, October 5th - 11th
By Fernando Román
On Wednesday, October 5th at 7:30 at night, all went well, our flight took off at time and between jokes I talked with Alfonso Escajadillo, one of my students who was uchideshi in AHAN México Aikido and traveled with me to Costa Rica to helped me as Otome. We talked about how we saw our Aikido development and thanked him of made the effort to travel, I knew that it was not easy, economically for him to assist that seminar; I told him that I was sure that that it would be a great experience for us. I told him about the gratitude I felt also for the instructors mates of my Dojo, who as other occasions, stayed of all the administrative issues. I said that I felt a big responsibility for being sent and supported by AHAN International to instruct that seminar with our brothers from Costa Rica.

I also told him about the things I had read about the organization that would be supported, the Aldeas Infantiles SOS, , their projects, the great work of create communities and build families conformed by abandoned children, orphans or little ones without the possibilities of live with their blood family. How women were chosen carefully, and became by her own will in new mothers that will not only be the maternal figure so important to form a family, but also with their advices and affection will really give their heart.
I told him that I thought that such work, demand a great spirit, an authentic energy (ki) and a true sense of union and harmony, in a word; Aikido. I think that Marco González (Coordinator of AHAN Costa Rica),
has chosen a great institution to start a relationship with this seminar, which will take to more future projects related with Aikido in the AHAN way.

Representatives of A.H.A.N. and Aldeas SOS

AT 9 A.M. in the parking of the "Tennis Club"
where we stayed.

We continued with our travel and after two hours at 9:30 p.m. of the same day, and over Costa Rican territory, our pilot told us: "At this moment we are being informed that with 70% of relative humidity, 20 Celsius degrees and without wind, there is cero visibility, so the Costa Rican airport has not allowed us to land, all the flights are deviated to other airports, we are going to Panama airport".

Half of hour later we land in Panama and without a chance to return to Costa Rica. An hour and a half later the pilot told us that we would return to Mexico City, and the following day, at night we would try again to arrive to Costa Rica, but however, incredibly on Thursday the second flight was cancelled for the same reason.

Only at the third attempt, two days later than the scheduled and despite all the problems we faced, that put our Aikido in practice, our patience and self control to manage stress situations, we arrive to Costa Rica, on Friday, October 7th, the very same day of the seminar open, and with only six hours until the event began.

When at last we met Marco from AHAN Costa Rica, he welcomed us with a joke.

" It seems that you are an instructor that likes to create expectation, I though in two options if you wouldn't arrive today; the first one I will take any Mexican at airport and told him to act as Aikido teacher, I would fly in the air with the little movement of him, the second one I would take the first flight to Mexico running away from Costa Rica both would be better than face all the students and all the people that have been calling again and again, asking if finally you have arrived"

Laughing with his joke we hug each other and until that moment all changed, I felt less stressed for at least, have arrived in the day when the seminar would open. After a little rest and had taken a shower, we started on Friday 7th at night, the first Aikido seminar in Costa Rica by AHAN international and AHAN Costa Rica, in the Aikido instructor seminar series.

The participants pay attention.

It was very encouraging to start the seminar, hearing the introductions by Marco González. After have welcomed all the participants, Miss Gladys Bolaños Monge from "Aldeas infantiles SOS", gave us an interesting speech, explaining deeper the work that this institution do, its objectives and goals.

I saw the faces of satisfaction of the participants, when they heard Miss Gladys. With attention and patience, they wait in seiza. The students had enthusiasm and at the same time anxiety to begin the seminar.

Once we have started, the participants asked inside and outside the tatami; inside the showed great interest, it could be saw at first sight their enthusiasm to learn the more possible.

Miss Gladys in the seminar opening, explaining the work of "Aldeas Infantiles SOS".

In seiza paying attention to the explanations

Outside in the breaks, there were many jokes, and questions about AHAN international and its projects, and also questions about me in order to knew more.

