Darko Vucetic Sensei (5th Dan) has been practising and teaching aikido for over 35 years. During this time, interspersed with visits to Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, he has trained with some of the greatest practitioners of the art – most notably Kenji Shimizu and Yoji Fujimoto – has opened his own schools in Beograd and Johannesburg, and has attended and conducted numerous seminars in Europe, South Africa and the United States.
Darko has visited Hombu Dojo in Tokyo three times, starting with a month-long trip in 1975, and culminating in a six-week stay in 1983 during which he trained at Hombu in the mornings and at Shimizu Sensei’s Tendoryu school in the afternoons. It was on his return to Serbia (then Yugoslavia) following this trip that Darko opened his first school.
Two years later, after attending his first seminar with Fujimoto Sensei (now Fujimoto Shihan, 7th Dan), Darko started all over again, joining the Aikikai foundation, training from scratch for a year to be re-graded shodan by Fujimoto, and attending every Fujimoto seminar he could for the next five years.
Darko left the former Yugoslavia to live in South Africa in 1992, setting up the Johannesburg School of Aikido in 1993 and the Hartbeespoort School of Aikido in 2005.
He was graded 2nd Dan by Mat Holland Sensei, 3rd Dan by the late Giorgio Veneri Sensei, and 4th Dan by Fujimoto Sensei in Johannesburg in 2002.
In 2006 – not having missed a single Aikido Federation of South Africa (Afsa) training camp in 13 years – Darko broke away from Afsa to establish the South African Aikido Association.
Darko was promoted to 5th Dan by Fujimoto Shihan during a training seminar in Beograd on 6 March 2010.