About the teacher
A short interview with Jan Baars, the teacher of Ki Aikido Haarlem. He has more than thirty years of experience with Ki Aikido and has the highest examination grade in Aikido (4th Dan) and Ki Development (Okuden).
‘From my teenage years I have practiced judo intensively, also in competition. In my first year as a student I won the national university championships and went to Suriname with a Dutch judo team for competitions. After that I quit judo because I didn't wish to spending the next ten or more years in the dojo. Moreover, I had become fascinated by the social sciences - but especially philosophy - and I had to pay for my studies mainly with babysitting, which I could easily combine with studying. After my master's degrees, I was appointed as a university teacher at the age of 23 and picked up my passion for the arts of bodily movement in the form of meditation, tai chi, dance, yoga and various forms of aikido.
Although I very much enjoyed these practices my principal interest shifted gradually to the question what they meant for daily life, including spiritual aspects.
Later, as a professor of philosophy I was often asked for lectures, master classes and guest professorships abroad (about my work: see janbaars.nl). I always tried to combine this with lessons from inspiring teachers such as Ben Lo for tai chi in San Francisco. Or with George Leonard, Aikido teacher and author of The Ultimate Athlete, also in San Francisco, and Kataoka Sensei in Osaka for Ki Aikido. About the physical and anatomical conditions of human movement, I have learned most from John Graham from Esalen, California, whose assistant I was when he came to Europe for his workshops. From 1988 I have devoted myself, besides my work, almost completely to Ki Aikido as developed by Yoshigasaki Sensei, with whom I took the fourth dan exam in Berlin in 2017.’