The event went off in an ambient of happiness, and intense practice, before each class, the tatami was cleaned and Marco remembered to the participants the rules of own courtesy and behavior of the aikido.

I could watch that on the mat, there were practitioners of different Aikido groups and that this seminar could get together them, putting behind any difference between them. The practitioners of higher rank, were solicitous to help the beginners, however they didn't neglect their practice, looking for them to practice stronger.

The seminar begin with the basics,
but with a lot energy by them.


It was a seminar developed in a familiar ambient, that made me remind my own students in Mexico, with natural jokes, intense practice and constant helpful attitude.

About the courtesy, there were moments in which I felt overwhelmed by so much attention and respectful attitudes, and although I knew that they had not to much experience in seminars, they behave in a very polite way, including people that were there only as spectators of the practices.

Drinking quenchers
In the breaks, our hosts take us to places where we could eat and drank. Proudly of their roots, they explain to Alfonso and to me all that we saw, and made that we enjoy the Costa Rican food. Despite the similarities with the Mexican food, I have watched some cuisine differences in the travels that I have made to the countries of central America, those little differences that made different flavors, resulting in tasteful dishes, to the sight and to the palate.

Special roast
(Rice, beans, cabbage and tomatoe salad, chopped potatoe,
chayote and swat cream, bananas and grilled chicken)

The kitchen
Directly in front of the tables where the people eat and at the sight of everybody, a big kitchen attended for experts and smiling cooks.


Just explaining

A Bokken class

Main entry to Prodanza

Helping a beginner

On Sunday 9th the practices, according to the schedule end and I asked Marco if he could told me, how can I got to an particular address, in order to visit a Costa Rican family very loved by my mother, because I wanted to told them the greetings of my Mother, but more than just told me how to got to the address, a student offered to took us, so we spent all the afternoon with a nice chat and plenty of snacks.

In the home of Fedrico Lamaison,
Alfonso says hello to the dog.

In front of the national theatre,
Marco and me.

With the beautiful Barrientos family from Costa Rica

Talking in the offices.

On Monday 10th, the last day that we had to be in Costa Rica, the students propose to us to go to some trip, in order to know some of their country, but I ask Marco González to take us to any SOS village, so we can have a closer encounter with the work that this institution makes. It was not possible due to administrative reasons and because the weather that prevail in Costa Rica, but despite these, we could visit the SOS offices in Costa Rica.

Despite of their job, because it was a normal day, Miss Bolaños, again gave us some of her time and attend us very kindly, we knew the function of the institution and also we could inform them about AHAN international, and that the general idea is to join effort between several countries and in a near future conform AHAN Central America.

At the back in the wall, the photograph of the founder of "Aldeas Infantiles", Mr. Hermann Gmeiner

The following is only a little information that could be found in the web page of "Aldeas Infantiles":

photo: Alex Ulate

SOS Children's Village Tres Ríos is situated on the outskirts of the little town of Dulce Nombre de Tres Ríos. It has been set up on an area of about 14 000 sq.m. Due to its hillside position, the buildings have been set up on terraces. Orange trees have been planted on the entire property and each family house has a small vegetable garden. In addition to the standard facilities of an SOS Children's Village (administration building with a community hall, Village Director's house, family helpers' house), SOS Children's Village Tres Ríos consists of an SOS Kindergarten, an SOS Youth Facility, a doctor's surgery, a dental clinic, a little vocational training centre for SOS co-workers and a residence for retired SOS mothers. There is also an SOS Social Centre where workshops for handicraft, dressmaking and carpentry take place. Within the scope of a special prevention programme, the social centre provides a child day-care centre and basic medical treatment in order to improve the situation of the local population.

In Costa Rica there are two villages "Aldeas Infantiles SOS"
Location and some characteristics of each one.

