Aikido Philosophy: The Way of a Strong Man

We talked to the head of Sverdlovsk Regional Federation of Universal Aikido Elena Shevnina about her personal way and plans for development of the Martial Arts School.

Elena Shevnina

Head of the Sverdlovsk Regional Federation of Universal Aikido

Elena, please, tell us how you came to Aikido?

Since early childhood, I dreamed of practicing martial arts. But I had no opportunity to practice combat sports in the nineties

I studied for 8 years at a music school, graduated from a gymnasium with in-depth study of French, practiced dancing. I received philological and economic education, worked as a manager, then as an accountant in the companies of Ekaterinburg.

On July 15, 2004, I went to submit my quarterly report to the tax office. At the exit from the tram I noticed an advertising leaflet on the stand of a tram stop. On a red and black background, a word "AIKIDO" was printed. On the same day I came to the first training session in my life. Fifteen years have passed since then.

Who trained you?

My first Aikido coach was Bakulev Petr Ivanovich (16.08.1957 — 22.10.2018), a man with huge experience, incredible amount of knowledge, amazing positive energy and boundless patience. He virtually gave me the third, most necessary and interesting education. Thanks to him, I fulfilled my childhood dream.

How did you become a coach?

Two years after the start of the classes, there was a need for a new Aikido instructor in one of the training rooms, and I decided to try to become one. At first trainings were daily — I was training on my own, and I trained others, I even had dreams of Aikido at night. It was hard, but it helped to gain a very useful experience.

Who in your federation practice Aikido?

Our trainees are mostly men – serious, responsible, with strong endurance. At the same time they are able to competently work with anyone who enters our gyms. The assistance of such men is invaluable during the new sets - each newcomer gets in a pair with the older belt, and the mastering of technology is as easy and clear as possible for white belts. We also train teens Aikido, for them the martial arts skills are very fancy these days. Parents with children, fathers with sons, brothers, sisters, even grandfathers with their grandsons come to us.

Tell us about the most memorable "father and son" pair.

There were a lot of them. But these people in particular, Tkach Yuriy Anatolyevich, the father, and Tkach Aleksey Yurievich, the son, they train with us for 10 years already. At first the father brought his son for a guest training, after a year he started attending training sessions himself.

Do you maintain a relationship with your former trainees?

Yes, of course. In the age of the Internet it is quite easy. Everyone has different destinies and stories. But the majority of trainees doesn't lose communication with the instructor — we congratulate each other on holidays, we are glad to successes and we remember those with whom once destiny brought us on a tatami.

Why is it worth to train Aikido? What does it give?

Self-confidence, first of all. Regular physical activity helps to keep the body in a decent state. Purposeity, perseverance and persistence are equally important qualities that are formed and developed here. Hard work and efficiency — they are necessary both on a tatami, and in ordinary life, and all this can be instilled to children and developed in adults. Healthy lifestyle — none of our trainees smoke or drink alcohol.

In all my life I have never smoked, I do not drink alcoholic beverages, I have been vegetarian for 13 years. I walk, read books, I threw a TV out of my house 10 years ago. Gym is in every day of my life. Thanks to the music school and 15 years of Aikido training experience, both of my brain hemispheres are develiped more or less equally. I write freely with both hands, work technically and competently both on the right and on the left. In case of injury of one hand, I can seamlessly transfer all of my activities to another.

The advantage of our gym is that we do not have limitations concerning the health state - any trainee who lays their foot on a tatami receive an individual task depending on their state of health. If you are unable to perform a certain excercise, we'll find a substitution, but you will definitely train.

We have developed a program for those, who, for some reason, have lost one of their arms. Even in this case, a person can train and master a lot of interesting techniques.

There are no age restrictions in our school - our youngest trainee was only 2 years old; the oldest trainees are 62 years old. The only requirement to beginners is the desire to train, to learn something new, to realize themselves on a tatami as the trainee ready to learn Aikido technique. At the same time, we offer deep theoretical and practical knowledge.

Where does the training start? What is the difference between the training programs for different ages?

Training for trainees of any age always starts with the warm-up. Unwarmed and unprepared for physical and technical loads, the body is prone to injuries.

Next, a number of movements are given for the correct execution of Aikido technique. If there are many newcomers and juniors in the gym, movements given are simple and accessible. They develop a technical base this way. Then there is working off of safeguards (roll overs), and juniors practice on their own tatami to avoid injuries and accidents. After safeguards we work with a stick (jo). Tasks for juniors differ from seniors in the degree of complexity.

After all this comes time for Aikido technique. It is limitless and infinite in its varieties. The same technique for the same attack has many interesting varieties. In the course of classes, motor skills are developed, memory is trained, technical horizons are expanded. No training is similar to the previous one. From each of them trainees learn new techniques, movements and methods of attack.

What changes are expected in the school in the near future?
In 2019-2020 educational and training year we plan to train girls self-defense with elements of Aikido.

The training program will include general physical training, the ability to evade tackles, to escape from blows and to break distance when attacking. Applied techniques educate the ability not to get lost in difficult and dangerous situations. This will help women to become physically and psychologically prepared for extreme situations. The classes will be designed for 3-5 months.

We plan to increase the age of trainees to 65 years. Training program for elderly trainees is developed individually for everyone, depending on the state of health, medical contraindications and personal interests.

We will continue to focus on families with children. Practice has shown that joint classes help to understand each other more and educate a healthy mind. We do not refuse anyone to try themselves at our training session. We want interesting people in our school, those, for whom training with us would be amusing.

How can you test your strength in the class?

Starting from August 1, 2019, the 14th educational and training year began. We invite everyone to study Aikido in the free guest training sessions.

In 2019-2020 two gyms will continue to work in Ekaterinburg — on Yasnaya, 16 (143 school), trainings are planned on the week - Tuesday and Thursday from 19.00 to 21.00. Time is convenient both for families with working parents, and for children, who study in the school after afternoon. It is possible to start the training process from September 2019.

The second gym — on Kosmonavtov, 23 (Lavrov's Palace) is convenient, as it has a “group of the weekend”. For 10 years in a row at the Lavrov's Palace we have been working according to this schedule: Saturday and Sunday from 18.00 to 19.30 and from 19.30 to 21.00. There is an “Intensive” program for those who want to achieve maximum efficiency. It consists of 2 training days in a row lasting three hours a day.

Book in a free guest training via phone: 8-912-628-65-82.

What discounts do you have at your school at the moment?

Since August 1, 2019, the "Bring a friend to the gym" discount was implemented. Trainees of our schools bring friends, acquaintances, relatives, classmates and co-workers. We pay a reward of 300 rubles to everyone who will invite a friend that will be training Aikido. The most active participants of this promotion campaign additionally receive a souvenir and a diploma.

There also a "Third is not a crow" discount active during summer time. The third family member can study for free all summer. It can be two parents and a child, one parent and two children, three children from the same family.

There is an “Unlimited” program on favorable terms for those who attend both schools. In gyms of our federation we will find a place for everyone: for those who already is training, for those who want to learn and for those who once started and plans to resume training process. We will be glad to see you in our gyms.

President, Instructor of the Public Regional Organization "Sverdlovsk Regional Style Federation of Universal Aikido" Shevnina Elena Anatolievna

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