Aikido Good For Your Health

Aikido classes at Raincoast Martial Arts in Port Hardy are good for your health

Inside the glass windows of the Raincoast Martial Arts dojo at 7210 Market Street in Port Hardy, a lesson in

leverage, torque, and body mechanics is about to take place. It’s Thursday, 6:45 P.M., and the adult Aikido

class is lined up on the mats, ready to commence training. Aikido, a Japanese self defence martial art

developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs, uses

flowing, circular movement to defend against the force of an attacker while turning their energy back upon

themselves. “Aikido is very much the easy way. It’s been found to be the easiest path,” said instructor Andrew

Hory, who has been training in the martial art for around 21 years now. “Martial arts give you a sense of

personal responsibility for everything, and I think Aikido is specifically a key thing that does that.” Jeanne Alley,

the other instructor who teaches at the dojo, wholeheartedly agreed, adding that from a women’s perspective,

Aikido is empowering because “you only need the ability to life 15 pds to be able to do it. It’s about learning to

move from your centre. You put your body in the right place, and you learn to own your space without

demanding.” Hory and Alley own and operate Raincoast Martial Arts, and they started off the adult class by

having everyone line up and bow to a picture of Ueshiba. The class then went into a brief set of warmups that

included stretches, forward and backward rolls, and japanese style punches. Then it was time for drilling

techniques.  Aikido techniques consist of entering and turning movements that redirect the momentum of an

opponent’s attack. The first technique shown by Hory was  a twisting joint lock into a takedown combination,

where the attacker’s wrist is rotated with so much torque they have no choice but to lay down flat on the

ground. Once on the ground, the attacker has nowhere to go and must concede defeat or his arm will be

broken. This is called a ‘pin’.The second technique taught was a variation on a standard head and arm throw,

where the attacker’s head is pushed down while their arm is extended up to the ceiling, creating so much

pressure that it flips the attacker head over heels onto their back. The third technique shown was a throw where

the attacker grabs onto the wrist with both hands, only to be tossed forward if they don’t let go. The class

officially ended with another bow to the picture of Ueshiba. Students hung out afterwards for some open mat

time where Hory answered any and all questions about the techniques and the philosophy behind Aikido as a

self defence martial art. “The actual practice of Aikido is enjoyable to me,” said Hory. “it’s very interesting and

stimulating. The metaphors behind the techniques apply to every element of my life. If I’m struggling with trying

to achieve a result, I know I am more powerful if I go with the flowing moment to achieve that result.” Hory then

added that Aikido is great for everyone of all ages because it’s “good to move our physical bodies. We live in a

very static age and it’s getting more so, so I think doing the opposite of that is healthy. I think anything that gets

us off the couch is really good.”Adult classes are every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:45 p.m.

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