Aikido Vs Rugby
It’s been 24 years since the All Blacks’ World Cup victory and Kiwis are still obsessed with tackles and scrums.
But, it’s the dynamic flowing style of Riai Aikido, which is celebrating 30 years of camps in New Zealand next month.
A non-aggressive Japanese martial art Aikido means way of harmony.
You blend with your attacker to redirect force rather than confronting it head-on. The art requires little physical strength. Its movements help improve flexibility, balance and co-ordination and the beauty is it’s open to everyone.
Riai Aikido Learning Centre teacher Danny McIntyre said despite their distinct differences there were similarities between Aikido and rugby.
“The way we prepare. They (the All Blacks) are always going to the next level just like in aikido. We should always be evaluating where we are at and how we can improve.”
There was obviously a leadership aspect. “Just watch how the new boys are supported by the old guys,” he said.
It’s not just about physical fitness. “It keeps me fit that’s for sure,” said Mr. McIntyre, but it gave him a certain mental satisfaction.
“I imagine myself under stress in the dojo (training hall) and I know that I can deal with whatever is in front of me. It’s about transferring those stresses to work, family and my business.”
Head of Riai Aikido Henry Lynch agrees that Aikido gives you fitness, self-defense and positive energy.
“If you could photocopy another Henry that hadn’t done aikido I am sure they would have been a different person.”
It is the collaborative approach to issues and problems in society, which makes the art unique. People had to live life in a consultative, co-operative and collaborative way, said Mr. Lynch.
“Aikido needs more aikido lawyers, more aikido doctors, more aikido nurses and more aikido mechanics.”
When asked how to describe aikido, Mr. McIntyre said: “It depends on who I am talking to and what life experiences they’ve had.”
Mr. Lynch said about 10,000 New Zealanders were doing Aikido and he urged more people to try it out.
“There is nothing more powerful than students teaching others and seeing them participate in their own success.”
University of Canterbury Journalism School