Interview: Mikael Jansson

The Taido/Blog Interview is a set of eight questions that I’ve been asking for the past few months with the idea of highlighting a variety of perspectives from students and teachers around the world.

Welcome to the third Taido/Blog interview. If it seems like I have a bias towards only interviewing Swedes, it’s only because they’ve been the ones who have returned their responses the fastest. I’m hoping that some other nations (cough, cough, Finland, cough…) can be represented here soon.

I first met Mikael Jansson, or Mickey, in Leiden around the 2006 European Championships, but we’d probably crossed paths before that. Since then, we’ve had a few chances to communicate and I’ve always been impressed by how relaxed and easy-going he is. Perhaps that’s not always the case, but he appears quite a bit happier than many of the serious “sensei-type” characters I’ve met.

We need more people like him in Taido who are capable of being serious about training yet knowing how to let go of things that don’t matter and have a good time off the tatami.

Who is this guy?

Mickey began Taido when it was quite new in Sweden, giving up Judo to try out the new fighting sport. After some years, he became a board members for Swedish Taido and in 1987 took his first tip to Japan to train Taido for five weeks. He’s returned almost every other year since. In that time, Mickey has been one of the leaders of Taido in Sweden and also founded the Taido association in the Netherlands.

He’s currently 6dan kyoshi teaching in Stockholm and has judged in numerous tournaments in Europe and Japan.

Taido/Blog Interview: Mikael Jansson

What follows are my questions and Mickey’s responses via email. Enjoy.

1. What do you love most about Taido?

There’s many things that I love about Taido. First it was the joy of movement and the creativity that I fell for. And as an instructor and leader it’s amazing to meet with former students when they’ve grown up and recall how Taido had a positive touch on their lives and personality. To be able to help people with their own personal development and growth, also to help new leaders grow, these reasons makes my day better. Taido is a great method to do this.

2. What’s one way students can take advantage of this right now?

Physical diversity, problem solving and with a creative way gives people more satisfaction in life, and a better health as well. So, continue with your Taido practice!

3. What do you feel is the biggest problem facing Taido?

There is too few people who works to spread Taido both in their own country and internationally. Those who do work to spread Taido are doing the best they can, but we need more people. And because we’re not that many, the growth isn’t as fast as it needs to be.

4. What’s one thing students can do right now to make this better?

From what I’ve seen, young people don’t take their time to experience how good they can become. They try different things and never go further than a few steps, and will never know how far they can go, both physically and mentally. Let Taido become a natural part of your day, and not just a few years in the teens. Let it be a part of your everyday life throughout your entire life and grow with it, and let Taido grow with you. Of course, the instructors have a big part of this progress, to give our students enough motivation and knowledge – that will help you through life.

5. What was one epiphany you’ve had in your training or general approach to Taido?

My first trip to Japan, and the fundamental Taido theory that I learned. JTA helped me with homestay and very good instructors in an admirably and generous way. I compared it to other sports and understood that it was something special with Taido, and the people involved.

6. What are your personal goals for the next year in Taido?

To get Stockholm’s Taido club to grow with more Taidokas, by opening more dojos and develop our organization, and continue developing our instructors. I also aim for goals as physically active, of course for my own health but also as a role model for the younger generations so they can see the positive effects of good training.

7. You began training 33 years ago. Where would you like to see Taido in 33 years from now?

That Taido is more visible in our society and that Taido is established in more countries, but to do this we need more involved people with a more modern way to organize and work in. We also need a realistic and well thought through plan to get there.

8. What message or advice do you have for Taido students?

To strive towards getting better at something the students aren’t so satisfied with, and continue this process throughout life. Not only in Taido, but also in school, at work, economy, relations and everyday life – so it become a “life rule” or a motto.

Thanks, Mickey.

I’ll have more interviews coming soon, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions for Mickey, leave them below, and I’ll make sure he sees them. Thanks!

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