Martial Arts, Aikido and Children from Guatemala
April 27th to May 1st 2006

By Jorge Escotto

Time to transfer the donation of the seminar refunds to "Aldeas Infantiles SOS de Guatemala"

At the begings of February and a couple of days after our first event of Aikido of the year 2006 in our dojo, a Seminar with Juba Nour Sensei, my master Fernando Roman told me that he would go to Guatemala to instruct a seminar with humanitarian aid as guest of Juan Carlos Garoz, a friend who has been invited him to go to his country. Juan Carlos often visit our web page of AHAN Mexico Aikido; he has been dreaming about introduce Aikido in Guatemala and has thought that we as organization would help him to reach his goal.

Fernando Sensei told me that also in April 2005, he had visited Guatemala in order to meet Juan Carlos and studied the posibilities to reach this goal and aimed him to his purpose.

Know how this project in Guatemala began


Fernando Sensei begins the semininar

Fernando Sensei also said, "Do you think that you could come with me?, I need an uke, if you have time enough could you help me in this event". I answered him that I really could like very much to go with him in that ocassion. Then I knew that he had asked the same to another student, Luis Antonio Leon an he immediately aswered him yes, and that he thaked him very much the oportunity. I thought ... I should have said maybe in the time where the seminar would be held I could do the necessary to go.

As I said this in February, two months before the event. During that time and until a week before the event, an open invitation to all the students were made, to participate in the seminar and I got amazed of how little by little several of them comfirmed, until reach ten persons. I was happy for their answer, because they would travel with Sensei, however I was sad because I wouldn't be able to attend the seminar.

Arriving to Guatemala with a lot of Enthusiasm
llegando a Asoc. Boy Scouts
Arriving to the Boys Scouts Asociation where the seminar would be held.

The time pass and in April only three days before the event and with the help precisely of my practice mate Luis Antonio Leon, I could get all the conditions to go also to the seminar, I told this to my master and happily made a joke saying; "Now I will have two punching bags in the seminar and not only one".

Then exactly a year before the first visit of my master to Guatemala, the 1st Aikido Seminar of AHAN in Guatemala, in benefit of the children of "Aldeas Infantiles SOS" were held.

It was a seminar of two days, 29th and 30th of April, however, 50 persons gathered. Practiitoners of different martial arts registered, like Karate Do, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, kuk Sool, Kendo, Lima Lama, Tai Chi and of course Aikido, even Yoga and meditation. Because this was an international seminar, the event had two main purposes; the first one, to introduce AHAN Aikido in Guatemala, and the second one, related with the humanitarian aid, in support of Aldeas Infantiles S.O.S. Guatemala

Everyone listening with attention

Juan Carlos Garoz open the event
Getting ready to the beginning ceremony

Paying attention to the examples of the board

keiko 2

For me, all this was exciting and of great interest, because despite Fernando Sensei has already instructed seminars outside Mexico, it was the first time that a group of students traveled with him with the purpose of help to introduce Aikido in another country and at the same time made a humanitarian work.

Some partners went with Fernando Sensei on Thursday, April 27th from the international airport of Mexico city, and other 4, including me, arrived the next day, on Friday 28th. After a flight of two hours, we arrived to the city of Guatemala; a marvelous city, full of colour, vegetation, customs and traditions.

The partners that arrived the day before, on Thursday, had the chance yo know a little bit more before the sminar began, the visited the city of Antigua, once it was the capital city of Guatemala, nowadays is a tourist place, where the mayan traditions could be seen, at the same time the spanish traditions, brought since the colonization time.

antigua maya
Ruins of an ancient monastery.

The Church that has the rests of the Saint named "Hermano Pedro" in Antigua Guatemala

The cult of Virgin Mary can't be absent
from a country like Guatemala

Embroided fabric craftworks

While our mates enjoyed the visit to Antigua, Sensei Fernando in company with Juan Carlos Garoz, paid visits to meet people who can help them that in the future could introduce Aikido in Guatemala. They had a job meeting in the Guatemalan army headquarters with the Liutenant colonel Oscar Celada. They had also a visit to the houses of "Aldeas Infantiles SOS", in Guatemala , where Fernando Sensei, Juan Carlos Garoz and Jaime Sanchez met the people that organized this program in Guatemala, they also met some children of this homes.