In order to know more, press in the image:

photo: Ingunn Brandvoll

The official inauguration of SOS Children's Village Limón took place in March 2000. The village was set up on an area of about 21,000 sq.m., which is located at a distance of 6 km from the centre of the port of Limón. SOS Children's Village Limón consists of the family houses, an administration building, a multi-purpose hall, the Village Director's house, the aunts' (family helpers) house and a guest house. In addition to that, a soccer field was laid out. The SOS Children's Village runs its own SOS Kindergarten, which is also attended by the children from the neighbourhood. The Kindergarten building consists of two classrooms and a library.

A large number of typical and traditional festivities are celebrated at the SOS Kindergarten during the year in addition to sports and teaching activities. In the year 2004, SOS Children's Village Limón was extended by an SOS Youth Facility. Apart from that, SOS Children's Village Limón integrated five more family houses taken over from another organization and situated at a distance of six kilometres in the village of Limón.


In Federico Lamaison home and his wife.
The ambient of the event, allowed us to get close to much, we could knew Patricia Gallo Sensei and Alberto Paris Sensei from Prodanza and Butokukai respectively.

They make an interesting couple where the martial, discipline, art and elegance fusion. Thanks a lot to the professors for opened the doors of their institution and for all the support during the seminar.

Also in the home of Federico Lamaison and his wife, we could enjoy a great hospitality and spent a happy time. Thanks a lot also to this couple for all the attentions and for such beautiful evening, special to his wife for stand these Aikido lovers.

With Alberto Paris Sensei and Patricia Gallo Sensei

A beatiful awarding.
To enlarge view

Brothers of

the same pain

" Until the next... "


My full gratitude to Marco González, coordinator of AHAN Costa Rica for his confidence and effort in such well organized seminar.
To all the AHAN Costa Rica members for their participation, not only as practitioners but in the event organization, to Jimmy Bolaños, Luis Figueres and Luis Segura that attend us at every moment. Thanks a lot to all the Aikido professors and students of Aikido and other martial arts that practice with so much enthusiasm.
In accordance with the information of Marco, I want to express my gratitude to Miss Paola Ramírez, manager of the company Big Cola Costa Rica for her help in providing the support of this company. To Dr. Gabriela Zavaleta, wife of Marco Sensei, for her help to achieve the support of Calox laboratories fo Costa Rica. To the journalist, public relation and organizer of special events, Miss Ana Lucía Rojas, co owner of M&L consultores, who work hard and for free with devotion and affection.

My more sincere gratitude to "Aldeas SOS" for their confidence in AHAN Costa Rica and the confidence in Marco González. Thanks to Alfonso Escajadillo who not only came with me in the seminar, but helped me as uke, thank you very much. Thanks to Gerardo Hernández for being a companion to Marco in the activities related with the organization of the event.
I can't forget three more persons, one is my wife Rocío Agüero, who not only stayed in Mexico in the direction of the dojo, but with the work of the house, and additional to these, to the care of our two sons, Angel and Leonardo; Angel of three and a half years old and Leonardo of only a month and a half. Another person to whom I debt a lot is Emily Busch Sensei, AHAN international president, in Denver Colorado, for her support from Nippon Kan, who always was in touch in order that everything went off without problems, she even sent to me the airplane tickets in order to be able to made this travel. And of course Thanks a lot to Homma Kancho, who support Marco and me a lot, with the great idea of the international Aikido seminar series of AHAN, who encourage us and allowed us to make this first seminar of humanitarian aid in Costa Rica.

Kancho Homma Sensei

I conclude this report, feeling that all the people involved reach their objectives and even go far away of this first Aikido seminar in Costa Rica, now I wait for you in the following month of December in our Third Aikido seminar in support to children with cancer, in the continuity of the INTERNATIONAL AIKIDO SEMINAR SERIES OF AHAN INSTRUCTORS, with the instruction of Kancho Homma Sensei from Nippon Kan, main representative of AHAN International.

With great sorrow I invite you to read an
Alternate story to the Seminar