By Hannah Lynch, Riai Aikido Wellington
When I was little (about 5 years old) I would always pester my dad (Henry Lynch, Riai Aikido) and say I really wanted to do Aikido. Then finally one day my Dad took me seriously and he decided that he would start a children’s class from age 7 upwards. I was so excited I asked some of my friends if they would like to start Aikido and they said yes, and most of them are still coming today. There are about 20 of us in the children’s class. My friends and I are now all around 11 years of age.
Instead of having belts in the childrens’ class we have badges. There are 29 badges in total which are split into techniques, rolls, taisabaki and `the spirit of Aikido`. The badges are again divided by years that you have been going to Aikido.
We sew the badges onto the left side of the sleeve of our Gi. You can also get a badge for helping put out the mats and explaining the Aikido symbol and philosophy.
The badge test used to be every two weeks but then it was decided that the children were not having enough time to learn them properly, so Hans & Dad moved the badge test out to the last class of the school term where ”you are allowed to be tested for 2 badges.
Nick, Jules and I have now been doing Aikido for around four years and my Dad, Hans, Lyn, Judith & Bobby (the teachers in the childrens’ class) decided that we could start attending the adults’ class for half an hour to help us towards our Adult 6 Kyu Yellow belts. The adults class is straight after the childrens’ class.
I was so excited and nervous about going into an adults’ class and getting my 6 Kyu Yellow belt. Then the day came for my grading and at the end of the grading all my hard work had paid off and I got my Yellow Belt and so did Nick and Jules. What a relief!!!!