Philosophy of life, they ensure vitality and prevention of diseases
Taking herself as an example, sensei Eni Fantini, 80 years old, highlights the good that martial art can do and bring to people’s lives.

The idea is to assume the role of warriors in search of health and well-being. In the 21st century, with the whirlwind of everyday life, frantic rhythm and galloping stress, to have quality of life it is necessary to transform into true samurai, committed to a healthy mind and body. If, at first, it seems strange, know that the martial arts are pointed as perfect activities for those who are over 50, 60 and even 70 years old… That’s right! Kung fu, karate, aikido, jiu-jitsu and tai chi chuan practiced with due care are a guarantee of vitality and disease prevention.

Originally developed as methods of self-defense, the martial arts have taken on various roles throughout history. They are no longer training for warriors in conflicts. Today, they are seen (mainly in the western world) as sports, and practiced for aesthetics. With a millenary tradition, they have never lost the essence of self-defense and the focus on the formation of the human being. It is a philosophy of life.

Nowadays, with villains such as sedentary lifestyle, obesity, eating disorders and depression, martial arts, not only as physical activity, are increasingly important for those who want a healthy existence, with body, soul and spirit in tune.

From Rio de Janeiro, the sensei Naoyuki Hirakawa, graduated in various styles of karate, very respected in the middle and not only in Brazil, says that, “with various directions and different movement the body is balanced and developed. You don’t choose sides in a fight. The real martial art, unlike the sport, is balance, it has no preference for blow”.

With his 71 years, about 1,50m and no more than 50 kilos, it seems incredible, but Naoyuki easily controls people with double their weight. “The martial arts are very old. So why train them in the modern world? Half my life was fanatical. With time and age, I understood what they are for these days. In training there is confrontation, but before the physical contact there is the mental. Without that, it would just be brute force.

They started together with Buddhist thought, they have a connection with ancient Buddhism and therefore it is a rich and profound philosophy, which brings health. The martial arts offer mental balance and provide emotional stability. You can’t heat your head for nothing.”

The benefits come not only in a fit body, but protected (or more resistant) to diseases and with extra gain in flexibility, elasticity, agility. In short, everything that will make a difference to improve everyday life. The martial arts act both on the physical and psychological side. In China, they have been used for centuries as exercises for health, respecting the particularity of age.

The struggles, each one with its own characteristics, develop different physical skills that the elderly need to have quality of life. They act in the concentration and speed of reasoning. Not to mention the development of discipline, socialization, companionship, self-awareness and leisure.

Mineira de Sabará, in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, the sensei Eni de Oliveira Fantini, of 80, gives development classes of ki (or ki aikido), which is the philosophical part of aikido. She reveals the good that martial art can do and bring to people’s lives, taking it as an example. “It is my final work on Earth, creating relationships with people and groups and, at this level, being respected in my dignity and seeing the other as equal. The ki aikido gives me this opportunity and does so through the body and not only through words, but through joint movement, in pairs and with the whole group. The body learns and gives us the chance to feel good and see the other person.

Philosophy of life

With respect to past teachings, senseis highlight principles, benefits, values and the contribution of martial arts in promoting the physical and emotional well-being of the practitioner.
The sensei Naoyuki Hirakawa (black) uses the boken (bo – wood and ken – sword), which represents the characteristics of shape, weight and balance of a katana, the iconic samurai sword.

Man is body and mind. An activity that provides physical and emotional well-being is the perfect encounter to maintain balance. Aikido is the martial art adopted by sensei Alcino Lagares, 67 years old, to walk in this existence. It has been 31 years of practice, 5th dan and endless learning. He says that aikido is part of his life, as well as his philosophy.

At the age of 6, he found, in a corner of his grandfather’s house, the book Manual de filosofia, by Theobaldo Miranda Santos. “I had many questions, I found myself thinking about this world and, afraid to ask the adults, I found in this book many answers, and more questions.

When I was 9, 10 years old, after Sunday Mass, I was going to the matinê, in Governador Valadares, and, before showing the film, I saw a fight of the Gracie (family responsible for the diffusion of jiu-jitsu in Brazil and creator of the style of Brazilian martial art known as the “Jiu-jitsu”).
worldwide). I was impressed. I bought a self-defense book for reimbursement and began to make the movements at home with a chair, according to the drawings. I trained alone”.

At the age of 16, Alcino passed the contest for the Military Police (today, he is from the reserve, having made a career as a cadet to colonel), and that’s where he had real contact with the personal defense. He was caught long before he learned and became a judo black belt. In 1969, when he attended a performance of aikido in Rio de Janeiro, he was faced with destiny, which would only be revealed years later, in 1984, when he started training with a teacher from the Japanese colony of Belo Horizonte.

“I found the identity of what I was looking for as a child, which is the protection of people. I have nothing to teach, but I can help someone to learn. I do this with people of all ages, through aikido, a martial art with the philosophy of protecting the human being, who understands that all aggression comes from an unbalanced individual. It is not normal to assault one’s fellow man. Aikido does not aim to defeat, but to make the person perceive how he or she is attacking someone. In the words of the founder, if you defeat a person, you will be the winner, but you will be invincible if you defeat yourself, like violence, ignorance, prejudice. We exist to live in peace, in a cooperative way.”

Sensei Alcino Lagares, 67, says that aikido is not meant to defeat, but to make people realize how they are beating someone.


Karate is rooted in the life of sensei Naoyuki Hirakawa. With knowledge, he warns that true martial art is balance. And everyone can do it. It does not matter if you are 10 or 60 years old, because there is a level according to each age and numerous techniques. Naoyuki, who developed his own style called mugen ryu (ryu is school or style, and mugen means continuous evolution, it’s a fluid, light, precise and powerful style that mixes free hands and sword), at 71, teaches kenjutsu (sword art), jojutsu (staff art) and taijutsu (hands-free art). Wise, he remembers that it is not necessary to suffer to learn. “Learning has to be fun and joyful. Physical suffering may be, but mental suffering is not. The spirit has to be light.

The sensei Alcino warns that the aikido is the way to harmony and goes beyond the benefits of physical activity, with muscle heating, body movements, lessons to learn to fall without hurting, have flexibility, agility, techniques to bring down, immobilize, use of sticks and swords. There is intellectual exercise and the development of a form of inner energy, a force of the spirit that unifies mind and body.

“We do unusual things, such as someone with twice my weight not being able to push me. All because of energy projection. So we say we don’t teach, but we help the other person to learn, to develop, to breathe through the diaphragm and to decrease anxiety, to be more calm and to have emotional balance. Aikido gives us all of this. It is not the point of arrival, but the place to travel throughout life.”