Black belt awarded to Birkenhead college student

Jarrod Moreton, 17 year old Birkenhead College student

Jarrod Moreton, 17 year old Birkenhead College student

Jarrod Moreton is one of New Zealand’s youngest black belts in Shorinji Kempo. Under the guidance of Branch Master Darren Louie, seventeen year old Birkenhead College student Jarrod recently sat his black belt grading and successfully passed.

To achieve this accomplishment Jarrod had to pass both written essays on philosophy and a physical exam which included testing of techniques, an embu, or paired combat using a set routine and randori (or sparring). For Jarrod to get to black belt he has passed 6 previous gradings.

Jarrod has been training consistently for the last five years at the North Shore branch. He started because he wanted to learn self defense. He chose Shorinji Kempo because the structure of training is supportive and people starting are well looked after. Jarrod says “You do not have to use power or strength to practice in Shorinji Kempo and the technical aspect of the technique is very interesting. Shorinji kempo is not only a way to learn to defend yourself, but the philosophy behind it has helped me to gain a better character that has been beneficial to me throughout my teenage years”

Through learning Shorinji Kempo students such as Jarrod have done demonstrations at Japan Day and other events which helps them gain self confidence. As Shorinji Kempo is a not for profit organisation there is no monetary compensation for instructors or assistants and black belts take on strong leadership roles. Darren Louie, Branch Master, believes it is very important for both men and women to be able to defend themselves. “These days we are living in a more dangerous society and the incidents involving violence is growing rapidly. It is very important to understand how to defend yourself. The aim of Shorinji Kempo is to stop fighting and create a harmonious society. Therefore we learn to defend first and attack second.” Darren adds, “If all New Zealanders could follow this type of philosophy then our community would be a safer place.”

Shorinji Kempo is a modern martial art based on unarmed combat methods, and has been practiced in New Zealand for thirty years. Shorinji Kempo is comprised of three systems: Hard Techniques like kicking and punching; Soft Techniques like wrist throws and escapes; and Shiatsu (acupressure) for improved body health. At basic levels, students spend most of their time learning fighting skills, but as they advance, they are introduced to more sophisticated elements of this marital art.

Jarrod also enjoys the camaraderie of the club. He says, “We all come from a range of backgrounds within ages from about 7 to 63 years. With the Branch Master and his wife 5th Dan and 4rd Dan black belts respectively, we also have a good mix of men and women at senior levels which makes for a lot of fun and good balanced training. My younger sister Jaymee now has her brown belt and she is enjoying the training as well”. Darren Louie is very proud of the additional black belt who is an excellent example of future Shorinji Kempo leaders.

The main goal of Shorinji Kempo is to develop a well balanced human being with the self discipline to look after themselves and be productive to society as a whole.

Shorinji Kempo is a martial art that is possible for anybody to learn. Shorinji Kempo welcomes you to come and try this martial art. Training nights are Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30pm – 8:30pm and there are children’s classes (from age 7) on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at Birkdale Intermediate School, 200 Birkdale Road, Birkdale. For further information please contact Darren Louie, Branch Master on 021868272 or email him on darrenandrachel@xtra.co.nz.

Jarrod with Branch Master Darren Louie (left) and Assistant Coach Stephen Reid (right)

Jarrod with Branch Master Darren Louie (left) and Assistant Coach Stephen Reid (right)