Aikido

(Unifying or attuning-energy-method or way)

Aikido is a Japanese martial art derived from the classical combat systems of the feudal era samurai.  Many of these Japanese bujutsu (warrior arts), some dating back to the ninth century, were further developed in the early 1900’s, by one of the world’s greatest martial artist, Morhei Ueshiba  (1883-1969), known as the founder of Aikido.

Aikido contains the best elements of the ancient warrior arts, both esoteric and exoteric, plus many other unique techniques and principles of its own.  On a physical level, it is an effective method for efficiently defending against any form or type of attack, in addition, it is well known for the ability to balance, strengthen, and fully integrate the mind, body and spirit of the advanced practitioner.

Aikido employs circular and pivoting movements involving the whole body, similar to those found in Kenjutsu (sword fencing), rather then limited, linear, stationary movements, involving only the arms or legs.  This allows Aikido practitioners to “fit in” or blend with an opposing force, transcending differences in size, strength, and number of attackers.  The focus of Aikido is not on direct collision, sparring, scoring points or brute force, but rather using the opponent’s own energy, momentum, and aggression to gain control of them, while remaining in control of oneself.  Aikido students learn not to waste energy by using strength against a larger, more powerful or armed opponent, but instead to rely on the dynamics of motion and natural forces such as centrifical and centrifugal.

The art, originally called Ueshiba Taijutsu or Aikibudo, was not developed for competition, but as a highly sophisticated and refined method of defense against attacks, by larger, stronger, individuals, multiple attackers, and armed opponents, situations that Master Ueshiba had encountered and survived during his lifetime.

After witnessing the devastation of WWII, Ueshiba, always a deeply spiritual man, emphasized the moral and ethical aspects of this art, placing great weight on self improvement, and personal responsibility, while learning dangerous combat techniques.  The art was later renamed Aikido.  

Today, basic Aikido techniques and concepts make up the majority of police defensive tactics training in the U.S.  In Asia, Aikido is used almost exclusively by riot control squads.  Even though the name Aikido is well known in the martial arts, it has become an umbrella term, representing the many styles and ideologies of “modern masters” and large organizations, taking the traditional system further and further away from the source.  Sadly, the additions of “New Age Philosophy” and “watered down techniques”, has been detrimental rather than beneficial to Master Ueshiba’s original intent and life long efforts.