"Aldeas infantiles SOS" is a worlddie institution withou spirit of gain money, thta supports children that for some reason have lost or don't live anylonger with their familys, with the purpose to give them a home, a second oppotunity of growing up, with a development with dignity as human beings. "Aldeas infantiles" also offer them, not only a house with all the services to live, but a real home, because in each house, a maximmum of six children live with a woman who plays the role of an authentic mother, who has been chosen for her characteristics and excellent behavior during her life, she even has a monthly income to buy what she thinks is the most adequate to feed childre, to dress them or whatever of their general needys. It is really a family what they formed in each of this houses, even the environment and decoration is done by the members of each family.

The women chosen by "Aldeas infatiles SOS", must be between 25 to 40 years old, they can have sons or daugherts, but not to younger, not married and haven't got a couple.

In his visit to "Aldeas infantiles SOS" of Guatemala, Fernando Sensei, Jaime Sanchez and Carlos Garoz, were kindly welcomed by the director Carlos Sanchez, the secretary, miss Brenda, the development cordinator Miss Maira Moison and Miss Paola Quezada, who was, since the beginning in charge of the Aikido event in behalf of this institutions. If you want to know more about "Aldeas infantiles SOS" around the world, visit the web site

With the staff of "Aldeas infantiles"
An open game area inside "Aldeas infantiles"

Children of "Aldeas infantiles"

Carryng little Fernando boy
Fernando Román Sensei with Carlos Garoz and the liutenant colonel Oscar Celada Cuartel Guatemala
Honor guard , Army headquarter in Guatemala, zone 10

Sensei Fernando met in "Aldeas infantiles SOS", the only boy who was in that moment there, he knew that curiosly his name is also Fernando. He only met Ms. Norma Araceli Sandoval Bonilla, one of the woman who has became a mother for some of the children, he made her this little interview:

Ms. Norma, how did you sart to give your services here?

I worked in a private hospital 6 years ago, there I met one of the aunts, thats is how the children named us. She invited me to come and briefly after I was in "Aldeas infantiles"

How many time have you been working with the children, how have you felt?

I've got three years being an aunt, I always like children, for me it have not been a work, but another family.

So you have your own family, have you got any kids?

Yes, I have two daughers of 20 and 21 years old, I am grandmother of a little girl of 1 year old. Is my blood family, I have a good relationship with them, however I also take care of the family that I got here.

How is your family here, how many are you, how do you feel with them?

We are 4 girls and 2 boys, all of them are very young, 2 of them are blood brothers (In "Aldeas inantiles" the possible is done so the boys remain toghether), they are like my family, as I have told you, I feel this like my home, and all of them like my children, I feel them as a blessing, being with them makes me happy.

Thank you very much Ms. Norma, I want to tell you that almost half year ago I gave another seminar similar to this in Costa Rica, also to help "Aldeas infantiles", however I never visit one of the houses and saw the job that you are doing. I congratulate you and thak you very much for this little interview.

To the contrary, thank you for the support, God bless you.

señora norma
Ms. Norma in her bedroom.
Behind her, the cradle of her younger daughter.
Little Fernando in his bedroom

On friday 27th, at night and with the Mexico group joined, we decided to enjoy a delicous meal in a peruvian restaurant. Here Sensei Fernando was telling us the details of his work day, his ideas for the seminar and what he expected about it. He told us that in fact there weren't many practitioners of Aikido so it try to spread it, the seminar would be open to the practitioners of other martial arts, so we would met many people, from different martial arts, so with different points of view the martial path.

He prevented us about the importance to be a group, messangers of O'Sensei Aikido, so we should be carefull of not to provocate any conflictive situation during the practice and even outside it. He asked us not no practice between us, because this could be done in our dojo, so we should spread in the mat with all the participants, and would help to create a good practice environmet and martial friendship.

Fernando Sensei rises his juice coup
to toast with us.

Everyone enjoying the dinner

The next day we head where the seminar will be held to support in the preliminars. The seminar were held in the "Scouts de Guatemala" there we met Juan Carlos Garoz and Jorge Sanchez, the main organizers of this seminar. They worked very hard their staff to get ready the area of practice. After a while of work and get ready the mat, we went to eat to "Pollo campero", one of the Guatemalan restaurants which has recognization in Guatemala and other countries of Latin America.

