The teaching of aikido to the boys and girls of the Betawar school, as part of the Nirman Project, is inevitably bearing fruit.
Last December 22nd, on occasion of the Varanasi Children's Art Festival, Betawar's aikido students offered a demonstration which was greatly appreciated by their families, the School's teachers and the large audience.
This is a source of great satisfaction since I am well aware that the general public's approach to martial arts is often conditioned by stereotypes as well as by the tendency to put everything under the same umbrella indiscriminately with a superficial and partial view of bodily practices such as aikido, which – at least as taught in our aikido school (Kobayashi Ryu Aikido) – attaches little importance to the spectacular.
In my previous article I emphasized the educational aspect of aikido. Now I can honestly say that the first goals of this teaching process, namely space management, discipline, silence, listening, ritual and respect for the place of practice, have been fully achieved.
The attitude shown by Betawar's students was absolutely exceptional. The correctness of the technical execution, at least for the moment, is of relative importance. What is most important is that these students' spirit started emerging and the audience fully perceived it.
Betawar's boys and girls have "changed", their face and eyes have changed, their bodies no longer move discomposedly, they begin perceiving laterality, they manage the space available and the relational distance with their practice partner better, they have become a group within which everyone has their own role and at the basis of which there is sharing and respect for each other.
Aikido is not a game or a hobby. That's what the boys and girls have figured out and they start looking forward, eager for confirmation and support. We cannot disappoint their expectations. This is a great responsibility, especially for educators.
The presence of aikido in schools, whether public or private, faces only one obstacle: indifference and mistrust of what is unknown.
In Nirman I found openness and competence, a guarantee for the future of these young people.
What's the next goal? Becoming aware, through technical execution, of the functioning of the psychomotor pathways as well as of the blocks conditioning them.
It is a very difficult yet fundamental step for the young person, who in this way can get closer to the reality of the body and use the indispensable tools for his/her own evolution.
Kobayashi Ryu Aikido Shihan