Focal Point

From Passion to Mission

It’s always nice to meet people who have a dream. Sometimes they go for it and they succeed. The story of  ‘Albert Poncelet,’ is such one. For this assistant-director in a primary school, the traditional Japanese martial art Jujutsu, became a passion and a mission. With the inauguration in September of  the ‘Dojo,’ literally ‘place of the way,’ a training place he build specifically for Jujutsu in Paliseul, in the French part of Belgium, his dream become true. Albert Poncelet who teaches in Budo Club La Roche-en-Ardenne, my hometown and in Budo Club Paliseul his place where he his at home, has his own company ‘Jijuseikan,’  meaning, house of liberty and integrity.

When meeting Albert Poncelet in the sport center of La Roche-en-Ardenne he and one of his pupils wears the Hakama, skirt-like pleated pants worn by higher ranking belts. In this case brown belts. For Albert Poncelet, integrity means, being trustworthy, upright and probity. “For Jujutsu, I translate it as,  yielding to an opponent’s force rather than trying to oppose force with force, or destroy the attack without destroying the opponent. In my teachings I learn the pupils to use the power of the body in a flexible, pliable and gentle way, without harming it. Beside the technical skills, there are the ethical codes. Jujutsu is teamwork. The opponent has to be treated with respect, dignity and integrity. This is an important issue for me, the skills we learn can be used in the daily life even. In La Roche-en-Ardenne I teach this martial art already 32 years. This year pupils from 6 till 67 year old follow the courses. In Paliseul 70 people participate.”

During photographing, I had the feeling that his pupils were performing choreographic movements in a very gentle, pliable and flexible way with knowledge, benevolence, respect and joy.

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( click thumbnails to enlarge the pictures )

“In 1970, at the age of 5, my father, who was president of a Jujutsu club, introduced me in this martial art. At 16 it became a passion and I realized that I wanted to move further on. At 19 I started to teach in La Roche-en-Ardenne and then in Paliseul. Teaching became my mission. For my own progress in techniques I still follow the teachings of Kuroda Sensei, Hino Sensei and Tamaki Sensei, three worldwide recognized Japanese masters. The ‘Dojo’ that I build in Paliseul and will open beginning of September is my dream come true.”

This last words remind me of another story in another part of the world. The story of Shamsuddeen Alikkal in Salalah, Dhofar in the southern part of the Sultanate of Oman in the Arabian Peninsula. In my latest book ‘Whispers of Oman‘ I wrote his story and gave it the name ‘Dream catcher.’

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