Baške Oštarije, Velebit

12.8. - 18.8.2022

Baške Oštarije

For many years Marijan Kudrna from Aikido Društvo Zagreb (Aikido Society Zagreb) has been organizing the summer seminar in Baške Oštarije, a small town in a Plateau at 924 m altitude in the Velebit mountains - this time with active support from Ryan Jepson.
According to Wikipedia, the Velebit massif in Croatia has a similar importance as Mount Olympus for the Greeks or Mount Fuji for the Japanese. Numerous myths, legends and old folk tales are entwined around the massif, such as that of Vila Velebita (fairy of Velebit).
The seminars have always been led by Yoshigasaki Sensei and have been very well attended.

Baške Oštarije

This year Maurizio, Bernhard and Achim were the main teachers on the program.
The participants came from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland. There were about three dozen in all.
At the Velebit seminar, the Aikido and Misogi training takes place in a large tent on a meadow. A light breeze often blew in the tent, which softened the sometimes hot outside temperatures, and to the astonishment of the participants, two large dragonflies flew in and out every now and then to watch the strange goings-on on the tatami.

Baške Oštarije

Many participants have been to this seminar many times. They know the area well and organize their own accommodation. However, the majority stayed in the hostel of the Rekreativni centar (Recreation Center) Baške Oštarije.
There is a two-part large dormitory with ten beds and three rooms with up to five beds each. It's similar to a youth hostel. There is a restaurant hall, a large log cabin for breakfast, lunch and dinner for groups staying in the hostel and plenty of seats under umbrellas in the yard.
While the sleeping places were all reserved for Aikido, the restaurant had numerous day tourists as guests at the weekend. The kitchen has local flavor and cooks very tasty, with lots of meat and plenty. But vegetarians were also taken care of.
The Recreation Center pages in English.

From the plateau you can reach the Adriatic Sea in Karlobag, which is 8 km away as the crow flies, via a well-developed serpentine road. It is 20 km by car. Karlobag (Vegium in Latin) is a seaside resort with about a thousand inhabitants. The view from the road to the sea and the offshore island of Pag is fantastic. Some participants kept coming back to Karlobag for lunch or to swim and sunbathe.


The Aikido day started with a Misogi at 7 a.m. This was followed by breakfast at the hostel. Then at 9:30 a.m. we continued with one and a half hours of Aikido for everyone and one hour of Aikido for teachers. After lunch there was a break, which was used for relaxation or for trips to the mountains or to the sea. From 5 p.m. there was free training and from 6 p.m. again one and a half hours of Aikido.

In the Misogi the teachers took turns: Michal, Marijan, Renata, Ryan, Roberto.
Marijan, Renata, who presented methods for learning correct breathing, and Roberto, who analyzed the "unbendable arm" and the "unliftable body" in depth, took over further lessons in Aikido.

On Tuesday, Ryan, Zvonimir, Elvis and Christian faced the third and fourth dan exams respectively. They all showed convincing performances.
Since the calligrapher for the certificates was among the participants and had brought all his utensils with him, they were able to receive their handwritten diplomas during the seminar.


In the times after Yoshigasaki Sensei, there are more seminars with several teachers. It is inevitable that different concepts will be presented. Because just copying what Yoshigasaki Sensei showed us is not enough in the long run. Everyone should develop their own understanding. As long as this does not lead to ego trips or religious struggles, it can only have positive effects on the further development of Aikido.
The atmosphere on the mat was definitely very friendly and harmonious. There was the opportunity to get to know nice and kind people and it was a pleasure to practice Aikido and Misogi together in Baške Oštarije.


After this success, the seminar in Baške Oštarije will probably take place again next year.


Photos: Angela, Alessandro, Bernhard, Jonnes, Marijan, Ryan, G00gle