Written by Tony Dolan in 2006, this is the account of Gaku Homma’s first visit to Ireland as part of the activities of the Aikido Humanitarian Active Network
Aikikai Ireland-AOI (1) and Simone Chierchini invited Homma Kancho to teach a fund raising seminar in Donegal, a town about five and a half hours west of Dublin, Ireland. The strife between Northern and Southern Ireland has been part of world news for decades, but this story is about AHAN, and the positive events that took place during this historical weekend.
Sixty students from thirteen dojos from both North and South Ireland came together to attended this seminar in Donegal in mid-August. The seminar was held in a community recreation center where attending students roomed and cooked their meals together to complete this special experience. Sharing time together itself was a great experience, and a wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know students and instructors from different parts of Ireland on a one-to-one basis.
Simone Chierchini Sensei is a second generation Aikidoka. His father practiced Aikido and was an Aikikai instructor in Italy therefore Simone Sensei grew up as an Aikidoka under his father’s tutelage. Recently Simone Sensei moved with his wife Lara and two children from Italy to Ireland where he started his own dojo in Sligo, Ireland. One of the purposes of this seminar was to raise funds for “Musubi Mats” to assist Simone Sensei in his teaching.
What are Musubi Mats? Simone Sensei not only teaches at his dojo in Sligo, he travels frequently in a small truck that he rents, taking practice mats with him from town to town for students to practice Aikido under his instruction. He calls this his “moving dojo”. Part of the funds raised by this seminar will go towards the purchase of new Musubi mats for Simone Sensei’s moving dojo and the rest will go toward the purchase of permanent mats for the community center.
The seminar raised a total of $5000.00 US. This was made possible with student support, and was also made possible by AHAN sponsorship that paid for all of Homma Kancho’s and Nippon Kan Assistant Instructor Tony Dolan’s airfare, travel and lodging expenses. Homma Kancho donated all of his teaching time at no charge to Simone Sensei or attending students.
Homma Kancho spoke at the seminar closing, “Nippon Kan is an independent dojo that is not under the control of any organization NOR does seek to control any other dojos through association with Nippon Kan. This important Nippon Kan policy allows for the possibility of participating in the kind of special seminar we have had together this weekend.. This seminar has been special in that many different people from many different dojos could come together for a common goal. The practice of Aikido this weekend allowed all attending to communicate and understand each other in new ways, and I hope these new relationships continue to grow. I appreciate everyone attending this seminar and hope all of you will be able to attend next year at a follow up seminar in the planning for Dublin.”
Because of his continuing efforts, Simone Chierchini Sensei was awarded the honor of AHAN Nippon Kan IISA (Instructors in Support of AHAN). Being an IISA Instructor does not depend on style or affiliation. The only requirement for IISA Instructors is that they are involved with humanitarian or cultural activities providing service through Aikido for their own communities. It is leaders in these efforts that are recognized and honored as AHAN IISA Instructors, and it was great to be able to honor Simone Chierchini Sensei for all of his efforts in his own community.
(1) now Takemusu Aikido Ireland, the article was written in 2006
Originally published in