Going to the seminaro

In the place where the seminar were held

Setting up the kamiza

Finishing details

During the seminar we had the opportunity to share and make friends with practitioners of other martial arts, and a group of Lima Lama that had practiced Aikido before with Pablo Vazquez Sensei some years ago. Also some Aikidoist mates from El Salvador arrive. We practiced for three hours, with an intermediate, where the philosophy and principles of Aikido were seen.

The following day we practiced more advanced techniques, where the work of ukemy were necessary, and the philosophy and principles of Aikido were reflected.

We have also the chance in the break to share with our new friends of Kendo, our partner Alfredo Leon, were dressed with the protections to feel a little the practice of this martial Art.

In the last part of the seminar and with more confident, the practice were more fluently, and the other practitioners of the different martial arts could feel more Aikido techniques. At the end of the event, the donation transfer was done to "Aldeas Infantiles SOS" They thanked the donation with an speech, and a little gift to our master and to the organizers of the event. Once the donation finished, the attendance aknowledments were given to the participants of the seminar.

Practicing with enthusiasm

Juan Garoz with Jorge Escotto

Finally, Fernando Sensei thanked everyone for the attendance and support, he said that one of the most important things that we have to keep in mind, were that we could got toghether, despite our different martial arts. but that at the end, all of them take us to the same idea, that was to grow up as human beings. He also said that this seminar had achivied for a moment, that our differences were put in one side in order to join and help needy persons, which at the end is the most important.



Tai chi

Tae Kwon Do

At the left side Fernando Sensei and his students; with Armando de la Rosa at right side.

In addition with the said before, he also said that the martial art is always to be shared, he invited the representatives of the several martial arts, to close the event with a brief demonstration, So, every representative show us a little of their art. Then also, Armando de la Rosa Sensei from Salvador Aikikai, gave a demonstration, and finally the Mexico Aikido members, close the event with Fernando Roman Sensei.

The result was an interesting view of different martial arts, and everyone including the relatives and friendas that have assisted as spectators, were very pleased.

The main organizers of the event

Thank to the Taichi Professor and Tae Kwon Do professor

At the end of one class, thans to the participants of the different martial arts.

Thanks to Sensei de la Rosa for
his support and participation.

Thanks to all the Mexico partners

Once the seminar finished, the participants of it, help to clean the practice area and lift all the things. Then the organizers take us for a trip to Guatemala City where the main monuments, touristic and non touristic places were showed to us, even he heard their national hymn, it was very enriching. Then they took us to eat some typical guatemaln food (really delicious), we could share with them our Mexican Tequila.

With this Aikido event, of humanitairan aid seminar, AHAN Guatemala in an official way were conformed. If you live in Guatemala or visit it, we invite you to get in touch with Juan Carlos Garoz. Juan Carlos Garoz has begun his Aikido practice and if you want to joined him, just write or call Tel. ( 502 ) 5555-2520


Sensei Villanueva for his support in the sharing of the mat, it was a big help.

To the sponsors, Sushi Itto, Wong Martial Arts, Gatorade and the Boy Scouts assosiation of Guatemala. To the Karate Do professor Carlos García.... Thank you very much for his understanding and support.

To the Mexico Aikido group that traveled with Sensei to attend this seminar.

To Juan Carlos Garoz and Jaime Sánchez, the main organizers of de event.

This event was part of the International seminar series of AHAN Aikido isntructors, sponsored by Gaku Homma Sensei of Aikido Nippon Kan Headquarters Denver, Colorado USA. The expenses of Sensei Fernando were covered by AHAN INTERNACIONAL, (Aikido Humanitarian Active Network)

Thank you very much to Homma Kancho, for the support given and to AHAN for the disinterested aid that gives to the persons that need more.

Tecún Umán
Native warrior and national hero of Guatemala .

The reformer tower at the bottom

When we returned and again in the hotel, and after have rested a little, at night, we could have our last dinner in Guatemala, because in the next day we would leave early to Mexico. Here completely relaxedm had the oppotunity to share and talk about what we have experienced in our travel.


I want to thank Sensei Fernando, Monica, Alfredo, Luis Antonio León, Luis, Karla, Ana, Mr. Carlos, Mr. Jorge, Sara, Rodrigo and everyone that I share with and made possible this travel, doing it a great experience. I hope to have the opportunity soon to travel again with them and with more persons of our Mexico Aikido organization