Durham Tech club teaches self-defense and communication

Kalif Ruebin learns one of 17 techniques of self-defense during Aikido practice

Kalif Ruebin learns one of 17 self-defense techniques during Aikido practice

When the Basic Law Enforcement Training program at Durham Tech no longer needed its large exercise mats, Erik Townsend had an idea.

Townsend, the college’s VoIP and email administrator, used the opportunity to build the Durham Tech Aikido Club from the mat up. Townsend established the club in March 2016 as head instructor and now uses the mats every Monday and Wednesday to teach the Japanese martial art of Aikido in the Newton building.

Using self-defense techniques, Aikido makes a connection between mind and body that transitions into the classroom and helps students focus, Townsend said.

“It allows students to work with another person and learn how to communicate better with others,” Townsend said. “They have to communicate and understand that someone is learning a technique they’ve never done before.”

The club currently has six members, consisting of students, faculty, and staff and teaches 17 techniques of self-defense. In addition to self-confidence, the Aikido club enhances students’ educational experience, Townsend said.

“It teaches people physics of the body,” Townsend said. “You’re moving someone’s body and keeping them off balance.”

DeMario White, the club’s president, worked alongside Townsend to start the club at Durham Tech and was thrilled when it was officially established.

“My reaction was definitely heartfelt,” White said. “It was a proud sense of accomplishment as one of the club’s founders and president. I am grateful to have been able to offer a means of self-defense and exercise to Durham Tech.”

Under the umbrella of Tomiki Aikido of the Americas, the Durham Tech Aikido Club teaches self-defense, flexibility and exercise all while improving interpersonal skills like communication.

“My involvement in the club has provided a remarkable opportunity to build upon self-growth as I train with a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff,” White said.

The Durham Tech Aikido Club also provides opportunities for students to visit other parts of country, as members have attended multiple seminars and tournaments in Ohio, Baltimore and UNC of Chapel Hill.

Those interested in joining the club may contact Erik Townsend at 919-536-7261 x6108 or townsende@durhamtech.edu.

Aikido club members washing the mats donated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training program

Aikido club members wash mats donated by the Basic Law Enforcement Training program