My experience with East European countries' Aikido was scarce until recently.
For a number of years, until late 90-s, Yugoslav Aikido gravitated towards Italy as a country that hosted our Shihan, Fujimoto Sensei. Most of the seminars we attended outside of our country were in Italy. During the last ten scarcely years, for as long as the crisis and the wars lasted on former Yugoslavian soil, we became economically exausted and travelling to any western country became all but impossible. Still, in effort to continue contacts with clubs outside of our country, we made an effort to visit and attend several seminars in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary.
I first got in contact with Hungarian Aikido in seminar in Trnava, Slovakia in June 1996. At that time, seminar was also attended by a group of Hungarian Aikido practices lead by Mr. Michel Golo. Almost a year later, in April 1997, we attended the seminar in Budapest that was organized by Hungarian Aikido Federation.
Four years later, we attended yet another seminar in Budapest. Large practicing hall, unrelenting heat and at least twice as much people as the previous visit. Yet, we all agreed that the energy that one could feel around practices in that hall was tremendous!
I met master Fujita for the first time in 1995, at the EAF Congress in Bulgaria and once again in 1996 in Belgrade, for one day. His Aikido is very energetic; we hope we will have the chance to see him again and to learn more from him.
As I watched Sensei practice, I realized that it was his name, among few, that I knew about from my very beginnings in Aikido practice. Exactly in those days in 1982, I remember seeing the small 10-page Bitten that published the text "The Importance of Expanding the Training" from Fujita Sensei. The text was taken over from Italian magazine Aikido. That very text may have been the very first handbook for Aikido practice published in our language.