PORT HARDY—After months of renovations and hard work, Sensei Andrew Hory has completed work on a dojo in Port Hardy and Raincoast Aikikai has opened its doors to students.
The custom-purposed facility, next to the bowling alley and Greyhound bus depot on Hastings Street, includes training dummies and change facilities, but it is the padded floor that will see the majority of the action as students learn the arts of Aikido and Modern Arnis from an expert.
With experience in various forms of Karate, Wing Chun and White Crane Kung Fu in addition to his Arnis and Aikido expertise, Hory draws on an extensive martial arts background. “I started training in martial arts 30 or so years ago when I was 11,” said Hory. “I started training in Aikido in 1994 and beginning in 1996 was a direct student of Kawahara Sensei (Shihan) until his death in 2011.” Currently, Hory is ranked as nidan in the art.
Aikido — the way of spiritual harmony — is a Japanese martial art that uses the redirection of attacks against an aggressor, focussing on throws, locks and holds rather than on strikes. Practitioners use joint manipulation to unbalance an opponent and redirect the attack to a safe conclusion.
The principles can be used to overcome size and strength disadvantages, and seek to control rather than directly harm an aggressor.
The dojo’s website describes Modern Arnis by saying, “This Filipino martial art involves the use of weapons, primarily the cane, although the techniques can be transferred to empty-hand use. This is an effective martial that is particularly suited for those wanting to learn an art but may have a physical limitation of one kind or another, as practice is done primarily standing while working with a partner.”
“Although Aikido and Modern Arnis have a lot in common and are both weapons-based arts, I would recommend them differently depending on interests and physical capability,” said Hory. “In Aikido one partner is always being pinned or thrown, as such it is a bit more physical. It is also taught in a more formal manner.
“In Modern Arnis, although there are also throws and pins, most of the practice is done facing a partner with either sticks or empty hands. Modern Arnis comes from the blade arts of the Philippines along with some influence from Japanese arts such as karate and jujutsu… I personally do not really see them as separate arts even though they are taught differently and use different weapons — they embody the same principles and many of the same techniques. To me, Arnis is a natural extension of Aikido and vice versa.”
Aikido classes are Tuesday and Thursday with kids’ classes starting at 4:30 p.m. and adult classes at 6:30 p.m. Arnis classes are Monday and Friday, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Beginners are welcome and anyone can try or watch a class free of charge; wear a keiko go or loose clothing if you’d like to take part.
For more information call 250-949-0627, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Raincoast Martial Arts page on Facebook.