Danielle and Meggie Aiko have more than judo and a love of kata in common; they are mother and daughter and on the first day of the Kata World Championships Abu Dhabi 2023, they obtained a very honourable finalist place in ju-no-kata. Kata often offers the opportunity to meet pairs whose family ties are added to those of the sport. There are thus eight pairs of twins present in the Emirati capital. Danielle and Meggie Aiko are not twins, although one might sometimes believe so as their responses and comments come together.

"The advantage is that we know each other perfectly. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We have great chemistry between us. It's a definite advantage, even if it can also be a disadvantage sometimes,” they explain, before Danelle adds, "For example, yesterday Meggie wasn't feeling very well. I knew it and I just wanted to comfort her like a mother, but we also had to compete." The bond that unites them therefore pushes them to protect each other.

Danielle started practising kata a long time ago and for Meggie Aiko, things came naturally along the way, "Mum has participated in international competitions from the beginning. I think the first time was in Malta in 2008. I was 5 years old and I saw her doing it. So it was only natural that I gravitated toward kata as well, even though my sport was originally gymnastics. When I really started kata, I already knew them, having seen them so much."

At fifteen, Meggie Aiko passed her black belt and since 2018, in Cancun, Mexico, she has participated five times in the world championships as a pair with Danielle. Living in the north of Montreal, Canada, they practise in their judo club but not only, "In fact it's one of the other advantages of being mother-daughter. We can practise kata at home too and it's not uncommon for this to happen, down a hallway or in the dining room. We're having fun, it's a lot of fun. It allows us to be really synchronised," explains Danielle.

Synchronised, they are, "We have a very strong bond. We live together, we study kata together, we go to the gym together. When it comes to judo and kata, it's two of us doing it but whatever happens, there always remains this bond of kinship that guides us."

At the beginning Danielle was still tori and Meggie Aiko, uke but three months ago they decided to switch roles, "I felt ready to become tori. I had grown up, I had the strength and the challenge was exciting. Either way, we know the role perfectly for both."

Canada arrived in Abu Dhabi with a great team and the two judoka can extend this family spirit that they appreciate so much, “We have a great atmosphere within the team and also with the other delegations as well. In Canada, we are from different provinces, so we don't necessarily train together, but when we arrive at the competition venue, we are immediately united. We encourage and support each other. There is no competition between us. The only one that is worth it is the one with ourselves."

The ju-no-kata seems to fit perfectly with the aesthetic image worn by Meggie Aiko and her mother, "It's a beautiful kata, very artistic and aesthetic. It's all a question of control and precision but it is also a question of realism. Everything lies in the details. The kata, we do it together, it is our two bodies which must come into harmony. For this we must have total trust in each other and we must accept the errors of others, as if we had made them ourselves."

It is undoubtedly in this ability to accept others as they are that the magic of the relationship between a mother and her child lies. Behind the beautiful kata that they offered us yesterday, we discovered these values which transcend the simple practice of the art of judo.

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