REGISTRATION FOR IAM 2023 WILL BE OPEN SOON. STAY TUNED!
Author: Martin Švihla
The opportunity to practice aikido for 24 hours, to meet new people and to move your mind and body to the next level - this and much more is International 24-hour Aikido Marathon under auspice of International Aikido Federation. Next Marathon will take place on the 4th of April in Prague, Czeech Republic, and the classes of the event will be held by 14 teachers from seven European countries and many different aikido organizations. Will you accept the challenge?
Imagine: The seminar starts on Saturday morning. There are a hundred people on the tatami. You practice for 45 minutes and then you have a some minutes break, then another 45 minutes class, a short break, and another and another. The rhythm of the practice is fine, people around you are also enthusiastic. After some hours there is a longer pause so that you can eat something and joke with a guy you met that day on the tatami, and then you both return to the tatami for some more aikido. And it goes like that, on and on - a long day and a longer night with just moments of sleep.
As time goes by, the smiles fade but the light in the eyes sparkles. Everybody is moving slower, because tiredness is replaced by fatigue. Crisis comes and goes. Maybe you have to skip a class. But then you come back to Keiko, because there are still people on the mat and you like to enjoy aikido with them. So you practice more. At one point, your exhaustion is gone and some kind of strange flow appears from inside of you and then you just move as if you were surfing the flow. Suddenly the sun rises, there is Sunday morning and the last class is over. Everybody is sitting on the mat with silly happy smiles, tired and puzzled. Did we really make it? The Marathon is over but its impact on people will show for days and weeks after. The event changed us from inside.
The Marathon is very intense, yet very open and friendly. It is facilitated by many teachers from several European countries and different aikido organizations. The teachers are cooperating in keeping the flow of the long and tiring training, they offer and exchange inspiration, building the atmosphere of joint development. And of course, when the teachers are not teaching a class, they are practicing as everybody else.
I do my best to describe this exceptional event but the experience is much deeper than any words. I went through the Marathon three times. I have seen teenagers laughing and challenging each other if they make full 24 hours. And I have also seen mature aikidokas in their 50's taking class after class to seriously explore their aikido as well as their physical limits. I am sure that any committed aikidoka can benefit from this special event.
And of course, you can have your own breaks, a longer sleep, your own rhythm of the event. The International 24-hour Aikido Marathon is not a competition - it is an exceptional opportunity to experience yourself deeper than usual. To bathe in aikido, to soak with aikido, to blend with aikido mentally and physically. It is an opportunity to move your mind and body to the next level, whatever grade you are. And also - to have a lot of fun and find new friends.
The 24-hour Aikido Marathon is concentrated aikido practice. Will you join us this year?
Czech republic, Prague
TJ Sokol Praha Královské Vinohrady, Polska 2400/1a
23 – 24 April 2023
11:00 am – 11:00 am
Adults 40 €
Students | Unemployed | Parental leave 30 €
Children under the age of 12 10 €
We are inviting aikido teachers from many European countries for the Marathon - both men and women. Each of these instructors will have two classes during the marathon and they will also participate many other classes from the schedule. The goal of the event is to practice together!
6th dan Aikikai
4th dan Aikikai
6th dan Aikikai
4th dan Aikikai
5th dan Aikikai
3rd dan Aikikai
5th dan Aikikai
3rd dan Aikikai
4th dan Aikikai
3rd dan Aikikai
The list of supporting organizations for year 2023 will be announced soon
International Aikido Federation
Velvyslanectví Japonska v České republice
Czech Federation of Aikido
100. výročí vztahů mezi Japonskem a Českou republikou
freelance studio, s.r.o.
Aikido Praha Vinohrady
Aikido Akadémia Košice
Kagami dojo from Uzhgorod
Swedish Aikido Federation
Aikido Shurenkan Dojo, Hungary
Dojo de la Roseraie
Romanian Aikikai Aikido Foundation
More pictures and information about IAM 2018 is on this archive page.
It was my first time to attend anything like this and to be honest, I had been scared. I didn´t believe that I could do more than couple of hours. Imagine my surprise when I practised for 12 hours and I felt good, alert and without any problems. I was also amazed by the organisation of the event. I even enjoyed lying down the tatami because we did it together and it was good fun. Everything ran smoothly, there was water, tea, fruit ready for us at each break and we had dinner and breakfast. In the end, I managed to practise for 18 hours and was very proud of myself. I am looking forward to next such opportunity to challenge myself.
