Aikido club kicks it up a notch

The aikido club practices their moves. Photo courtesy of Kevin Dougherty.

By Maddie Gee | Reporter

Aikido is a style of martial arts being practiced and perfected right here at Baylor through the instruction of Sensei Garrett Wise.

Aikido is composed of three Japanese words: Ai, meaning harmony, ki, meaning spirit or energy and do, meaning the path. Aikido is different from other martial arts in that practitioners seek to defend themselves without causing injury to their attackers, according to Midwest Aikido Center.

“There is a lot of self-defense; a lot of the stuff that we teach is useful outside of just the ability to throw someone,” Wise said. “The only time that I have used aikido outside of the dojo (a room in which judo and other martial arts are practiced) is falling. We teach falling skills. I crashed my bike in the rain once, and I was able to do a fall out of that. I got up and walked away. I really think that it is important because aikido is such a comprehensive thing. It is useful outside of martial arts.”

According to the Aikido Orlando Dojo, along with the benefits Sensei Wise mentioned, “regular training of aikido gradually builds endurance and strength, emphasizes proper breathing, balance and posture and gradually leads to less antagonistic attitude toward any conflicts, emotional or physical.”

Aikido at Baylor is available for all students.

“I discovered the club first at Late Night when I was a freshman,” Houston sophomore Trang Nguyen said. “I went online to research about clubs here at Baylor, and this one really caught my attention. I thought that the senseis were really nice and interesting (they are really funny), so I was intrigued.”

Though Nguyen has only been involved with the organization for two semesters, she said her involvement in the club has definitely made an impact in her life.

“I learned self-confidence, believing in what you do and not being afraid. The first techniques I learned there were really hard, and I was really afraid, such as the rolling,” Nguyen said. “The first day I went there I could not even do a roll because I was so scared of going over my head but the teachers were really encouraging, and it pushed me to be more comfortable with my body and believe that I could do it. After a couple of weeks, I was able to roll non-stop.”

The aikido club did more than teach Nguyen new moves and build her self-confidence — she found a safe space where she felt comfortable.

“I feel that the aikido club is important to Baylor because first it promotes self-defense. It raised my self-confidence by joining the club, and it is a great way to meet new people. It is just really fun. You get to experiment a lot with what you want to do and really test yourself,” Nguyen said.

According to Nguyen, Aikido has tons of moves and techniques including rolling, stretching and sparring. Sparring is when all of the students are fighting against one person, and they practice the new moves that they learned that day.

Nguyen said they are definitely looking for new members and are looking for others to experience aikido for themselves. The aikido club has weekly training sessions. The next session is Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Mars McLean Gym, room 317.