this is not to depreciate my own dojo, which I like very much, which has a nice atmosphere, a beautiful building, a good teacher and very agreeable aikidoka - but I have seen another dojo that just overwhelmed me.
Whoever among you has the opportunity to go to Azerbaidjan should pay a visit to the Azerbaidjan aikido federation.
They mainly speak Azeri and Russian but have English, Turkish and French speaking members also.
I was in Baku for 10 days end of January, and I trained there several times. It's just the perfect dojo:
- they have training 6 days a week from 10.00 - 21.00
- they have three parallel dojo rooms and some social facilities (kitchen, living room, office), everything very simple but very friendly and charming
- they offer lessons for all levels, both separate and mixed; there is even a women lesson for women who are too shy or too religious to go to the normal mixed lesson
- they have a very brilliant and very modest teacher
- they are a community dojo, own their own facilities and ask very reasonable prices for participation (considering that they receive no subsidies)
- they have the most committed and serious aikidoka (of every level) I've ever seen
- they have loads of yudansha sharing their expertise with lower grades
- they are welcoming, hospitable and enormously friendly.
So whoever has the luck to go there should really give it a try. I'll go again end of April (for work), and I am really looking forward to it.