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The Aikido Yamato Dojo in Hamrun has succeeded in attracting to Malta one of Europe’s top Aikido masters to conduct the second seminar this year of its twice-annual International Aikido Seminar Series.

The seminar will be attended by students from France, UK, Russia, Czech Republic, Italy, Australia, Tunisia and the Philippines and is expected to be the largest Traditional Aikido Seminar conducted in Malta.

Jean Francois Riondet Shihan is a VII Dan Aikidoka based in Marseille France. Riondet Sensei has an impressive Aikido pedigree. He started Aikido in France at the tender age of 14. In the mid 70’s, in Paris, he met the late Japanese Master Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan (VIII Dan) who was a direct disciple of Morihei Ueshiba the founder of Aikido.

Impressed by the simplicity and powerfully fluid movements of Kobayashi’s Aikido Riondet, at the age of 25, left for Osaka, Japan to learn directly from Kobayashi. He lived in Japan for 2.5 years as Kobayashi’s live-in student eventually marrying his niece (also an Aikido practitioner) before moving back to France.

During the seminar students will learn the Aikido as evolved by Kobayashi Shihan which uses the body in ways beyond control by strength, will or reflex. Students will learn breathing and Martial techniques that focus on following a spiral of energy around one’s centre of vital energy.

Riondet’s Aikido is one of dynamic fluidity and complex techniques that look misleadingly simple, disarmingly natural and graceful in their execution. This is particularly impressive given Riondet’s stature (he is over 6ft tall) and despite his size he is sometimes called the ‘poet of Aikido’.

Riondet Sensei became the undisputed Sempai (preferred assistant) of Kobayashi during his European tours in the 80s and 90s. Today he is the headmaster of his school, Buikukan Riondet, composed of four clubs in the south of France from where he directs an annual European seminar attended by students from around the world.

He is regularly invited to several European countries including Italy, Switzerland, Poland and Germany to propagate this particular Aikido. He is highly respected amongst Kobayashi students for his clear explanations and powerful techniques and is recognised as the leading expert of this branch of Aikido. This will be his first time in Malta and he will be accompanied by his wife and three students from his own school.

The Yamato Dojo is Malta’s leading Aikido school. Its 2010 Autumn International Seminar will be held between 22 and 24 October at its dojo at the Maria Assumpta Secondary School in Hamrun. The seminar is open to all Aikido levels.

This will be the fifth seminar organized by the Yamato Dojo in its International Seminar Series which has now become a regular event on the Malta Aikido Calendar. A course for beginners will be commencing at the club in November.