Recently, we initiated several discussions with representatives of Ashihara-Karate style, in the city of Pitești, among them being sensei Florin Neacșu, a particular “branch chief” in this entire national “landscape”, because he’s a member of Ashihara International Karate Organisation (AIKO) and most of Romanian dojos are affiliated to New International Karate Organization (NIKO).
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Florin, Nidan and founder of FDJ Sports Club, began practicing martial arts in 1998, becoming trainer in 2008-2009. There is a very interesting story about the decision to set up the sports club, as he said: “In 2011, I organized an edition of the national championships. At one point, I noticed an invitation to the international camp in Denmark, which was also attended by Hidenori Ashihara, but very few people in Romania knew of its existence. After lot of discussions, I was finally enrolled at that camp and started preparing for the Shodan. Until then, the informations that came to me were mainly that examinations can’t be given abroad, except for those held in Japan, a hardly accessible location due to the financial effort involved in traveling there. So, being disturbed by this secrecy, I decided to go on my own path. In 2013, I wanted to become a «branch chief», because I no longer understood with the local leaders. I sent an email to NIKO headquarters and five recommendations were asked, especially from the people who were causing me problems. So, for one year, I interacted with several international organizations, making the final decision to affiliate myself with AIKO. Now, I’m sure that I made the right decision.”
AIKO GIVES ME FREEDOM AND TRUST
From the discussions I have had with people about the motivation of changing the organization they currently belong to, most of them have left me the impression that they don’t make this decision largely because of their habits. “I’m much better in AIKO, because I have the freedom to organize myself and, most importantly, it offers me confidence. Many are afraid to make a change, though I’m convinced they would like to”, said my interlocutor. Regarding transparency, the AIKO website is comprehensive and you can find all the information you need, leaving no room for interpretations about administrative issues. I strongly believe that if these aspects are transparent (in plain sight for everyone to see), bureaucracy and discrepancy will be eliminated. In addition, one of the most important advantages of informational globalization is that anyone can migrate to any other structure appropriate to their own interests as long as they operate under the laws of the Romanian state, just as Petrică Bulmagă, the manager of the Ashihara-Karate department from the Romanian Martial Arts Federation, said here.
ADAPTATION OR RIGIDITY AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS?
On November 3rd, in the city of Győr (Hungary), the first edition of the AIKO World Championship was held, as we mentioned here. In the end, Shihan Dave Jonkers made public through his Facebook page a numerical analysis of the event: 260 participants belonging to Enshin-Karate, Kyokushin Karate, Josui Karate and Ashihara-Karate, from 16 countries. He also mentioned that in 2019, AIKO international tournaments will be held in Turkey, Kazakhstan and Greece. “It’s a good thing that Shihan has left open the participation of other martial arts styles at the AIKO World Championship. This can only benefit the development of our organization, thus eliminating the Asian rigidity that we are, here, in Romania, used to. In Romania, we want to organize ourselves in a federation in the coming years; Shihan has told us that he supports us with whatever we need to fulfill this objective”, concluded Florin Neacșu.