Black belts

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - SPORT -

Karate is for ev­ery­body, Jackie Aitken says. Ten years of learn­ing have paid off for Jackie and her son Ge­orge; last month they re­ceived their black belts, af­ter eight weeks of in­ten­sive train­ing.

The cer­e­mony in­cluded a speech, be­fore they were tested on ‘‘com­bi­na­tions’’ which re­quired them to learn a se­quence of moves on-the-spot, se­quences which they had pre­pared be­fore­hand, self­de­fence moves and spars.

‘‘It’s meant to be a chal­lenge, but they’re not there to hurt you. It’s meant to chal­lenge you and make sure you don’t quit, and try your hard­est,’’ Jackie says.

They learn seido karate with kyoshi Eric Hughes, of Blenheim.

Pa­trick Cado­gan and Mike Neal from Marl­bor­ough re­ceived their black belts at the same time.

Alisa Locke and Graham Had­don were Jackie’s part­ners for the part­ner stage of the event, and they have re­ceived a lot of sup­port from ev­ery­body in the club, they say.

Jackie and Ge­orge be­gan learn­ing karate when Ge­orge was 7. He looked up to an older cousin who was learn­ing it, he says.

‘‘Then Mum de­cided it looked cool.’’

Jackie, who teaches science part-time at Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege says it is good to have a sport she can do with her son.

‘‘If he was play­ing rugby, I can’t imag­ine my­self in the rugby team,’’ she says.

One of the things Jackie likes about karate is that it is ‘‘holis­tic’’ and pro­vides ex­er­cise for the mind as well as the body.

Remembering dif­fer­ent katas, or ex­er­cises, takes some brain­power, she says.

‘‘And there’s some­thing spir­i­tual about it for me.’’

Zazen, or quiet time, is a part of train­ing she par­tic­u­larly en­joys.

‘‘If you have a fam­ily it’s quite of­ten hard to have a bit of quiet time.’’

Apart from be­ing able to share an in­ter­est with his mum out­side the house, what Ge­orge en­joys about the sport is the way it takes him away from his school rou­tine.

He is in year 13 this year and wants to study medicine.

The train­ing they had to put in lead­ing up to be­com­ing black belts was fairly gru­elling, do­ing five sets of twenty push ups, si­tups and burpees and 1000 kicks as a warm-up.

Jackie stresses that karate is based around ef­fort.

‘‘It’s just car­ry­ing on and do­ing your best.’’

Both of them in­tend to con­tinue learn­ing karate: the next step af­ter black belt is to be­come a sec­ond-level dan.


Karate black belts Jackie and Ge­orge Aitken.

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