The CRI Club Sport of the month for February is Aikido, so I interviewed one of the members, Damien Coleman, about the sport. This is what he had to say about Aikido:
1. What is a tradition your team has?
One tradition that the Aikido Club has is that at the end of the semester all of the members of the club gather at our instructor’s house for a social/ gathering where we relax, eat food, watch old instructional aikido videos and test them out on the person nearby. But more so, this is the time where our instructor gives those who are graduating that semester a gift. A Yagyu Ryu Bokken, the same type of Bokken (wooden sword) that the founder of Aikido practiced with.
2. What is your favorite thing about playing Club Sports at Georgia Southern?
I would have to say that the best part about playing club sports at GSU is that each semester, you always find more people who want to play and practice with you, and the college itself provides a vast source of new practitioners, players and competitors.
3. How often do you practice? What is your typical practice like?
I personally practice on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, between 1 to 2 hours each time. Our Tuesday and Thursday practices usually consist of 20 minutes of wrist exercises, conditioning exercises, and basic movement drills, called tai sabaki. The remainder of the first hour is basic partner practice, where we focus on 3 or 4 attacks and responses. The second hour usually consists of more advanced technique practices involving 2 or 3 person group attack and response scenarios or doing drills that help us learn central concepts the instructor wants us to learn. Saturday practices are student run. So whichever of the senior students that arrives first usually is the one that decides what is practiced.
4. How often to you have games/competitions/sporting activities?
We have seminars where other practitioners of Aikido can come and practice with us. We usually have them once a semester, around the end of the semester. Now, we are on the verge of having them at least 2 times a semester.
5. What is it like to travel around and play different schools?
We don’t travel to other schools to compete, but what we have started doing is traveling to other dojos and Aikido clubs to practice. I must say, those instances when you walk into a room and 80% of the individuals there are black belts are nerve-wrecking at first, but then they become exciting, fun and educational. Something is always learned when a member goes to another dojo, and that is the cool part about it.
6. What is your best memory about Club Sports?
My best memory about club sports is when we had the Club Sports Banquet and they started the slideshow of all the Club Sports. It started showing pictures of the Aikido Club, and I was so happy that we had our pictures up there!
7. When did you start participating in Aikido?
I started practicing Aikido in the fall of 2009, straight out of high school, during the first week of classes.
8. What if someone is interested in playing your sport? How can they find out more information? Are there tryouts?
If someone is interested in practicing Aikido, the CRI Club Sports webpage will provide them with information on who to contact. There are “tryouts,” but they are actually beginner sessions. They are held the first 4 weeks of each semester. These are the only times in which we allow new members to join. During these practices, the interested individuals practice with the current members and learn some of the fundamental techniques that will be required to continue in practicing Aikido safely in the club.
9.When was your club established at Georgia Southern?
The Georgia Southern University Aikido Club was established in August of 2005. The GSU Aikido Club is also Nationally Recognized by the United States Aikido Federation (USAF).
10. Does your team have any achievements the team is especially proud of?
Our proudest achievement to date would have to be the Kennedy Shihan Seminar we recently had at the RAC on February 16, 2013. Kennedy Shihan is on the Board of Directors for the USAF, and he was the instructor for our seminar. So much work went into that seminar, and things turned out amazingly. When you hear someone of that caliber tell everyone at the end of an eight hour Aikido practice that they loved practicing with all of us and that they would definitely do another one with us next year or so, that’s when you can say that we succeeded in our mission. Everyone who assisted in it should be proud of that very moment.