Dear sensei, the answer is „Yes!”

There are questions you can answer right away, there are questions one can never ever answer and there are questions you can answer after a while. Today, I can answer a question I received in the spring of 2015 from Dorin Marchis sensei.

Uke for Dorin sensei, 5 dan Aikikai Aikido at the Japanese Festival Seminar. March 2015, Bucharest-Romania.

Uke for Dorin sensei, 5 dan Aikikai Aikido at the Japanese Festival Seminar. March 2015, Bucharest-Romania.

But, before I say what the questions was I must explain a bit about the context and, most of all, I must say that sensei also said „Yes!” right away, when I asked him if I can open a dojo, and he also gave me the name for it, „Mirai”, which in Japanese means Future. If I remember correctly, he said he thought at this name with reference to my future. Once a teacher, always a teacher!

That spring I relocated myself, for about a month and a half, in Cluj-Napoca, the city where sensei lives and where we also have the headquarters  of our national organization, Romanian Aikikai Aikido Foundation (RAAF). I could do this at that time, because the dojo I had opened in the autumn of 2013 wasn’t going well at all. So, I decided to go to our headquarters to practice, while I was thinking what to do with the fact that my dojo was lacking students.

For 6 weeks I practiced twice a day, once in the morning with my colleague Florin Trisca, and once in the evening at the general adult classes. Also, I had lots of fun in week-ends and after practice, chatting and having beer in Nobori restaurant located above the Musubi dojo, in Cluj-Napoca city, on 62 Plopilor street.

It was after those 6 weeks, when it was time for me to go back home to Bucharest and face all my fears, when, having a coffee in Nobori with sensei before I went back home, he asked: „But, do you think people will come to learn from a girl?”. My answer came in an instant: „I don’t know!” and continued in my mind: ”Time will tell!” and down my eyes dropped, also with my cheeks blushing.

When I opened the dojo, back in September 2013, I had very strong reasons to do this (which are those reasons may someday be the subject of another article), but I didn’t wish, not even deep down inside, to teach Aikido. Shortly, I needed a place where I could practice, where I could be free to do it my way.

When I got back home, still I had no idea what to do with my dojo, with my Aiki Mirai, from this point of view! So, I continued to practice with a colleague from another organization in my dojo’s old hall and at our organization’s national and international seminars. In August 2015, when the group that I had till then, since 2013 was dissolved, I decided to give it another try!

I started looking for a better and more accessible place (hall) for my dojo to rent. I searched for a few months in various places and, in October 2015, I started a new group at the judo hall, which I rented at the National University of Physical Education and Sport, on 140 Constantin Noica Street, 6th district, Bucharest.

This brings my story to present time. Today, I have a small but extremely beautiful group of students, which are very hard working and passionate about Aikido.

During the last two days, I received very good feedback from three of them, about the way I teach and what I express on tatami at our regular classes and during my lessons (I know this sounds a bit infatuated, but that is what they are-lessons). So, my students said things like they feel lucky to have me as their sensei, that they like my technical and tactic lessons and the last one said that it is a great pleasure for him each time he is attending my classes, as he sees happiness in my eyes and he can also feel it. They are older than me, with few or more than a few years, and they come each Tuesday and Thursday to learn Aikido from a girl.

After two years I can answer sensei Dorin’s question: Dear sensei, the answer is „Yes!”.

Paula Alexandrescu Mirai Bucharest dojo cho

March 17, 2017