The philosophy of Aikido is applied unconsciously

Photo: personal collection.

Ivan Milutinović was born in Uzice on July 29, 1984. At the age of 13 he began to practise karate in KK ‘Uzice’. In 1998 he finds out about Real Aikido with trainer Dragomir Aćimović at SRA ‘Vračarević’, where he immediately starts training. In 2003 he held a black belt rank 1st dan and became the master of Real Aikido. He also participated in seminars ‘European Martial Arts Hall Of Fame’ 2007 and 2008 where he cooperated with masters from the USA, Russia, Germany, France, Israel, Uzbekistan, China, Serbia, and Macedonia.
In 2016, he founded the Club of self-defense system Real Aikido ‘Taido’ with master Marko Maćašev.

How did the ancient Aikido skills develop, and what is real aikido?
Aikido is one of the youngest martial arts. It originates from Japan and its founder is Morihei Ueshiba. As a martial art, aikido traces its roots back from the 9th-century martial art called Aiki-jujutsu. However, it turned into modern aikido as we know it at the beginning of this century, more precisely between the two world wars. The word aikido consists of three ideologies: AI – which means harmony, tune, KI – which means our inner being and DO – which denotes the way; all together it would mean: ‘the path of achieving harmony with our inner being’.

The founder of the real aikido is Ljubomir Vračarević, who has sought ways to modify and adapt the traditional aikido so that it can be applied in real situations, that is to say in real attacks in the streets, the army, the police, etc. The combination of the elements of several martial arts, the combat experience of the founder, led to a new, practical and highly applicable skill of real aikido.

When and how did you discover aikido and who can practise it today?
As a boy, I practised karate. After a year of practice, quite by chance, I was at the Užice High School at the time when an aikido training session was on. It was love at first sight. The then coach Dragomir Aćimović was demonstrating techniques of real aikido. I was delighted with his performance. I have kept the picture of that day in my mind even after 19 years of exercise. The beauty of movements, the ease of defeating opponents are the elements that still inspire me.

Aikido can be practised by everyone. At the club, there are three-year-old children, but practically anyone who feels vital and physically fit can practise even at a late age. It is good for children because aikido teaches them to solve problem situations in a wise and simple way. Anyone who practises aikido, very quickly learns to think about what they do, so it’s good for schoolchildren. More importantly, aikido does not develop aggression, and that’s why it is good for adolescents.

Coaching is a way to get to know yourself and your limits, a competition primarily with yourself. How similar is aikido?
This is the definition of “aikidoke”. There is no attack in aikido, it’s a self-defense skill, so there is no competition. Everyone works on themselves and there is a chance of competition, but with themselves. A 60-minute training session is based on the principle that each individual can equally be a winner and a loser. For this reason it is impossible to compete with someone else but yourself.

The coach helps the client to realize his full potential. How similar is the role of Aikido coach?
It’s similar. The role of trainers in Aikido is to get the maximum out of everyone, but it is more important to evaluate when it is the right moment to do so. It is also very important to make a good work plan and gradually reach the maximum potential and plan its maintenance at that level. It is not easy because it is an individual matter and depends on many factors. There is always a physical and psychological preparation of every aikidoka. Adults are usually unaware of their capacity, while in children this is the other way around. The position of the coach watching from the side is good because from the distance he notices all the characteristics, that is, the disadvantages and advantages of each individual.

You are particularly well-known for work with children. How many children fit into the philosophy of Aikido?
I cannot easily explain this bond between children and me. I think they understand me well and I think that I can pay attention to them, and when it works, it’s not important whether it’s aikido, mathematics or guitar lessons. Children should clearly be aware of the boundaries and then there is no problem. I cannot say that it’s easy to work with children today. This work is actually a fight against the phone, games and all technologies where children at one touch run a bunch of colors, animations and movements, where they are allowed to get everything all at once and now. As such, they come to the training and need to repeat one simple move a hundred times without results in sight. There should be a coach who explains the move to them and motivates them why they do it.

Every child is different. They become aware of aikido when they grow up, but it often happens that the philosophy of Aikido is applied unconsciously even when they are small. The self-healing skills system itself contributes to the exclusion of children as an option which significantly reduces aggression. The philosophy of aikido is taught and it should be explained to children in the simplest possible way.

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