March 15-21, 2005
Nippon Kan staff
Emily Busch, President of AHAN and I traveled to North Africa this past March for a cross-cultural visit to learn about women and Aikido in Morocco. The trip was short, but in one weeks time we were able to visit the cities of Fez, Rabat and Casablanca. We met up with Homma Kancho in the capitol city of Rabat where he had just arrived from Italy.
This trip came about with an invitation to Homma Sensei to come to Morocco to teach Aikido by a Japanese woman named Nanayo Sasaya who has lived in Morocco for the past three years as a volunteer for a women’s world peace association. It was decided at Nippon Kan headquarters in Denver that the subject of women and Aikido in this part of the world would be an appropriate AHAN research project, and the trip became a reality.
In Casa Blanca, the Morocco Aikido Federation arranged for a two-day friendship practice which was instructed by Homma Sensei and Alaoui M’barek Sensei, a long standing Aikido Instructor of merit in Morocco. (Link here) to Homma Kancho’s article “Preserving Our Traditional Heritage”. The practice was a fabulous exchange of cultures and was attended by about 150 students; including five women Aikidoists from Morocco.
Members of the Morocco Aikido Federation were wonderful hosts and shared their teaching and hospitality with us most generously. Alaoui M’barek Sensei, the former President of the Morocco Aikido Federation and distinguished instructor, opened his home to us which allowed us the opportunity to experience Morocco family-style!
The friendly women of Morocco.
Our local trip coordinator, Mrs. Teruyo Sano of Rabat, Morocco also took very good care of us during our visit. The restaurant Hong Kong Café, owned by Mrs. Sano and her husband became our home base in Rabat with its convenient access to the local markets (medinas) and central train station. Mrs. Sano, who was introduced to us by Nanayo Sasaya, was an intriguing woman also from Japan, whose dynamic approach to life in Morocco was a great lesson for us all.
We all hope that this visit will be the first in a growing relationship between Nippon Kan and our new friends in Morocco. We hope to keep in contact and be able to return for another visit soon. Many sincere thanks to all in Morocco who made our visit one to remember!
Please also read the following related articles on Morocco:
Preserving Our Traditional Heritage by Gaku Homma Nippon Kan Kancho.
Aikido, a New Wind in Morocco; a Woman’s perspective by Emily Busch, AHAN President.
A Friend for Life; Women I Met in Morocco by Kazumi Yoshimura.
**Note from editor. Permission was obtained before taking photographs inside the Moroccan family home of Alaoui Sensei.