“I was born with a disability. I don’t have part of my leg because of a malformation below the knee. It’s like an amputation. So growing up, my parents would always push me to challenge myself. They wanted me to live an active life. If I wanted something, I had to go pick it up myself. And then when I was 12, my mom enrolled me in karate class. That’s how I got started in Japanese martial arts, which helped me with my studies by bringing me focus. Years later, what started as an extracurricular activity, became my ‘ikigai’ or lifelong pursuit. Working for Brazil’s foreign service, I’ve been able to cultivate relationships with people from all over the world through aikido. So martial arts not only empowered me physically, mentally, and spiritually, but also enabled me to make friends. I encourage everyone to try it since it did wonders for me. I reached my potential through martial arts. That’s why I teach as well. I have a student who has autism and I’m seeing some improvements in his listening skills, balance, focus and control. I believe it’s beneficial, not only to individuals, but also to society as well.”

*You can find our Brazilian interloper at the aikido dojo here: http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/index.html

Showing his artificial leg

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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