Club Sport Spotlight – Aikido Club

Since 1997, the Aikido Club at OU has been practicing the traditional martial art Aikido. Originating in Japan, Aikido was developed in the late 1920’s by Morihei Ueshiba and was implemented by the samurai. The soft Aiki art focuses on using the opponent’s energy against themselves to defeat them.

There are nine levels one must obtain before reaching a black belt level.

“A first degree black belt is just enough to begin proper exploration of the martial art,” says Jose Navarro, a student and longtime member of the club. “I like to think of your first black belt as your high school degree, your second black belt would be your bachelors degree.”

Aikido mainly uses joint locks, throws, submissions and controls to overthrow the opponent. Using proper time, energy, and leverage, participants are able to overcome attacks from their opponent of varying shapes and sizes.

“Instead of meeting force against force directly, we either redirect the force, blend with it, or go with it,” Navarro says. “Somehow we utilize our opponents force against them.”

The group’s Sensei and founder, Deric Wilkins, has been training in martial arts for 30 years, holds significant ranks in Daito Ryu and Iaito, and is an internationally certified instructor.

“[Aikido] is easier on the body and allows you to train further into old age,” he says.

Sensei Wilkins is working on opening a new local Dojo, a place for formal training in the Japanese martial arts, to complement the practices at OU.

The club practices Monday and Wednesday 7:00-9:00pm and Saturdays 11:00am-1pm in the Activity Center at the Rec.  For more information you can e-mail Sensei Deric Wilkins at

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