MEMBERS of the Sarsfields under 16 squad stepped into the unknown when they welcomed Aikido 5th dan Martin Acton sensei, to their clubrooms.
For the next number of weeks they will be taught the disciplines and dynamics of the Japanese martial art.
The idea was introduced by the management of the Sarsfields juvenile team who had been keen to teach their players how to avoid injuries when falling, particularly on hard pitches.
While it would take a long period to become successful in all aspects of Aikido a spokesperson for the Sarsfields under16s believes that a lot can be learned from Martin Acton.
He explained: “Modernly the GAA has embraced other sports and learned new tactics from them. The art of Aikido teaches the youngsters self discipline, it is non aggressive, increases self confidence and improves balance and coordination.
“We had been concerned about the amount of injuries which young players had been picking up, particularly in the summer months.
“Modern pitches are particularly well drained so players need to be aware how to roll and in particular how to fall without risking injury.”
The Aikido 5th dan, who will be teaching the young Derrytrasna players, has a dojo in Church Street, Dromore.
He began his Akido studies in Japan with master Iwao Tamura in 1998. He also ran his own dojos in Yokohama where he taught a wide range of international and Japanese students.
Master Acton also taught the riot police in various cities in Japan and when in America held seminars on security for the casino industry in Nevada.
Martin said: “Gaelic football is new to me but it looks like a pretty tough sport. Although Sikido is non aggressive skilled practioners can easily react appropiatlely and can control many challenging situations.
“I hope I can bring something new to the young Sarsfields players over the coming weeks.”
Martin Acton sensei is also trained in all aspects of Ki massage which can relieve stress and muscle tension and recovers flexibility in the arms and legs.
His sessions will continue at the Sarsfields club on Friday nights at 7pm.
And while initially the project is based around the clubs under 16 squad, following a pilot scheme the concept may also be open to other club members