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Hilde Duchateau from Diest, BE, 1.Dan Tendoryu Aikido, 2007

Posted 17/2/2019

"AIKI...." WHAT?!?!

My first reaction when a friend advised me to choose for aikido. I never heard of it. Aikido was completely new for me. While visiting the Japanese garden in Hasselt-Belgium I saw my first aikido demonstration. Fascinated by the beauty of the circular movements my decision was not a difficult one to take. I looked for a dojo in the neighborhood and at a certain moment…there I was…42 years old and no knowledge of any martial art at all.

At first everything was wrong. Aikido made me rediscover my entire body. The way I moved, the way I stood, the placement of hands, legs, head… Even my mind and my focus, the way I looked at things, at people… at myself! I was thinking all kinds of thoughts…like, “What have I gotten myself into?” and “I don’t belong here.” And “What if this is all a big mistake?”

But I continued, I did not gave up and slowly but surely I found my way and became more confident in my movements. I realized that making mistakes is ok, that falling is not so painful if you learn how to fall. I understood why there is no competition in aikido, that, with the words of my sensei: “Aikido is the art of reconciliation.”

During my first seminar in Munich I was moved by the complete dedication of all the aikidoka’s present for sensei Shimizu, founder of Aikido Tendoryu. The big, clear, harmonious movements of the Tendoryu style definitely left an impression on me.  I came home.

Years later I take the children’s class for my account. I like to show them that learning a martial art is a wonderful and meaningful experience. I am delighted to see how they grow in discipline, how they learn to respect each other and how they realize that aikido is not about strength or power…how they become more self-confident.

All of this would not have been possible without my sensei’s, Johan Claesen and Jos Vanroy. We lost sensei Jos on the 6th of January this year. A good friend, a fantastic teacher, a wonderful aikidoka. We will miss his teachings…his stories. Aikido gave me direction…a purpose, friends for life and…my husband.


Hilde Duchateau from Diest, BE, 1.Dan Tendoryu Aikido, 2007