About Aikido

A Brief Overview of Aikido

O sensei, the founder of Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that focuses on harmony with each other & the world around us, our spirit or mana, and the way to the true nature of the world. In fact, the word "aikido" is formed of three kanji:

  • - ai - joining, unifying, harmonizing.

  • - ki - spirit, life energy.

  • - do - way, path.

Where ai and ki combined form aiki - meaning the blending and harmonizing principle used in all aikido techniques to redirect attacks. do refers to a philosophical concept known as Tao which signifies the fundamental or true nature of the world. This concept is present in other martial arts such as kendo and judo.

Ultimately, Aikido seeks to resolve disputes without unnecessary aggression. It contains a harmony and flow that transcends that which other arts contain, meaning uke and tori work together to create a technique. The energy the attacker (uke) gives to the receiver (tori), who using momentum and turning movements, blends with uke's attack and takes uke's balance. This means tori re-directs the force of the attack, rather than meeting it head-on. This usually involves uke being thrown, or neutralised using wrist and joint locks. Very little effort is involved in good aikido technique; anybody could throw anybody, irrespective of what size they are!

Aikido is not only about throwing people about the room. It instils a sense of harmony with the world, and generates clear thinking through the settling of one's emotive state. It is a peaceful art, where the aim is not to destroy or injure the attacker, but to work with them to find a resolution. The founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba said "To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace".

Morihei Ueshiba; referred to as Osensei, (born 14/12/1883 - 26/04/1969) formed aikido as a combination of all the martial arts he studied, however the core art that aikido was derived from is Daito-ryu Aiki-jujitsu which he is known to have studied under Takeda Sokaku. This form of jujitsu requires more utemi or strikes to the body, weapons training and uses a more linear form to technique than aikido.

Osensei's art began to change once he became under the influence of Onisaburo Deguchi, a leader of the Omoto-kyo religion in Japan. He realised that killing or injuring someone was not the true way of the warrior, and that; "To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real way of a warrior is to prevent such slaughter - it is the art of peace, the power of love". Osensei founded his first dojo in 1927, and it still stands today as the Aikikai Hombu dojo in Tokyo.