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Riai celebrates 20 years 22-23 September 2023

In 22-23 September we celebrated our 20th anniversary. We (Pia & Jan) cannot in words express enough our gratefulness and happiness for all of you who have contributed to Riai over the years. Firstly: thank you all for attending the celebrations 22-23 September. On Friday we had training and afterward the cocktails from our own Banzai Bar were better than I remembered.

Thank you Peter Melin, Sten Rydell and Daniel Heed. Hanayo Holst made delicious tapas and we enjoyed a stroll along the memory lane with 900 pictures from the projector. On Saturday we enjoyed training for invited instructors who had 30 minutes each. Thank you Linda Wennersten Sporre, Leif Sunje, Maria Mossberg Ahlström, Ylva Beckman, Jonas Palm, Zeth Moberg, Peter Sahlin, Niklas Björklund and Mats Alexandersson for your inspiring teachings!

Then we had Aikido demonstrations, Riai Taiko and an explanation about our 20th anniversary tenugui and how to use it. On our 15th anniversary we choosed the word KIZUNA, 絆、bond between people as our key word. This time I wrote KEIZOKU WA CHIKARA NARI 継続は力なり、continuation creates power. (You can watch the livestream recording if you want to see this part of the celebrations here.

The last part was dinner & dance. During the dinner, we received so many kind words. Both from participants attending in person, as well as prerecorded and written messages. We (Pia and Jan) were very surprised and truly moved. Thank you 稲垣 繁實, Stefan Stenudd, Urban Aldenklint, Hoa Newens, Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros, Claes S Blixt, Kayla Feder, Patricia Hendricks, Ethan Weisgard, Københavns Aikido Klub – Aikido Copenhagen, Åsa Bergström, Magnus Burman, Lars-Göran Andersson and Annica Leifsdotter for so many kind words! We cannot thank you all enough for taking your time and effort to send us your gratulations.

Our members gave us an amazing cutting board and a knife that will last for decades (reminding us about our principle that in Riai we cook and dance, not only train). And the dance floor opened up with Jan teaching us all bachata with me as an uke.

All in all 82 persons trained on the mat and 104 persons were involved in the celebrations from 20 dojos in-person.

Someone asked us during the evening what made us (Pia and Jan) stick together for such a long time….and we spontaneously answered that we from the beginning established a number of ground rules: work for something, not against; in the dojo never talk badly about anyone (other people, other dojos, other styles); encourage each other’s initiatives at all times. And never leave the day with unsolved questions. Now we are looking forward to the next 20 years!

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