Aikido club runs out of children

Aikido club runs out of children

Saito Morihiro Sensei was Patricio Marshall's aikido master and the head of iwama style aikido. Photo: Supplied.

Aikido Kapiti teacher, Patricio Marshall says the club has no kids left and can’t run junior classes.

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art and Kapiti’s aikido club practice the style iwama.

Secondary black belt and aikido teacher Marshall, who trained in Japan, said they had to stop junior classes because all the kids disappeared. “The difficulty we have is we run it on Saturday, and Saturday sports start clashing.”

He said a few of the older kids moved into the senior class and trained with the adults. “At our club the numbers training each session vary, but would be anywhere between 6 and 12 most sessions for both adult and children’s classes.”

Kapiti aikido had about 20 members and trained at the Waikanae Wrestling Gym at Waikanae Park.

“It is common for us to have a number of people that begin training but just don’t continue. For some its just not for them. For others its that they are not able to fit it in with all the other things they have going on in their life.”

The club preferred to start children at 11-12 years old, as it did not want to hurt young joints with joint locks and manipulations. “With the younger kids we tend not to do a lot of that anyway.”

Marshall said kids’ classes consisted of fun games that incorporated the basic exercises of aikido.

“When we train you want to have a balance between power and strength and fluidity being relaxed. And I think that’s the hardest thing.”

“Kids are really good at aikido because they’re naturally relaxed.”

Marshall said in iwama they practice taijutsu, meaning hand-to-hand training.

Patricio Marshall, teacher and secondary black-belt practiced in Japan as a full-time student. Photo: Supplied.

They use the weapons of bokken (a wooden sword), jō (a wooden staff), and tantō (a knife), but mainly knife disarming

He said aikido was a good art for building self-confidence. “It’s not about aggression, it’s not about fighting, it’s about learning how to control a force that’s coming at you.”

“When there’s an aggressor or a powerful force, rather than approaching it head-on and clashing, learning how to avoid, take control, move it to where you want it to go.”

Bobby Pansters, said he enjoyed mastering the techniques, but this was also the most frustrating aspect of the sport.

He also enjoyed the philosophy of aikido and being able to subdue an opponent without hurting him.

“Aikido is not a martial art that is easy to learn and children may become discouraged with their initial progress and seek something else.

“For kids there is a lot of tumbling and the fact that it isn’t size or strength which dictate how good you can be, where in some sports or martial arts size and strength have a greater advantage.”

He said the great thing about martial arts was many styles and you could always find one that suits you personally.

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Article by Rachel Moore

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