Smack! Boom! Pow!

Don’t forget to ask your aikido instructor how to freeze in mid-air.

Don’t forget to ask your aikido instructor how to freeze in mid-air.

Blame it on The Matrix or John Woo or Steven Seagal. Blame it on Tekken or Doom. Blame it on the NFL or professional wrestling. Heck, blame it on Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius. The fact remains that we are steeped to the eyebrows in violent media.

The Center for Media Education estimates there are five violent acts per hour on prime-time television and 26 per hour in children’s Saturday-morning cartoons. The average American witnesses 200,000 violent incidents before he or she graduates from high school. Some experts believe juvenile violent crimes are directly linked to such media. Most agree that watching so much violence generates fear and a lack of trust in our environment. And, as anyone who’s had a Jackie Chan impression spin out of control can attest, mimicking video violence can lead to personal injuries and property damage.

So, what can we do to ease our intake of violence? Of course, we can try to become conscious about the amount of violence to which we subject ourselves. We can choose our entertainment with the same healthy criteria we choose our food: No junk.

We also can channel our violent impluses into a physical discipline like aikido. Aikido, a traditional Japanese martial art that emphasizes honor and respect over competition, can be practiced by people of any age, gender or cultural background. For two days this week, Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento is offering free aikido workshops to all interested people older than 7. The one-hour workshops begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. The lessons will be held at the Orangevale Recreation and Park District’s main gymnasium, 6826 Hazel Avenue. Call (916) 989-6023 or visit for more information.