Aikido Humanitarian Active Network
By Emily Busch
Since the conception of AHAN was official announced, a ground swell of response has begun to be heard from points all over the globe.
**(If you are not familiar with AHAN please link to other AHAN reports for background information.)
Currently AHANs primary focus is on the Mongolian Homeless Children Support project. This project, inspired by Gaku Homma Sensei is a bridge symbolizing the continuation of the dreams of the Founder Morihei Ueshiba. While a worthwhile and ambitious project, it is not the only project AHAN is involved with.
An intrinsically important part of the philosophy of AHAN is to develop projects globally that affect individual communities around the world. After the tragic events on September 11, 2001, AHAN sponsored a fundraising seminar conducted by Gaku Homma Sensei to raise money for the Red Cross. Based on the Founders philosophy that Aikido and Martial Arts are ultimately love and harmony, AHAN strives to actively pursue this goal with humanitarian projects worldwide.
On September 30th-October 9th, 2001 Homma Sensei, assisted by his senior instructors, traveled to Brazil to teach a series of seminars in the Sao Paulo area. His seminars were dynamic both in technical scope and in message, and were very well received.
There was a lot of curiosity about AHAN and its message of community involvement. Much information was exchanged on current projects AHAN is involved with and how these projects could be applied and developed in Brazil on a local level.
We were excited to learn that currently in Sao Paulo, students at Nishida Senseis dojo hold garage sales a few times each year. Money raised is used to buy food for needy children in the area. Other students volunteer their time teaching Aikido and other arts and crafts at local after school programs for children of low-income families.
During breaks between classes at Homma Senseis seminars, many animated discussion on project operations were held. Every country has its own unique circumstances and there is no one universal method for working with community problems. In Rio De Janeiro, we had a chance to visit with Luc Leone Sensei who recently held a seminar to help buy food for a local orphanage.
All of these projects, while not directly organized by AHAN, strengthen the purpose of AHAN, which is also to inspire independent projects locally around the world. It is our hope that this purpose continues to spread until humanitarian activities and community service becomes a regular part of dojo operations around the world. Like the ripples on a pond at the drop of a pebble, we hope the spirit continues to grow.
AHAN does not have rigid rules or restrictions. The only requirement is that a project affects its community in ways that are real and visible, and are achieved with motion and sweat, not pipe dreams. This visit to Brazil was a wonderful first step in building future relationships and partnerships in AHAN.
AHAN community projects can fit any sized dojo. Depending on financial and human resources, dojo community service projects can range in scope so that they can be accomplished whether a dojo has ten members or a hundred. A benefit to any dojo involving themselves in community service is that is strengthens the spirit of the dojo and acts to attract new members from the community. This is a win, win situation.
On our tour to Brazil, we found each dojo interested in developing projects within their own communities. If your dojo is interested in community service projects, or is already involved in community service or is interested in becoming a member of AHAN please let us know! We would love to include your dojo on our bulletin board of worldwide community service and humanitarian activities. Include your dojos name, address, telephone #, email address, a description of the project and a photo if you would like.
Thank you very much,