What is Aikido?
Aikido, or “The Way of Spiritual Harmony,” is a Japanese martial art which focuses on blending with and then redirecting an attacker’s momentum to one’s advantage.
An Aikido student, or Aikidoka, learns how to avoid and take over, or lead an attacking movement and then apply a take down or throw, often finishing with a joint lock.
Most Aikido schools emphasize understanding the concept of "vital energy" as part of learning not only the physical techniques of Aikido, but also towards the development of a good character.
History of Aikido
Aikido was created in the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba, often called Osensei (“great teacher”) by Aikidoka.
Ueshiba was influenced by many Jujitsu styles as well as Kenjutsu (Way of the Sword). He was also greatly influenced by a sect of Japanese Shinto religion, Omoto Kyo, which advocated living in harmony with all of life towards enlightenment.
The various schools of modern Aikido reflect these influences to varying degrees. Open handed throwing and take downs followed by joint locks, training with weapons such as the spear, staff and bayonet, and a strong ethical code that the good of all be fostered through training in Aikido, all reflect these influences.
The various schools or styles of Aikido that are practiced today also reflect Ueshiba’s own personal growth as he developed his art from the 1920s through to the 1960s. Different students studying with him through these years further developed differing styles of Aikido and include:
• Yoseikan (Minoru Mochizuki - 1931)
• Yoshinkan (Gozo Shioda - 1955)
• Shodokan (Kenji Tomiki - 1967)
Following Ueshiba’s passing in 1967, other Aikido styles came into existence. Some of the more recent styles are:
• Ki Society
• Iwama Ryu
• Aikido Yushinkai
Philosophy of Aikido
“The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe.”
(Source: Morihei Ueshiba)
Aikido as Self-Defense
A well-practiced student of Aikido is able to read dangerous situations well and effectively evade and nullify attacks while subduing an attacker. Although not emphasized by most practitioners, Combat Aikido does exist and can be an effective form of self-defense
Aikido for Kids
Mostly practiced by adults, some Aikido schools do have children’s and/or family programs. It is best to check with the individual school.
Aikido for Adults
Adults searching for spiritual growth coupled with physical exercise are often attracted to Aikido. One can enjoy a light physical workout or a more demanding workout, depending on the individual Aikido school. In general, the older styles involve more punishing falls.
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