Aikido Marathon was an event for me that extended my horizons. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to practice not only with adults but also with children and youth from different countries. I liked the format of alternating teachers and the opportunity to experience the different approaches and aspects of aikido in one place. The intensity of the exercise helped me to experience both flow and my own limits. I encourage everyone to take part in their own pace and I believe that such action will enrich and inspire you.
The InternationaI Aikido Marathon is a place where I could experiment and search for my limits. Perhaps aikido should always be like this, but in regular practice I have too many desires, ambitions, and habits. The 24 hours of practice helps me see and errode these obstacles.
What a strange experience the IAM2018 was for me. So wild yet so tranquil, so long yet so short. One might think that 24 hours is too much for a person to handle- and for some it was, judging by the faraway look some of the participants had as the night went on. more
It was an event that cannot be simply described by words no matter the eloquence of the reviewer. You simply had to be there to fully understand the contradictory feelings one might have went through during the marathon. But in the end, these feelings formed a strange concoction of emotions, leaving a deep mark in our lives.
Aikido marathon is an opportunity to look at my limits. I had plenty of time to discover them and to study them in detail. I have now a better idea how I react when I'm exhausted and how long I can go on. The variety of teachers helped me find new areas for improvement. All in all, the experience was worth it and I will go again to see how much has changed since then.
When my aikido's master in Košice - Martin Frankovitch - asked me about Aikido Marathon, I immediatly agreed. Why? Cause I took it at a rare opportunity to try different styles of aikido on a short period : 24 hours. 24 hours, yes, it's a journey ! But 24 hours of aikido means at that time 14 different senseis so 14 different ways of practising aikido - it sounded amazing ! I just started aikido one year ago in Budapest wtih Tóth Imre and from that time I applied for some seminars all around Europe with : Masuda Manabu (Japan), Radoslav Tmák (Slovakia), Mare Seye (France), Stefan Stenudd (Sweden) and Iveta Sudorova (Slovakia). And so, the more I practise, the more I understand how there is different ways to teach, understand and practise aikido. At the beginning, I saw Aikido Marathon as an opportunity to enrich my aikido's skills and to expand my "aikido's vocabulary". more
When I entered the dojo, my main question was : am I able to practise aikido for 24 hours without any injuries ? And : can I keep pleasure at the same time on a so long period ? Okay, very difficult to summarize with few words that but let me, at least, tell you some feelings about that experience.
Speaking of organisation, nothing to add, just perfect. Each 45 minutes, we had a short break to drink, eat and relax. In addition, even if the rythm was sometimes hard to keep, some of the senseis offers yogas's training and contemporary dance exercices during the night. Very clever to keep the health of the aikidokas at their top!
Speaking of the atmosphere, nothing to add, just perfect. This event was an unique occasion to meet people coming from countries of all Europe : Czech Republic, Ukraine, Sweden, Hungaria, Germany,... and Slovakia, of course ! In short, even if it was sometimes difficult - just slept 5 hours ! (but no injury) - the big advantage of this event was to meet people and to experience varieties of aikido's style. For example, I kept contact with senseis from Sweden and Ukrainia that I probably meet in next seminars. Some of them even invite me to their dojo, abroad, for having a long-term aikido practise there!
To conclude, I really recommend you this experience, no regard to your current aikido rank. Why ? First because Aikido Marathon is an excellent way of testing yourself, both physically and mentally. Secondly cause it's, above all, an unique way to meet and create contact with aikidokas and senseis. I was the only French on tatamis and I took a big pleasure to practise aikido on a so long period... period which, actually, seems to be very short at that time!
The day of departure is marked by an extreme reluctance to go anywhere at all. Although everything is already packed: a couple of aikido-gis take up the whole backpack, various snacks are there for the breaks, as well as energy drink and instant coffee packets. Even first-aid kit is loaded with additional vitamins and medication. And it's already time to leave, but you feel like you'd rather stay here, under the welcoming warmth of the blankets, for the whole weekend. more
Fortunately, everything is already decided and paid for, all is left is to make a step outside...
The dojo looks great - it's bright and warm. Tatami isn't too soft. You're already envisioning the amount of upcoming rolls and wonder: "Why do I need all of this? This 24 hours of madness, in which I participate for the 4th time won't prove anything to anyone. What's my goal? It would be better to stay at home, get some sleep, do some chores. Fine, I won't push myself too hard - it's always possible to quit and go sleeping. No one demands from me to go the full distance".
