What is Aikido
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed in the 1920’s by Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, which evolved from the older forms of Jujutsu. It is a discipline that focuses on development of the body and the mind, and trains one to move in harmony with oneself and others. Literally, Aikido translates as “the way of the spirit of harmony”.
Aikido, in addition to being an effective form of self-defense is also a means of personal development and conflict resolution. It’s the hope that all students endeavor to become well rounded students, embracing the training both on and off the mat.
Despite its many perceived forms, aikido is a Budo or martial arts. It is the refinement of the techniques that are being taught in traditional martial arts and is combined with a philosophy that calls on for the power of the spirit. In its essence, it is a blending of the body and the mind. Its philosophy is basically derived from the belief that deceptions and trickery or brute force will not make us defeat our opponents. Instead, concentration that involves the spirit will be enough to strengthen us. Aikido is also used as a way to discover our true paths so that we can develop our individuality. It also teaches its practitioners to unify their body and their mind so that they will become in harmony with the “universe” and with nature. Their power and their strength will come from this balance and harmony.
Philosophy and Principles
Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art that can be practiced by men and women of all ages and physical conditions. Instead of meeting force with force, or an attack with a counter attack, in Aikido we train to redirect the attacker’s power, using it to unbalance and disrupt the attacker, rendering further attack impossible. Aikido techniques generally culminate in a throw or an immobilization of the attacker, which neutralize the attack without knowingly causing harm to
In Aikido, we train in both the role of the attacker (“uke”) as well as the defender (“nage” or “tori”), so a variety of skills are developed. In addition, training in both these roles gives great insight into the execution and effectiveness of the techniques. In training one should earnestly seek to develop both roles, and provide one’s partner with appropriate challenge. Aikido training is largely “kata” training (a predetermined series of movement). In order for growth to occur, practice requires cooperation and appropriate challenge. The purpose of this training is to allow the body and mind to understand the principles and essence of the techniques and with repetition
over time, learn how to respond in an appropriate manner without thought. With solid training in basic movement and kata, one will become able to respond freely in all situations
Aikido History, the Founder and the Ueshiba Family
Aikido was created by the Founder, Ueshiba Morihei O-Sensei (1883-1969), early in the 1900’s.
O-Sensei trained in jujutsu, sword and spear arts in his youth, and developed himself physically.
He also pursued spiritual matters, and, in a moment of enlightenment, had the insight that beating another was not the ultimate goal of one’s development. From that time he strived to create a more harmonious world, within himself, with others, and with the universe. This was the creation of what we know today as Aikido. O-Sensei passed away on April 26, 1969, and he was posthumously declared a Sacred National Treasure of Japan by the Japanese government.
O-Sensei’s son, Ueshiba Kissomaru, succeeded him as the leader of Aikido, assuming the role of Doshu (Leader of the Way). Ueshiba Kisshomaru Doshu was responsible for the spread of Aikido throughout the world, and for systemizing curriculum and training. During his lifetime he received both the Medal with Blue Ribbon of Honor and the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Japanese government. Kisshomaru Doshu oversaw the world of Aikido until his death in 1999,after which he posthumously received the Court Rank of the Fifth Grade, and at which time his son, Ueshiba Moriteru, assumed the role of Doshu.
Ueshiba Moriteru Doshu currently is the world leader of all Aikikai-style Aikido, which has spread to over 95 countries and touched thousands and thousands of lives. He currently serves as the head of Hombu Dojo and as the Chairman of the Aikikai Public Interest Incorporated Foundation. In 2013 he received the Medal with Blue Ribbon of Honor from the Emperor of Japan.
It is thought that Ueshiba Moriteru Doshu’s son, Ueshiba Mitsuteru Sensei (known as “Waka Sensei”, or “Young Teacher”), will follow in his father’s footsteps as Doshu in the future. He currently instructs regularly at Hombu Dojo and at seminar both in Japan and abroad.
The Art of Peace begins with you
The Aikikai Foundation incorporated in 1940, and in 2011 was registered as the Aikikai Public Interest Incorporated Foundation. It was established in order to preserve and promote the ideals of O-Sensei’s Aikido, and is now represented by people in 95 countries throughout the world.
The Aikikai Foundation is the parent organization for the development and popularization of Aikido throughout the world, and has the following activities:
・Establishment of Aikido schools, the publication of books about Aikido and Aikido newspapers (Japanese and English).
・Establishment of branch Dojo, dispatching of leaders to domestic and foreign regions and Dojo management.
・Organization of Aikido public exhibitions and workshops.
・Other activities related to the dissemination of Aikido in General.
Issuing rank and certificates legitimized by Doshu.
Hombu Dojo, also known as Aikido World Headquarters, located in Wakamatsu-cho, Tokyo, Japan, is the headquarters dojo of the Aikikai Foundation. The dojo was established by O-Sensei in 1931. Originally named Kobukan Dojo, the name was changed to Hombu Dojo (Headquarters Dojo) in the 1940’s. In 1967 the original wooden structure was renovated and a more modern concrete building was constructed. In 1973 the building was once again renovated, and two additional floors were added to the building, expanding the training areas.