Aikido Club celebrates 40 years

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Aikido Club celebrates 40 years

Kelly Wynne, Features Editor

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The Glen Ellyn Aikido Club, one of College of DuPage’s longest standing groups, is celebrating 40 years of bringing harmony to COD’s campus.

When the club began in the early 1970s, meetings were held on campus as an extracurricular activity. After all campus groups posing a liability based on dangerous activity were banned, the club merged into the physical education department.

The Glen Ellyn Aikido Club now resides in COD’s Aikido I and II classes and continues to bring a peaceful version of self-defense to its core members, as well as assorted students semester to semester.

Aikido is different from traditional martial arts in the way it teaches self-defense. Club member Paul Simpson explains the idea of the art is to channel any negative energy into positive energy.

“It is self-defense and a martial art, but it isn’t an attacking art,” Simpson said. “There are no attacking moves. It’s taking energy from your attacker and bringing no harm to yourself or to them.”

Simpson believes the art is hard to comprehend, due to the modern era’s stress on violent defense.

“It’s easy in our culture to grasp block and strike. You see it in movies and it’s taught from a young age, but the whole idea of harmonizing with the attacker and bringing it to a safe place is different,” said Simpson.

COD student Matt Levins has been a part of the club for the past year. He has experimented with different types of martial arts throughout his life, but he has found aikido to be a more graceful and peaceful practice.

“I love aikido because it’s a gentle martial art,” Levins said. “I can go home and do other stuff instead of being exhausted. It helps me mentally, physically and emotionally. You come practice and leave all trouble off of the mat.”

Students are encouraged to take the classes and practice as their schedule allows. Levins believes the club offers a learning experience that one may not expect from a martial art.

“One of my teachers once said something like ‘Aikido is more like a philosophy class exercised through physical movement,’” said Levins. “You learn so much and don’t realize it because most of the art is not measurable like knowledge. It’s not how many pushups or punches you can do. It’s more subtle.”

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Simpson believes students of any major would take away something from the class, even if they just enroll for a semester.

“Any student would benefit even If they weren’t going to stay with it for life,” Simpson said. “It’s a way to experience that there is a whole other option to dealing with conflict.”

Both men believe that the club has lasted so long on campus because of the dedication of the core group. Although students come and go semester after semester, there is a foundation that never ceases.

Levins believes that the club’s 40-year milestone symbolizes what aikido is all about.

“Aikido really goes for the concept of family and community,” Levins said. “If you are a part of [an aikido group], you are part of the community all over the world.”
Students can enroll in Aikido I and II through MyAccess. To learn more about the club visit their website at sites.google.com/site/glenellynaikidoclub/home, or search the Glen Ellyn Aikido Club on Facebook.

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