Published July 25, 2017 13:05

Welcome Sara Kovacs

Shodokan Honbu welcomes Sara Kovacs to the dojo. Sara arrived in Osaka a couple of weeks ago to train and brush up her Aikido skills.

So, who exactly is this lady from the United Kingdom? Let’s learn.

Sara was born and raised in Hungary. She grew up during the Cold War when international travel was prohibited and Soviet influences part of everyday life. It was a time when those funny, depressing looking little cars that folks in the west associate with European communist regimes were everywhere. In her early twenties and after graduating university with a degree in chemistry and at the end of the Cold War, Sara left Hungary and moved to the UK. Fortunately, I can only assume that thanks to her forward thinking parents, Sara had learned English in school so upon her arrival in the UK, communication problems were rare if at all. Life in the UK was I’m sure entirely different from life in Hungary; it must have been difficult and challenging, but with her combination of moxie and determination, she beat all obstacles that came her way and became a real, tea-drinking Brit. With the UK “conquered” Sara and her future husband, traveled to various countries around the world one of which was Kenya where together they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Sara has seen and done a great deal since her youthful days in Hungary, and dare I say; she has few regrets. Nowadays, she lives outside of London, is married; has two daughters, and works as a math teacher in a private school.

Aikido and Japan.

. Sara began practicing Aikido in 1996 after watching an Aikido demonstration. She said that the reason she chose Aikido was that the ukemi enthralled her with its beauty; she wondered how these hakama-wearing people were not injured. Sara’s first Aikido instructors were David Fielding and Vanda Fairchild. These two experienced teachers nurtured her through the long process of learning one of Japan’s more complicated martial arts – from ki-hon to free application. Asked, recently, what drives her to continue practicing and studying Aikido, Sara explained that it is the physical challenge as well as the mental workout that she enjoys. Now a 3rd dan, Sara continues to navigate and climb the Aikido tree of true understanding; with its branches and its twists and turns seemingly never-ending.

Sara has visited Japan a number of times over the years. Asked what she likes or enjoys about the country, she informed me that, as far as Aikido training is concerned, there are more opportunities to practice. She finds Honbu dojo instructors, other than Shihan, highly skilled and excellent teachers; indeed their patience and guidance a godsend for beginners. After each training session, another tidbit of the million-piece Aikido puzzle gets stamped into her brain. I’m sure Sara when she returns to the UK after three weeks her friends and others will notice an improvement in her abilities both physically and in her understanding of the art. Aside from Aikido, there are other charms that Japan has that fascinate Sara. She enjoys the food; trying different dishes – the tasty and the not-so-tasty. She finds the language a treat and seems to relish learning its syntax and vocabulary. She also takes delight in visiting temples and shrines which are ubiquitous in and around the City of Osaka; giving visitors a glimpse of Japanese history untouched by the march of time. Finally, there is one, shall we say, “unwritten rule” that Sara finds interesting and that is the riding of bicycles on sidewalks or if you’re British pavements/footpaths. I too found this to be strange, albeit dangerous when I first landed in this nation of intrigue.


So, now you know Sara Kovacs. Be sure to train with her if you ever get the chance.