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.