What is Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed in the early decades of the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (O'Sensei), and is the culmination of his years of training in various martial arts. The Aikido practitioner responds to force by taking control of the opponent's own strength and using it to throw them down or toss them aside. The Aikido practitioner takes control by not resisting or grappling, rather, grabs or strikes are intercepted and redirected through the application of harmonizing Aikido tactics. The Aikido practitioner can "wither" in the grasp of the opponent resulting in the attacker inadvertently unbalancing himself. If attacked by fist, foot, club or knife, the Aikido defender "greets" the incoming force with a spinning action, either centrifugal (spinning out like a top) or centripetal (spinning in like a whirlpool) which hijacks the attacking force and projects it away. Once the Aikido defender has "merged with the opponent's force" (an alternate translation of "Ai Ki") a painful joint lock can be applied to prevent further attacks. The more advanced the Aikido defender, the less force is actually added to the opponent's attack. Through the practice of the practical physical techniques of Aikido, the student subliminally adopts and integrates the philosophy of "the Way of Harmonious Spirit".


General Questions:

Q: How effective is Aikido as a self-defense on the street?
A: The primary techniques of Aikido form the basis of unarmed combat training for the FBI and numerous state and local law enforcement agencies. The techniques have been repeatedly tested in defensive situations as well as neutralizing and controlling unruly offenders. Numerous civilian Aikidoka have successfully defended themselves against determined assailants around the world.

Q: What is the difference between Aikido and Karate?
A: The karate defender seeks to deflect a kick or punch and then counterattack with a strong, decisive kick and/or punch. Aikido does use strikes however they are utilized as secondary techniques to mislead and distract or to incapacitate one opponent so that the Aikido defender can turn and deal with other attackers.

Q: How long does it take to get a black belt in Aikido?
A: If having a black belt is important to you, then maybe Aikido or any other traditional art is not what you want. A black belt is only a stop on "The Way" (Do), and Martial Arts is about the journey. The Way is to develop physically and mentally; to more fully integrate with one's very essence and spirit, this is the true goal b
ut to answer the question it generally takes a long time possibly 3 to 6 years for a beginner to gain a 1st degree black belt.

Q: What about tournaments and trophies?
A: Aikido is not a sport and does not have any tournaments, some Martial Arts have turn thier arts into sport which tends to make them become limited with rules of competition, O'Sensei did not want this for Aikido. Aikidoka do participate in free-style defense against multiple opponents, but in a harmonious and non-competitive way.



MORIHEI UESHIBA founded the martial art of AIKIDO and is afforded the title O'SENSEI
(O' = "Great", Sensei + "Teacher")

At various times he had been a farmer, community leader, Sergeant in the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War, martial arts instructor in both KENDO (Japanese fencing) and JU-JUTSU. Throughout his life he was an outspoken social critic. On several occasions he resigned civic positions rather than enforce rules he opposed.

In 1925, while living in a pacifistic commune, O'Sensei was inspired to refine Ju-Jutsu into a peaceful martial art, which would embody the moral ideal of not meeting force with force. Rather, O'Sensei sought methods for redirecting an opponent's strength without blocking, grappling or hitting. He began teaching the new martial art to the general public in the 1930's. In 1942, discouraged by Japan's decision to go to war, he moved to his Iwama farm/dojo and formally called his art "AIKIDO" (AI = "Harmonious" KI = "Spirit" DO = "the Way")

For the rest of his life O'Sensei dedicated himself to spreading the philosophy and practice of Aikido. His impressive demonstrations against multiple opponents, often experts of other martial arts, generated much interest in Aikido in Japan and throughout the world.


Aikido after O'Sensei

Primary leadership of traditional Aikido passed to O'Sensei's son, Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Today, O'Sensei's grandson, Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba heads the International Aikido Federation of which Shihan Isoyama is Technical Counselor.

One of the most famous practitioners of Aikido is Isoyama Shihan's student Steven Seagal, a Shihan who has introduced Aikido to the general public through his popular action movies.




