Over the decades since its advent, Aikido has influenced millions of people to pursue a life of peace and serenity, both with themselves and the surrounding environment around them. Whether it is in Japan or in countries such as Chile, there are always pockets of inspired individuals searching for a way to create change in their communities. Amongst these people, there is Robert Pradenas, an Aikido practitioner and instructor who have fully embraced the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba to influence and inform others on the ideas of harmony.

An Interview with Aikido Instructor – Robert Pradenas

  1. How did you first get involved in Aikido?

I first came to get involved in Aikido out of a desire to change my life. Although I wasn’t exactly certain what I wanted to do, I was sure the desire was to do something different. Fortunately, during that period, I met Sensei Omar Opazo who acted as my instructor. Through him, I could learn of the beautiful martial art style of Aikido. Practicing and getting involved with Aikido was one of the most important decisions I’ve made in my life. It has changed my life forever. I am immensely grateful to the legacy of O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. Everything that he has done to establish the philosophies of Aikido.

  1. What urged you to teach Aikido to the youth of your community?

It was the fact that it had generated so many important changes in my own life. Through practicing and learning more about Aikido, I have discovered that the martial art style does more than provide self-defense techniques. It helps people to be better in all aspects of life. I believe, if Aikido has urged me to change my life for the better, it is important to spread such teachings to others, so they too could learn how to transform their lives in a healthy, positive way.

  1. What do you feel are the benefits to teaching the youth Aikido?

I believe the benefits come in many forms. For example, it helps to improve and balance their temperament. For troubled youths, this is especially important. It also helps to improve concentration, gain more self-confidence, and stimulate perseverance – all vital qualities that every youth should learn to adopt. Furthermore, it helps children build better relations with their colleagues and community due to the pursuit of peace and harmony between two. I feel really happy when thinking about teaching the youth.

  1. In Chile, how familiar are people with Aikido or martial arts in general?

In Chile, the general practice of Martial Arts dates to the 60’s and 70’s. Today, there are many practitioners and many schools of different styles. When it comes to Aikido, due to the fact in the last few years, the art of Aikido has become emancipated, are many styles of this martial art in Chile. In my opinion, I believe one of the great aspects of martial arts is that, even within a style (such as Aikido), you can still learn and study various points of view – adapting different techniques according to the instructor. This allows every individual to construct and complement your own path.

  1. What are your future plans when teaching Aikido?

My wife and I are creating a small school in our home. We can teach the children of our community several disciplines, but with a special orientation. Aikido is not only a martial art meant for self-defense, but an important pedagogical support for our future school. Personally, I will continue to train and attend seminars to improve and grow our dojo. And also teach our students with better lessons. By doing so, I believe it will help others to change their lives for the better.

  1. What made you want to set up a dojo in Limache, Chile. What are your future hopes for that dojo?     

The need to have a place of practicing Aikido was vital for me. We wanted to have a dojo where we could practice and meet for this purpose. It was also important for me to have a specific location to be able to carefully and safely teach the children of our community. This desire and need led to the construction of the dojo, all with the assistance of fellow adult students and the parents of the children. The reason I chose to establish it in Limache, Chile is due to the city’s alluring mystique that comes with it. I honestly believe that fate brought me here. Everything that has happened to be since has been simply special. For me, to be living here now is truly magic.

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