Massey’s Yoshinkan Aikido club, which is one of only a few in New Zealand, is looking for new members to take up the rare practice.
Aikido is a non-competitive Japanese martial art, like judo but with less body contact.
Club member Anynda Yuris has been practicing Yoshinkan Aikido for about seven years.
“There’s different kinds of Aikido,” explains Yuris. “Yoshinkan is at the harder end of the spectrum.”
“It’s what they teach to the riot police in Japan, it’s very effective and practical.”
Yoshinkan is about self-defence and it takes a lot of time and practice to master.
“We tend to get a lot of students interested at the start of the year, then they come and get on the mat and they go, oh nah it’s painful, it’s difficult and they give it up.”
About 10 members regularly train in the Massey Manawatu club, which has been running for four year.
Yuris is finishing up the last few months of a PhD in Food Technology. However, she plans to stick around in Palmerston North and keep the club going.
“In Yoshinkan there’s an explanation for everything. All your energy is focused at one point,” says Yuris.
“You can apply the techniques to everyday life, to things like opening a jar, by focusing all your energy to the centre of your body… It’s about learning to be disciplined, going to practice when you don’t want to go.
“I’d encourage people to come along, you have to try it to find out what it’s like.”