We continue our column “Smarter, cooler, stronger”. Today we want to tell you about a fragile and at the same time incredibly strong girl who is engaged in the modern Japanese martial art of aikido. Our Executive MBA student Yana Kalmykova has a black belt in martial aikido! 

For Yana, aikido is not just a sport but a whole philosophy. And it all started 10 years ago with training in aikido-style negotiation. At that time, Yana already had considerable experience in full-contact martial arts for more than 8 years. It was not difficult for her to beat any rival, but there was a feeling that there was not enough development, she wanted something more. It was at the aikido-style negotiation training that Yana decided to try herself in this sport and the very next day she attended the first lesson.

There are several principles in aikido. You are only competing with yourself and you need to control yourself during any attacks. Yana follows the principles of aikido not only within the tatami but also in life. Aikido philosophy helped her to cultivate an inner core, despite the external softness, Yana is still a tough nut to crack.

Yana's advice for beginners in aikido - no need to be afraid, try it because aikido is more than a sport, it is a whole world of new colors and impressions, a set of rules and patterns that people carry into their daily life.

We would like to note that Yana does not stop there. Now she is actively preparing for certification to receive the instructor belt, and we keep our fingers crossed for her. 

We would like to end the story with Yana's favorite quote that every person has a spirit that needs to be improved, a body that needs to be trained, and a path that needs to be traveled.