Professor shares aikido techniques

By Melissa Rohman

University Ministry recently sponsored Pause week, which consisted of meditation, prayer, daily mass and relaxation and mindfulness seminars. The week, from Feb. 23 to Feb. 27, concluded with a 30 minute aikido seminar.

Dominican students, faculty and staff attended the seminar led by Professor Dianne Costanzo, sensei and owner of Tokushinkan Dojo, One Point Center Aikido in Oak Park. Costanzo describes her dojo as “the place of your own learning, of your own enlightenment.”

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that developed in the 1920s.  It differs in technique and style as compared to other martial arts such as karate, kung fu, jujitsu and tai-kwon-do.  The martial art of aikido consists of fluid movements and sequences which one can use to defend themself by bringing energy and harmony to any situation they are in.

To begin the seminar, Costanzo read from O’Sensei’s doka, or the book of poetic sayings and truths. “To injure another person is to injure yourself,” concluded Costanzo after the reading. Costanzo demonstrates an arm movement with sophomore Raunel Urquiza and Mary Paige Bausch. Photo courtesy Melissa Rohman

With Costanzo’s instruction, all seminar attendees practiced a simple, yet powerful move used in aikido.  Overwhelmed with humble laughter, the seminar attendees quickly learned what it takes to do aikido effectively.

Costanzo said, “To do aikido is putting your mind, spirit and body together.”

Costanzo ended the seminar with her own words of wisdom which she wants everyone who encounters aikido to take with them in the martial art itself and into life: “aikido is a model that can life us up. In aikido, everybody is a winner because we’re doing something to change the texture of the world.  How do we do that? We change the texture of ourselves.”

Costanzo was taught by Shihan Fumio Toyoda, the founder of the Aikido Association of America, and has practicing for over 25 years. She said, “The point of aikido is to be able to defend yourself without inflicting harm on another.”

The martial of aikido requires discipline and an emphasis on respect, not on competition.  As Constanzo emphasizes for all aikidoka, or students of aikido, “the trophy is you and your own enlightenment.”