The Aikido Federation is a valued member of The World Games family. During TWG 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, Aikido has used the Sports Garden and the Coliseum at Birmingham-Southern College for two Embukais. The word Embukai translates best as ‘demonstration event’.
Aikido is not on the competition schedule at the Birmingham Games. The reason is simple: there are no competitions in this martial sport. The training principle is to try to get a little better every day. This does not require an opponent. Rather, the athletes see their partners in the dojo as someone who helps them achieve their own goals, and vice versa. Together they go through the attack and defence routines with changing roles. Some more background: Aikido is a very effective form of self-defence.
At the Birmingham Games, 35 athletes from 15 nations promoted their sport. One of them was a para athlete from Germany. He perfectly demonstrated that a disability need not be a reason not to practice this fascinating sport. A Master of Aikido, Irie Yoshinobu from Japan, was also invited to the demonstrations during the eleventh edition of the Games. Patricia Hendricks from California showed, in the Sports Garden on the Plaza, that the sport not only has supporters in the United States, but also great athletes.
Embukais took centre stage at Birmingham-Southern College on Tuesday and Wednesday. Aikido gathered its community and all those curious about this form of fighting without fighting. The federation showcased its exercises and routines in front of an audience. At the same time they live-streamed the programme through its channels on Facebook and Youtube. One of the athletes on the big stage of The World Games was Hélène Doué. The Frenchwoman was one of the candidates in the IWGA online voting for Athlete of the Year. Also performing from France were Selin Froissart and Alexis Cessinas.
As members of The World Games family, International Aikido Federation Chairman Wilko Vriesman was invited to the IWGA Breakfast with IWGA President José Perurena and the IOC Breakfast with the IOC President Thomas Bach. Press Officer Irina Gaspar explains why the sport feels well within The World Games family: "We share the same values of mutual respect, tolerance and friendship through sport."
Watch the embukais on Facebook.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and over 100 countries will take part in The World Games.