Illinois for a full day of Aikido instruction and “games” to sharpen their skills, deepen their understanding of “the Way of harmonious spirit,” and to forge new friendships with their peers.
Two dojos with robust children’s programs, Fairfield (Iowa) Aikikai and Central Illinois Aikikai (CIA), the hosting organization, worked together to offer four Aikido sessions on Saturday. Lessons were offered by Julio Soares, Bogdan Heretoiu, CIA’s chief instructor Knut Bauer, 5h Dan, Shidoin, and Fairfield Iowa Aikikai’s chief instructor, Sensei Motier Haskins, 5th Don, Shidoin. The seminars consecutively increased in skill level concluding with break fall practice and group photos.
“I was feeling a bit shy going to a different town to practice, but everyone in the Central Illinois Aikido dojo made us feel very welcome and after a few minutes I felt right at home. I am looking forward to next year seeing my new friends again!” LR
A few older “children at heart” adults joined in as well and were reportedly very busy just keeping up with the younger crowd! Everyone also enjoyed a pizza lunch break hosted by the Central Illinois Aikikai.
“This was a great experience. I was impressed by the maturity and dedication of our young adults, some of whom are now transitioning from junior black belt to the adult Aikido world – fifth and fourth Kyu level.” Sensei Motier
Senseis Bauer and Haskins are thinking ahead to next year and the possibility of expanding to a two-day weekend seminar or perhaps even a full week “Summer Camp” and inviting children and young adults from all over the US to enjoy Aikido in the heartland.
written by David Todt (Fairfield Aikikai)