Aikido for Kids Development in Southern Africa
by Craig Borman Sensei,4th dan Aikikai, chief Instructor, Shizentai Dojo

Sensei's formal

From left Craig Borman Sensei, Mutsuko Minegishi Sensei 7th dan Aikikai-Guam and
Ikuhiro Kubota Sensei 7th dan Shihan-Nara prefecture Japan.

More than ten years ago Mutsuko Minegishi Shihan, the highest ranking female Aikidoka in the world introduced Aikido for children and youth in South Africa. She is widely known for her wisdom and how to teach children and youth, the philosophy and art of Aikido.
I have had the fortunate oppurtunity to study and accompany Minegishi Sensei to Japan to train with the great masters of Aikido. It is through her guidance that we are able to teach and develop Aikido in South Africa. Kubota Shihan(Master teacher) is a great master of Aikido with more than 50 years of experience on the mat. He is head of Aikido in the Nara prefecture, Japan and has more than 30 dojos. We are extremely lucky to have such a teacher to visit us for the last few years.

Aikido for Kids
Minegishi Shihan on one of her numerous visits to South Africa, Johannesburg in the earlier years of Aikido development.

It is unfortunate that Aikido has not been widely introduced in South Africa. The presence of Judo,Karate and taekwondo deeply routed in our schools for many years has made it very difficult for Aikido to be developed amongst youth and children.

Aikido is more than a martial art- The reason is it's philosophy. Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba who was a sort of genius, an enlightened man who developed a martial art beyond combat to create harmony amongst human beings. Not only does Aikido develop this but also the movement postures and techniques all use natural movement that integrate the mind and body.

Why is it so important to do this ? Well,these practices calm the mind and develop natural relationships with others that do not rely what you have or your race, creed or colour. Aikido seeks to clear the mind of all things and leaves the trainees to develop a sense balance between inner mind and the outer world. Natural relationships based on an appreciation of innate humane values. No other martial art does this.

Aikido girl in action
Girls enjoy Aikido due to it's non violent philosophy

Aikido is not a religion
, but a way of Life that seeks to harmonize and build relationships with others on these innate humane principles.
We are constantly looking at ways to improve our society, Whether we achieve this will depend on whether we as society can embrace new ways of learning and living in Southern Africa.
The lessons in Aikido address these issues and much more.

Craig Borman Sensei, 4th dan Aikikai
Chief Instructor Shizentai Dojo

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