My grandmother, a wise old lady, once said to me, “Negative things take you ahead“. She was 97 at the time and she was not referring to Osensei, yet nothing could have been more fitting for The Great Master’s life and achievements than this statement. As a child, Osensei was weak, frequently sick and, even more often, beaten up by his schoolmates. That is negative enough to begin with.

To get stronger and defend himself, his father encouraged him to learn many kinds of Japanese martial arts. Through Spartan training, over the years Osensei gained outstanding physical fitness. Among his many challengers he found no one who could defeat him. The hard workouts had changed his way of thinking about martial arts. Instead of aiming to destroy the adversary, his main goal became to practise achieving harmony with ourselves and with our environment. After World War II, seeing the horrors of war, Osensei created what he called Aikido.

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The Japanese phrase “Aikido“ is made up of three individual words: Ai - unite, ki – energy, do - way, meaning the way to unite with universal energy. When one watches people performing Aikido, it looks like a harmonious dance. As a new art of defence, Aikido spread rapidly around the world and has been practised by millions in many nations.

Here in Hungary also: Budapest contains many clubs where people can learn and exercise Aikido, yet it would be difficult to find a group expecting or preparing more diligently for an Aikido exhibition than the Budapest-based Aikido Kids Club did recently.

The club celebrated concurrently two anniversaries with their April display. They commemorated the 135th anniversary of Osensei’s birthday and the 10th of their own. The club started in 2008 with only a handful of kids. As such, it aims to provide children with both mental and physical skills that ensure a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.

Aikido Kids has worked with educational professionals to ensure that it benefits the “whole child“. By 2018, more than 260 people practise weekly in the club’s different premises and it has become the largest Aikido club in Hungary. They have places to train in Budakeszi, in Budapest’s Districts II, III and VIII, and at Urom in a total of 10 locations, where they teach Aikido 40 hours a week. Over the past 10 years the club trained about a thousand people. The youngest members are three years old and the oldest over 60. In addition to the Hungarian members, numerous foreign students from many parts of the world participate. Training is therefore often done in two languages.

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The head of the organisation is a teacher and trainer Gergo Juhasz, a 4th Dan degree Black Belt expert. Juhasz travelled the world as an Aikido student – learning from the best in Japan, France and England, including Moriteru Uesiba, a grandchild of Osensei. Apart from running the club, Juhasz is a qualified educator, currently completing his PhD in Politics and Economics. For the special birthday gala, nearly 200 enthusiastic kids gathered at the Gerevich National Sport Hall, joined by 400 even more excited relations.

And to return to that quote of my grandmother‘s, “Negative things take you ahead“, one could see from the practice of the three-year-olds at the Aikido Kids Club that they can use the negative force of aggressors and turn it against them. If the weak little boy Osensei had not been frequently beaten up by his schoolmates he would not have developed Aikido to protect himself – enabling millions of other weak and small people to defend themselves by his peaceful method.

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