For the third time in Prague: international seminar for children and youth

On Satur­day mor­ning in Pra­gue, around 100 chil­dren star­ted the­ir first tra­i­ning on the big tata­mi… and it was a line from one side of the hall to the other. Check out the pho­tos! And we were­n’t all the­re yet, because the bus with the Ukra­i­ni­an kids got dela­yed at the bor­der and arri­ved a bit late. After a warm-up toge­ther, we divi­ded into age cate­go­ries – small kids, big­ger kids and tee­nagers – and star­ted real tra­i­ning sessi­ons full of varied move­ment, games and most impor­tant­ly aikido.

Food was brou­ght in for lunch, but as soon as it was eaten, the kids star­ted pla­y­ing the­ir own games on the mats. They had an hour bre­ak, but they still ran, jum­ped, wrest­led… and made new fri­ends, even if they had to spe­ak Eng­lish to each other sometimes…

This is one of the rea­sons why we hold a big inter­nati­o­nal semi­nar: to let the kids expe­ri­en­ce that aiki­do is much big­ger than the­ir club, to let them know that they are part of a big world and that this world is friendly.

Over the lunch bre­ak the­re was time for a joint talk by the tea­chers and club lea­ders who came to the semi­nar. The­re were a lot of us – about 140 chil­dren and 40 adult tea­chers, assistants and gui­des from 10 clubs from 3 coun­tries (Czech Repub­lic, Slo­va­kia and Ukraine).

The mee­ting of tea­chers is the second rea­son for the semi­nar – we cre­a­te a spa­ce for sha­ring inspi­rati­on from dif­fe­rent clubs and orga­ni­zati­ons – so that we can teach Aiki­do even better.

In the after­no­on, the chil­dren con­ti­nu­ed tra­i­ning in the­ir cate­go­ries befo­re the high­li­ght of the pro­gram came: the joint tra­i­ning of all chil­dren and tea­chers with the­ir parents! So in the end, lite­rally eve­ry­o­ne tra­i­ned toge­ther with eve­ry­o­ne in the last class.

At the end we cle­a­ned the tata­mi toge­ther and said good­bye. The only ones who sta­yed were tho­se who slept over­ni­ght in the Sokol Hall and the next day took a walk around Pra­gue. The oppor­tu­ni­ty was used main­ly by Slo­vak and Ukra­i­ni­an chil­dren, for whom it was ano­ther gre­at experience.

The big­gest reward for us orga­ni­zers are the tired and satis­fied faces of chil­dren and young peo­ple, the enthusi­astic com­ments of parents and the desi­re of club lea­ders to come to the semi­nar aga­in. Thank you for coming and we look for­ward to see­ing you aga­in – we are alrea­dy plan­ning a date for this event in 2024.

And many thanks to eve­ry­o­ne who hel­ped orga­ni­ze the semi­nar and who sup­por­ted it – espe­ci­ally the Czech Aiki­do Fede­rati­on and the TJ Sokol Pra­ha Krá­lov­ské Vino­hra­dy. Thanks to you, the chil­dren from Ukra­i­ne were able to attend the semi­nar and sle­ep in Pra­gue for free, and we also con­tri­bu­ted from the pro­ce­eds of the semi­nar for the­ir travel!

PS: If you would also like to sup­port Aiki­do tra­i­ning for chil­dren in Ukra­i­ne, check out the web­si­te of the pro­ject “Aiki­do for Ukra­i­ne”, with which we have long been coo­pe­ra­ting and who­se repre­sen­ta­ti­ves were also at our semi­nar. They are doing gre­at work!