SEVERAL MOMENTS FROM MY CAREER AS AN AIKIDOKA


The first time I heard of Aikido was when in my third grade of primary school, around 1978. I was watching one of the very scarce TV Sport Programs available at that time in Romania, and in the end of  it there appeared a few images about aikido. Only once and no repeat, but I remained very impressed of the way that a small old man was moving amongst several giants and was projecting them relentlessly, without letting even one of them to grab him. Much later I remembered the small old man and now I am almost sure that the images were or master Gozo Shioda, one of the most important direct disciples of the Founder of Aikido.





Two years after this first encounter, I had the opportunity to enter a Dojo of Aikido. It was actually the Judo Dojo of the Institute of Physical Training and Sports of Bucharest, which shortly afterwards was reduced to ruin together with the whole town around it in order to give place to the monumental House of Parliament.
I can still remember even now the stench of fermented perspiration, the exotic names of techniques, the dizziness I got after being left to turn by myself around in a certain way, which was called Tai-Sabaki. I also remember that I could not understand at all why the guy who guided me now and then said to me  after some thirty minutes that I was doing better and then after another thirty minutes that I wa doing almost well. I wonder whether he explained to me or not the basic condition in tai-sabaki, which is that the weight is to be concentrated on the center foot.

In the second training, I was taught how to fall forward. This time also I tumbled away long time after I got dizzy, but grace to this I remember this fall well enough that, a few years after this I escaped safe and sound from a five-meter fall.
Finally, I could not resist more than one month, trainings stank, were late in the night and very far away from my home. Actually, I gave up even before my parents could buy me a dogi.

I started again a couple of months after the 1989 events, when Romanian people regained their freedom to practice martial arts, and from then on I have trained without long off-periods.

From 1996 to 2005 I stayed in Kyoto and trained in three places: Toyonaka Wakikai and The Aikido Club of Osaka University of Foreign Studies, under the supervision of master Norio Ikeda (7-dan) and The Aikido Club of  Kyoto University, under the supervision of master Kazuo Nomura (7-dan at that time).
From 2005 to 2007 I stayed in Kure, Hiroshima pref, from where I kept going to train with master Norio Ikeda whenever I could. I also trained with master Fujimura and master Hino from Hiroshima Prefectural Federation. They were extremely kind an hospitable to me. In April 2007 I did the big step I had been planning for a couple of years and I moved back to Romania. Now I am training at the Center of Martial-Art Related Studies from the University of Bucharest, together with my first teacher sensei Serban Derlogea and also in close relationship with my friends Mr. Adrian Bunea and Mr. Sorin Despa from the Romanian Aikikai Foundation and Mr. Nicolae Mitu from the Romanian Aikido Center.
 I could not say wheter Aikido is necessary or not to Japanese people, since Japanese are naturally well-centered on their will, masters at keeping distance in their relationships and not so vulnerable to laziness, but at least from these three points of view it seems to me that Aikido is a discipline extremely necessary to Romanians who want to survive and to flourish in Romania.
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