Students in Cecil County learning Aikido for self discipline

ELKTON, Md. - Some at risk students from a Cecil County alternative learning program are learning Aikido, a Japanese martial art, to master self discipline, and find inner peace.

It's a new program at the Cecil Alternative Program for Specialized Education Services, Inc. in Newark, Delaware, to help kids who have been suspended from their regular school.

It's aimed at helping focus their minds and improve their teamwork.

Director Lou Guertin says, "they're suspended from their regular classroom or home school so they are with us, it's still a public school."

"I realized that these kids really need a focus, they need to know how to blend in their society and learn how to work together, so I figured Aikido would be the best fit."

Mom Karen Renninger has seen a positive change in her son Brian, who is in the class.

"It helps him relax more.  The dojo he loves it, he talks about it all the time, he enjoys it."

Her son Brian agrees, "it helps me control my anger and helps me with a lot of protecting myself."
It's hoped the students will take what they're learning on the mat into their daily lives, at school or at home.

"It helps my whole day, it helps me through the week because I know I'm going to come here on Thursdays and just do my work and come here" says Cody Drain.

Another student, Brandon McCracken adds, "we come here during school of course that's the only time we can come but it's really helpful to us like we get our exercise, but it teaches us discipline."        
If the program's success continues, there are plans to offer Aikido instruction to students at High Road School of Delaware in Wilmington, and the High Road School of Perryville.

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