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Thread: About demographic evolution of aikido in France

  1. #1
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    Default About demographic evolution of aikido in France

    France is a country in which there is still a important presence of aikido, till the early 50's.
    Due to sport structuration in the country, under the relevent Ministry, aikido is considerer as a sport (and this is not a discussion for this thread ). As a consequence, its aknowledged federations (currently FFAAA and FFAB, which are the far largest aikido groups to my knowledge) must indicate to the Ministry some data about them which are then publically released.
    These communications - and questions about aikido attractiveness - have led me to publish, in French, an article about the demographic evolution of aikido in France till 2000 to 2015 in "Dragon magazine special aikido", a french review mainly dedicated to aikido. This paper had also been publish (into two parts) in my own blog : here (I) and here (II). A kind of update (for 2016) is published here.

    Let me know your opinion about !

    By the way, I have also (global) questions : is there any other country or organisation that have also such public data ? Where can I found them ? Thanks !
    Emmanuel Betranhandy
    Paresse martiale (in french, my blog)

  2. #2
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    Hello,

    Your articles were very interesting and illuminating. I was an official of the International Aikido Federation (IAF / FIA) from 1984 to 2016 and had a ringside seat in the structural problems that affected aikido in France in the 1980s and 1990s. I knew / know all of the main players involved. Despite these problems, France was recognized as a relatively well-run member federation and was able to give reasonably precise figures of the number of aikido practitioners.

    As for attractiveness, I suspect that there are some issues here. In my opinion aikido is harder to practice than other arts that are competitive sports, since it lacks the boundaries (and, in many cases, the training discipline) that are necessitated by having contests and championships. This makes the art less attractive for some, but more attractive for others. Here in Japan, it is an established part of the cultural furniture, so there is far less angst about the so-called effectiveness of aikido as a martial art. My dojos have a more or less constant membership, but there is a large group of children, some of whom train with one or both parents. Aikido is seen as an important part of their education.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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  4. #3
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    Hello,

    I would like to thank you for your response, and your appreciation on my article.
    I would like to add that, with the help of some documents such as an history of french aikido (Histoire de l'aikido, 50 ans de présence en France) by Bonnefont et Clériot - I think you have met them in the past - it is possible to have a good idea of the demographic evolution from the early 80's to now. The (french ?) idea of unicity of aikido (administrative) representation is still alive in France, but, in the same time, the independance of each group is still strongly defended. And that's the problem for aikido history amateurs like me...

    Best wishes.
    Emmanuel Betranhandy
    Paresse martiale (in french, my blog)

  5. #4
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    Hello Again,

    Yes, I have M. Bonnefond's book (it is very big and does not fit in my shelves) and I am mentioned several times therein. One of the good things about aikido is that, though I crossed swords with many of the people in his book, we eventually became friends. M. Bonnefond kindly sent me a copy.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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