By Spencer McBride, The Guard –
Both Danny Ervin and Stephane Cronier have been training in Yoshinkan Aikido for over twenty years, and have mastered the techniques of the martial art, and the teaching of it. Each holding a San Dan (third degree black belt), they operate the Uplands Akido Koshinkan Dojo at the Uplands Military Community Centre. There they have the opportunity to celebrate many milestones of achievement, with the most recent being the promotion of Daniel Morin and Sweet Melody Tisbe to Ni Kyu rank (second level brown belt). Each of the students worked for four years to attain their new ranks, an achievement requiring both knowledge of techniques and dedication to practice.
Aikido, unlike many other martial arts, does not focus on tournaments or a competitive spirit. “Aikido exemplifies the true essence of a martial art,” says Danny Ervin. “It is not about fighting, but about culturing self-awareness and self-confidence to resolve a conflict before it escalates, and to maintain the Budo spirit and honour.” Aikido uses inner energy and poise, and its techniques make it universal. Anyone can use it effectively, whether large, small, young or old, because it is not about using strength to overpower opponents, but using technique, timing and balance to defend oneself even from multiple attackers, and to diffuse conflict.
Especially important to Aikidokas is learning a good solid stance, or Kamae, and developing the basic moves, or Kihon Dosa. Once these are mastered, students engage in Kihon Waza, the use of the basic moves in practical techniques. For the three levels of brown belt, including the Ni Kyu rank achieved by Daniel Morin and Sweet Melody Tisbe, students are trained in each of these elements, and assessed on their ability to make each of the techniques more flowing, blended, and balanced.
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