Teacher achieves black belt

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

Cromwell Col­lege English teacher Jas­mine Cuth­bert was not a sporty kid, and cou­pled with a back in­jury, her jour­ney to achiev­ing a mar­tial art black belt has made her proud.

The 41-year-old was one of sev­eral stu­dents of the Aikido Shin­ryukan Alexan­dra Dojo who com­pleted grad­ing re­cently. Aikido is a non-ag­gres­sive, self­de­fence fo­cused mar­tial art that comes from Ja­pan.

‘‘It has been a long haul. I had three years off be­cause I her­ni­ated a disc in my back ski­ing with the Year 9 and 10s in Cardrona ... It was quite se­vere. At the start of last year I came back. I took it slowly and gen­tly and tried to learn to be even more re­laxed. It is as much a men­tal thing as phys­i­cal. You can be­come scared of re-in­jur­ing your­self but you take it easy and we train with great peo­ple.’’

‘‘I did it in about five years all up. For me it’s quite an achieve­ment con­sid­er­ing I was never par­tic­u­larly good at sporty.’’

Cuth­bert said her sen­sei, who was a science teacher at Cromwell Col­lege, kept ask­ing her when she was go­ing to have a go at it.

‘‘In the be­gin­ning, be­ing com­mit­ted was a re­ally big chal­lenge for it. I train three days a week. It is a re­ally big com­mit­ment but once you de­cide you like some­thing it is easy.

‘‘I never did sports as a kid so I pos­si­bly didn’t pick it up as fast as the oth­ers. I de­cided I re­ally en­joyed it for lots of rea­sons. The brain gym has been re­ally in­ter­est­ing to me...us­ing your non­dom­i­nant side, learn­ing to use both sides of your body. It is fan­tas­tic for co-or­di­na­tion, re­lax­ation and flex­i­bil­ity.’’

For peo­ple in­ter­ested in tak­ing up the sport train­ing times are Tues­days and Thurs­days, kid’s classes 6pm to 7pm, adults 7pm to 8pm, and Sunday morn­ings 8.30am to 9.30am. The dojo is lo­cated at 217 Manuherikia Road.

Jas­min Cuth­bert, who com­pleted her Aikido black­belt, throws Gi­raldo Luna from the Dunedin Dojo dur­ing her grad­ing.

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