Aaron McConnell Sensei performs a move on Barry Eastwood Sensei. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Aikido Nelson throws demonstration


Around 100 people gathered to watch Aikido Nelson show off their stuff at the Church Steps on Sunday as part of the club’s 30th anniversary.

Starting with their juniors, the demonstration progressed through to teenagers, adult students and sensei, who all took turns pretending to attack a senior club member.

The afternoon ended with a sensational show of talent from visiting Sensei Aaron McConnell, who is a 5th degree black belt.

The club was co-founded 30 years ago by Cornelia Baumgartner and Martin Hartman. Nelson Aikido instructor Callum Cockerell says the demonstration was aimed at encouraging more people to “give it a go”.

“You don’t have to have any experience at all and we take kids as young as five.”

Children start with a yellow belt and then progress through to different coloured tips to give them a sense of achievement. “Once they hit about thirteen, a lot want to jump right into adult training, so they go back to a white belt,” Callum says.

Gemma Percy, 10, has been practising the art for about a year and loves it.

“I enjoy meeting new people and learning new things,” she says. “It’s good self-defence, too.”

Lochlan Cockerell, 10, got into it because “his dad does it”. “I like it because it’s a lot more hands-in than karate. You get to get right in there”.

His brother Ethan, 8, is also part of the club.

The club has many other events planned for the year.