Aikido is used to combat violence

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Children as young as nine are being taught how to stop hitting their teachers -by a black belt martial arts expert and his shihan, or master teacher.

Jon Clement, 37, is fully booked after offering Aikido as a cure for violent behaviour in both primary and secondary schools. His most challenging pupil is a nine-year-old from south Wales, one of the youngest children in the UK to have an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO).

Mr Clement uses breathing and counting techniques from the non-competitive Japanese martial art to help pupils curb their violent tempers. He uses the same methods to raise the self-esteem of bullied, overweight and introvert pupils. He now hopes to extend his work to teachers who want to know how far they can defend themselves when they come under attack from pupils.

Mr Clement, a former salesman, set up his business Expression Through Aikido in January 2005. He said: "I believe I am the first person in the UK to offer Aikido as a solution to behavioural problems.

"In the 1950s boxing was used to help pupils release their aggression.

However, Aikido is non-combative and uses breathing techniques to create inner calm and peace of mind."

Eighth dan Gwynne Jones from Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, will help Mr Clement run the one-day course for teachers. The pair have been working with pupils at Swansea's Waun Wen primary school.

Head Trui Williams said: "We have found that challenging pupils who have been learning Aikido are more likely now to sit down and discuss things."

Latest figures reveal there were 699 exclusions for violent assaults on teachers in Wales during 2003-4 - up 185 on the previous year.

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