Pungky Utami – Indonesia

I first came to know Aikido from an acquaintance, two weeks following the birth of my youngest child.  The urging need to maintain a healthy and well-balanced life while carrying out family duty care with young children at that time has directed me to choose aikido as my physical exercise because aikido welcomes everyone at all ages, including myself, a mother of three in my mid-thirties. Thanks to the guidance from my first aikido instructors who have instilled my passion and keen interest for this wonderful martial art. The elegant yet powerful moves of aikido techniques as well as the opportunity to understand how our body work through aikido movements have motivated me to learn more. When our family moved to Nepal, I made contact with Arjun Sensei, founder of the Aikido Aikikai Association, Nepal (AAAN). The first day I came to dojo to practice, I was so happy to return to tatami again after few long months of absence, but at the same time I was overwhelmed as I had the privilege to practice with young advanced practitioners. 

Being part of the wonderful AAAN family for the last four years has provided me with unique opportunities to experience aikido and the art of relaxation altogether. A combination of yoga workout during warming up and cooling down and aikido practices in between have created a refreshed feeling at the end of each class. During every training, we are always encouraged to practice with both senior and junior practitioners, all of whom have been my source of inspiration. Despite the difference in aikido style that I first learnt and the one that I am currently practicing, there is one certain thing about the spirit of aikido regardless the style. Aikido practices empower us to keep healthy spirit, body, and mind while at the same time provide us with essential knowledge on how to defend ourselves from outside danger, especially for women and girls. Having experienced an unfortunate encounter of sexual assault by random perpetrator in my youth has been the main underlying reason to introduce self-defense skills to my children as early as possible, because I could not bear to let it happen again to myself as well as to my children. Overtime, I have learnt that continuous and repeated practices allow us to improve, to be aware of our body’s strength, to be confident, and to be discipline with ourselves. So, here we are, my children and I, practicing aikido together to reap all benefits that aikido has to offer. 

I couldn’t thank Arjun Sensei enough for being such an inspiring figure, his tireless efforts and patience in sharing his profound knowledge of aikido, and for his trusts which ingrain confidence in myself that, with practice, slowly but sure, we will be able to achieve the goals that were once unthinkable.

I would like to encourage anyone who happens to be in Nepal to come, experience, and learn how this loving martial art transform your life.

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