Teacher achieves black belt
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.