Success in the Heartland with Children’s Aikido

First Annual Mid-West Children’s Aikido Seminar – June 2014

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)

Aikido Roll-A-Thon Raises Funds For Local Food bank

Press Release: Litchfield Hills Aikikai is proud to announce the results of the Aikido Youth Program Roll-a-Thon held on Monday, December 12th. The children completed 4,490 Aikido rolls in ½ hour, and because of their outstanding efforts and dedication to this cause, they raised $1650 in sponsored donations Upon completing their rolls, the funds were presented to Kevin Purcell of Torrington FISH to help support the local food bank during the holidays and winter months ahead. As Sensei Laura Pavlick stated, “This was a special moment for the kids – they worked so hard, set their own goals, worked with such concentrated effort towards those goals, and gave back to their community in a huge way. This touches on so many important lessons – what a great experience. We are all so proud of them.”

In addition to Mr. Purcell attending the event to watch the children work tirelessly towards their goals, Litchfield First Selectman Leo Paul was there to show his support as well. The local flavor of the event was topped off with other contributors: a special thanks to Bantam Market for its support – their donation of snacks and drinks was greatly appreciated by the kids after all their hard work was done; local artist Elizabeth Wolff for providing her great art work for the documents and certificates; and photographer Jacek Dolata for his outstanding pictures which capture the essence of this important project. Click here to the photos of this.
To learn more about the Aikido Dojo go to www.litchfieldaikido.com

New England Aikikai Children’s Class Promotions

On April 9th, 2011 New England Aikikai held promotions for 20 children from their children’s program.  They all did a wonderful job, and the dojo members were on the mat supporting their efforts.