Jeanne Alley has a black belt, and her pupils punch and kick and even learn a bit of the history of Japanese Samurai, but this is AikiPlay, not Aikido.
Alley’s pupils are four and five years old, after all, and they can’t help jitterbugging happily around the padded floor of Raincoast Martial Arts in Port Hardy.
“It’s a great opportunity for kids to know how their body works,” explained Alley, who co-owns Raincoast with her husband. She’s a former art teacher with about 15 years of training in martial arts.
At the first class of a six-week session last Monday (Sept. 21), the kids also learned the basics of how to fall down safely and how to move if someone grabbed their arm.
The course will cover body movement, awareness games, breathing, stretching and the beginnings of self-defence.
Aikido is a “purely defensive martial art,” explains the BC Aikido Federation. Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art, the modern form of which was founded in 1925 by Master Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei).
The techniques that form the basis of modern Aikido are derived from centuries-old tactics developed by Samurai warriors. But at this age, it’s above all a release for the students to run around safely and educationally.
“It’s just to get energy out,” laughed Coady Kumanta, whose son Benji, 5, is taking the course.
The course is Mondays and Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. For more information call 250-949-0627.