Clap. Seiza. Four hours in, people are talking to each other. We're a bit nervous - it's just the beginning, the hardest thing is still ahead. But there's so many nice people around and instructors are great too.
Oh! It's already dark outside? Really? And what's next? Oh, great!!! What? No, I'm not tired.
After the midnight you can notice that there's less and less people on tatami. Weariness begins to kick in, throws are getting slower. Techniques become softer and lazier. Everyone switches to energy saving mode.
A long hour and a half break gives a chance to eat something, take a shower and even get
some sleep. Some participants don't return after the break and keep sleeping. Those who left are slowly getting back to tatami. They are tired, but the mood is nice.
And here is the most interesting part… When there is no strength to prove to each other who is stronger and who has 'blacker belt' technique, completely different trainings start. It is as if to eat a salad all the time and remember only that it is tasty and sweet & sour, yet suddenly, you begin to distinguish subtle notes of taste of each ingredient. As the next step you are given one of such ingredients - and you are simply out of words how rich in taste it is on its own, how many subtle shades it has.
Instructors are in their nature a true master-chefs of their job, they split up techniques into separate components and every movement is savored like a cooking masterpiece. Smoothly and without a rush, hour after hour, we are moving towards the most important and the main component of all our dishes - towards ourselves...
At the moment when the sun wakes up and the internal master control falls asleep, absolutely unusual feelings open up. This is as if you are always an ice and suddenly you turned into water… and if you always stand firmly on your feet, don't feel any blows or strokes, everything is just for nothing - from now the most gentle touch is spreading in circles around your body. No, this is not about pain and fatigue. This is about feeling alive… And this feeling is instantly removing both fatigue and discomfort in a body.
Slowly the dojo is filling up, only a couple of hours are left. Someone has just woke up and has no idea what is going on, someone is just dreaming of a sleep, for someone it's nothing special… but everyone is equally trying to focus and delve into the topic of training. Of course, closer to an end it becomes harder to concentrate on the practice and the last minutes last forever, but no one shows that) And in a moment when master makes the final clap - everyone looks like spreading at the same time because of happiness and fatigue, and in general, because of everything that is possible… "How cool that in the end I got out.. And what would I do at home? Transplant flowers and sleep?
"Why did you go to the a marathon?" - the majority is always interested in the reason why I took part in this event. Such questions driven me into a stupor. It was my third marathon, so it was time to sort out, really, why I'm doing it... more
All three marathons I withstood from start to finish. Each of them left in my memory a special reminiscence. So, I want to tell a little about each of them.
So the first one. I had friends who had already taken part in previous aikido marathons. From their stories, I went to event with the thought "I have to withstand" And I endured it. For me it was an achievement. At the end of the marathon, I was terribly tired, lost my attention and was looking forward to its completion. Afterwards, recalling the event, the first things that came to my mind were a solid tatami, a desire to sleep, fatigue. Yes, it was stress for me.
On the second one I was already with experience. Yes, I knew it would be difficult and I could stand it. Special attention was paid by me to the performing of technics on the regular trainings. So, the main task to the marathon was to keep concentration on the training process. Those 24 hours gave me a lot of new knowledges. These trainings were very useful for the development of my technique. In the morning, attention was lost, fatigue constantly reminded of itself. In general, I was pleased with the result of the marathon, because the acquired skills helped me to move, develop further. But I was not very happy that the next marathon will take place in the next year.
Third Marathon. My favourite. Knowing that it will be visited by many familiar and interesting to me people helped me to adjust correctly. I went to the marathon with a desire to see my friends. To find out how they are and to get news about their life. And, of course, to train together. Because Aikido introduced us to each other.
During the trainings, each participant sought to improve their skills. And this desire was not only on the tatami. About most of them I know that they are succeeding in life. And the Aikido classes perfectly help them in it.
It was hard for everyone. Everyone was tired. Everyone continued to support each other. Everyone was an example of one's struggle against their own weakness.
This time I just enjoyed the trainings and surrounding me people with which I was lucky to be. I was glad for everyone who did not stop in their development. It kept me in good mood for 24 hours. It threw away my thoughts about fatigue. Yes, there was fatigue. But it didn't significantly affect to the quality of trainings and concentration of attention. And it was because the best training is possible when you spend your time well.
Each of the marathons for me is valuable. Each of them changed me. Each of them gave, on his own, an understanding that development is possible just in overcoming the obstacles. And much easier when you overcome these obstacles in the team.
The dojo is located just 10 minutes walking to Prague downtown and we have one of the best views of Prague castle just behind the dojo. :)