WHY NOT TRY: Get on the mat for an aikido session

Follow David on Twitter: @bigkamo
Follow David on Twitter: @bigkamo Photo Banannaanna

MY dad has two black belts in aikido. Although, this sounds like some fanciful story thrown around the schoolyard, it's actually the truth. He's reached third degree, or third dan, for his most recent black belt. 'Third Dan Bren-dan,' is the joke.

He'd come home from a training session in a sweaty state of excitement. "Hey Dave, grab my wrist," he'd urge me. "Go on, don't be a wuss." I always knew this would end with me with my arm in an uncomfortable position as Third Dan Brendan panted proudly as he showed me his latest manoeuvre. Oh, how I yearned for the 'pull my finger' days.

You won't ever see aikido as an Olympic sport. The reason, as I had it explained to me, is that the art channels the aggressor's energy and mirrors it back at them. It's not a competitive advantage to be on the offensive. A friend, and former-hot-headed-young man, said this is what appeals to him about aikido. "It's all about harmony and getting along with others," he told me. "If there is conflict you are prepared for it, but you don't instigate it. There's more focus on what works rather than what scores points."

I'm a bit scared to get on the mat. I've heard stories. Bad stories. When I was living in Japan I worked with an aikido enthusiast. He told me that his master would make him roll on the reed mats until there was blood slowly seeping through his thick cotton outfit.

But I must try. I must impress the instructor with my tenacity. The legwork is more involved than in a ballroom dancing lesson. The rolls are fun, but I'm told not to put so much weight on my shoulder. Then the instructor asks me to grab his wrist. I do so with less hesitation than when asked by Third Dan Brendan. Before I know it, I'm on my back with my wrist painfully locked behind me. The instructor knows he's within millimetres of serious damage. I see a cheeky smile appear through the tears in my eyes. Aikido. I love it.

Topics:  martial arts why not try

Axemen start season with bang in 9s

The Hoey Moey Tooheys Coffs Coast 9s final at Geoff King Motors Park was played between Group 2 rivals the Coffs Harbour Comets and the Orara Valley Axemen who won 12-10. Nines rugby league 17 February 2018 Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate

Promised improvement more than just empty words after Coffs Coast 9s

REVEALED: Rental numbers rise at the start of the year

RENTAL RISE: The number of residential rentals available in Coffs Harbour rose marginally since the end of 2017.

Coffs records marginal rise in number of rentals

Local Partners