I started to study Aikido in 1996. The reason I started Aikido is that practicing Tomiki aikido means to create, to mould
your personality and tread the way of harmony and self-perfection. Because of besides
the guise of sport (medals, diplomas) the competition aikido continues the tradition of
warrior's spirit and Budo. The championship combats demand sportsmen to fight their
best, with top dedication and strength. But the real battle is within the sportsman; as
he is fighting his flaws (fears, fury, arrogance, conceit). The opponent turns into a helpful
friend on the path of self-perfection. Nowadays the competition aikido thrives in many countries and Russia is not an exception.
But it should be noted that the path of Tomiki aikido was pretty rough in our country.
The problems were due to the order in which we lived. The Iron Curtain isolated our culture
of everything that was treated as western ideology. Somehow the oriental martial arts were
thought to belong to that category. Thus many organizations of the type were illegal which
of course hindered their development. Those who practiced them in the 70-s and 80-s risked
to be prosecuted for "distributing western ideology". So aikido really became the sense of life
for the people who took risks to follow this way at the times of the Soviet Union.
The city of Kursk is quite outstanding to this extent. It was here in 1982 when Igor Dmitriev
(my teacher) started teaching aikido. This was one of the first aikido organizations in Russia then.
The teacher and his students had to pass through many troubles. There were conflicts with the
officials, almost a complete lack of books on the topic, to say nothing about the gap with the
Japanese masters. But despite these misfortunes Dmitriev did not stop.
To his greatest merits we must ascribe the fact that the team of Kursk got an invitation to
participate in the Third International Tomiki Aikido Festival in Imabari (1997). Since then we
have kept in touch with the top Japanese aikido masters. In 1998 and 2000 Kursk welcomed the Japanese masters: Uno Kenshi, Noma Yasuo and
Ozawa Satoshi - who lead attestation exams, competitions and seminars.
The First Russian Contest in Tomiki aikido held in Moscow on May 26, 2000. I got the first prize
in the individual tanto randori competition. Then I passed the 1st dan exam. Since 2000 I am the
coach of Tomiki aikido school of Kursk State Medical University. In 2004 I, Alexander Taran and Evgeny Kashirtsev paid a return visit to Japan (the town of Imabari)
where we passed intensive training guided by Uno sensei, Noma sensei, Ozawa sensei, Ikeda sensei
and Sato sensei. Now I have the 4th dan and I am a director of the Way of Harmony Club (Kursk)
regional youth school of Olympic reserve). Unfortunately my teacher Igor Dmitriev died on the 23th
of September in this year. I think we will call our yearly championships in Kursk of his name.