Teens Leadership Team: The Fun In AikidoMar 18, 2019
By: Diego Perrudin
Aikido has been one of the best learning experiences.
At first I was just looking for a sport to do because I had too much energy and my mom recommended martial arts. She looked up different martial arts and found that Aikido would be a great choice. We checked around us and we found Aikido Kenkyukai Hollywood. We came to look and meet Lia Suzuki Sensei. She explained the basics and it seemed to be a great match!
The first time I came into Aikido class I was given a uniform called a dogi and a wooden sword called a bokto. I was quite surprised and a little bit nervous when we got on the mat. I was with my sister and it was so shocking it made us laugh. After being calmed down, we were more focused. I learned how to do rolls and different techniques. But most of the time I didn’t really know what I was doing or saying because it was in Japanese.
What surprised me the most was that everyone helped set up and clean up the dojo. At first I didn’t like cleaning up because I thought it was like doing chores but when I realized it is the tradition in Japan I understood that it will be part of the Aikido practice. And now I have no problem in cleaning up or setting up.
I personally really enjoyed it on my first night. Everything was great. The next morning my body said otherwise but I knew that this was for my own good and that the pain was going to go away the more I practiced.
Later, I was starting to get better at my ukemi (receiving a throw). It was getting challenging because of the new techniques I had to learn. I was feeling less pain day by day and it was so much more fun. I was having so much fun I would lose track of time and it would feel like I was at the dojo for only a minute. That was when I felt the urge to do more Aikido than before.
I started coming on the weekends and trying to train harder than before. When I went to my first seminar I felt the same feelings as I felt the first day of my training,except this time I was way more excited. The seminar was tiring but at the end I felt proud of myself for doing it.
Everything was going good, I had no more pain, I was getting better and I was having fun, which was the most important thing. But my sister had to stop going to Aikido because of some medical issues and it suddenly got really boring. I didn’t want to do Aikido anymore.
I told my mom but she encouraged me to continue and said it was good for my mind and my body. She said it was better than staying home and playing on my computer, but I disagreed. I kept training. To the point where I enjoyed it again and wanted to do more.
I trained and trained and trained until one day, Sensei asked me if I wanted to join the Teens Leadership Team program. Of course I said yes! When I went home, I was thinking to myself, this is going to boost my training through the roof.
I was still nervous as I was faced with another problem: The kids class.
The first time I went to the kids class I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t really know the names of the techniques so I would just stare at something until someone told me what to do.
I started getting better at the kids class and I was getting less nervous around them. But I would still occasionally mess up. I started leading the kids class and once again I didn’t know what I was doing. But I realized the warm ups are kind of like the teens and tweens warm ups and the techniques are the same.
Being a Teens Leadership Team member helped me be a good example to the kids and it showed me how to take care of them. It granted me with self esteem, courage and confidence. My mom was really proud of me. I was also really proud of myself.
I am really happy that Suzuki Sensei has enough confidence and trust in me, to the point that she let me lead both kids classes and some adult classes.
All in all, being a Teens Leadership Team member has changed my life for the better as I am now more respectful to everyday people. Everyday I look forward to train harder than the day before while having fun. Having a part in the children’s classes has taught me how to be a good teacher and role model. It has also taught me how to take better care of children.