More inspiration from Stockholm – return to the crime scene
We sat on the mats after practice, resigned expressions on our faces. I think Honza broke the silence: ‘When is the next training? And where?”
On that Thursday in November, the first snow fell in Stockholm. The beginning of winter. We slept on the tatami at the Iyasaka Aikidoklubb (there’s an insanely noisy air-conditioning system running at night) and got up at six in the morning. An hour practice, a quick change of clothes and a subway ride to Vanadis, where there was another morning practice at another club. Then we had breakfast at the cafe where Astrid Lingren used to go (Pipi Longstockking was written in the tenement across the park) and the lunchtime training was starting, which of course we also attended. Three workouts in half a day wouldn’t have been too much, but we kept up the pace of 3–5 hours of exercise on our sixth day in Stockholm… and we still had three more intense days to go.
There were eight of us, five young and three adult aikidokas (all teachers or assistants of Aikido Prague Vinohrady) and we came to Stockholm for a study stay. The idea of the trip was to follow up on our stay in Stockholm in 2019, through which we significantly improved our aikido training for children.
On the first weekend we had a seminar with four of Sweden’s most famous teachers (Ulf Evenas, Stefan Stenudd, Urban Aldenklint and Jan Nevelius), during the working week we practiced in regular classes in two clubs and on the second weekend we practiced a seminar with our French Shihan Franck Noel. We talked to local teachers about teaching, observed lessons for children and young people, and soaked up the inspiration and atmosphere. Apart from the great training, it was a truly exceptional coaching session – the teachers and clubs there have 20–30 years more experience than we have.
It was also an amazing experience – Stockholm is a beautiful city, so we made the most of it. In between training sessions we explored the old town, the skansen, museums, galleries, secondhand shops…
Nine days of sleep, exercise, food, exercise, city, talking into the night and sleep again…
As we sat on the mats that Thursday, exhausted and energized at the same time, I realized that this slow stewing in our own juices is exactly what young aikidists need to make practice a part of their lives, to become great teachers later on.
Because our question is not, “Do I want to go to the next training?”
The question is: “When is the next training?”
Because aikido is a journey that never ends.
Similar study trips are the source we draw from when we deepen the quality of training for children, young people and adults at Aikido Prague Vinohrady. They are also a space where young people mature into independent adults with a life perspective.
Thank you Stockholm, thank you Iyasaka and Vanadis clubs, thank you Urban, Jan and all the teachers and fellow students for allowing us to experience this and for your inspiration. And thanks to all of you who made the trip possible.