The Memoir of the Master -- Morihei Ueshiba

As ai (harmony) is common with ai (love), I decided to name my unique budo Aikido, although the word "aiki" is an old one. The word which was used by the warriors in the past is fundamentally different from that of mine. Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile to world and make human beings one family. The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself. He who has gained the secret of Aikido has the universe in himself and can say, "I am the universe." I am never defeated, however fast the enemy may attack. It is not because my technique is faster than that of the enemy. It is not a question of speed. The fight is finished before it is begun. When an enemy tries to fight with me, the universe itself, he has to break the harmony of the universe. Hence at the moment he has the mind to fight with me, he is already defeated. There exists no measure of time -- fast or slow. Aikido is non-resistance. As it is non-resistant, it is always victorious.

Those who have a warped mind, a mind of discord, have been defeated from the beginning. Then, how can you straighten your warped mind, purify your heart, and be harmonized with the activities of all things in Nature? You should first make the kami's heart yours. It is a Great love, Omnipresent in all quarters and in all times of the universe. There is no discord in love. There is no enemy of love. A mind of discord, thinking of the existence of an enemy is no more consistent with the will of the kami. Those who do not agree with this cannot be in harmony with the universe. Their budo is that of destruction. It is not constructive budo. Therefore to compete in techniques, winning and losing, is not true budo. True budo knows no defeat. "Never defeated" means "never fighting." Winning means winning over the mind of discord in yourself. It is to accomplish your bestowed mission. This is not mere theory. You practice it. Then you will accept the great power of oneness with Nature. Don't look at the opponent's eyes, or your mind will be drawn into his eyes. Don't look at his sword, or you will be slain with his sword. Don't look at him, or your spirit will be distracted. True budo is the cultivation of attraction with which to draw the whole opponent to you. All I have to do is keep standing this way. Even standing with my back toward the opponent is enough. When he attacks, hitting, he will injure himself with his own intention to hit. I am one with the universe and I am nothing else. When I stand, he will be drawn to me. There is no time and space before Ueshiba of Aikido -- only the universe as it is. There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido. You are mistaken if you think that budo means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and fell them. There are neither opponents nor enemies for true budo. True budo is to be one with the universe; that is to be united with the Center of the universe. A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to fell an opponent. When anybody asks is my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say "No." My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion. I am calm however and whenever I am attacked. I have no attachment to life or death. I leave everything as it is to the kami. Be apart from attachment to life and death and have a mind which leaves everything to Him, not only when you are being attacked but also in your daily lives.

True budo is a work of love. It is a work of giving life to all beings, and not killing or struggling with each other. Love is the guardian deity of everything. Nothing can exist without it. Aikido is the realization of love. I do not make a companion of men. Whom, then, do I make a companion of? The kami. This world is not going well because people make companions of each other, saying and doing foolish things. Good and evil beings are all one united family in the world. Aikido leaves out any attachment. Aikido does not call relative affairs good or evil. Aikido keeps all beings in constant growth and development and serves for the completion of the universe. In Aikido we control the opponent's mind before we face him. That is how we draw him into ourselves. We go forward in life with this attraction of our spirit, and attempt to command a whole view of the world. We ceaselessly pray that fights do not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido. Aikido's spirit is that of loving attack and that of peaceful reconciliation. In this aim we bing and unite the opponents with the will power of love. By love we are able to purify others. Understand Aikido first as budo and then as the way of service to construct the World Family. Aikido is not for a single country or anyone in particular. Its only purpose is to perform the work of the kami. True budo is the loving protection of all beings with a spirit of reconciliation. Reconciliation means to allow the completion of everyone's mission.

True budo is the loving protection of all beings with a spirit of reconciliation. Reconciliation means to allow the completion of The "Way" means to be one with the will of the kami and practice it. If we are even slightly apart from it, it is no longer the Way. We can say that Aikido is a way to sweep away devils with the sincerity of our breath instead of a sword. That is to say, to turn the devil-minded world into the World of Spirit. This is the mission of Aikido. The devil-mind will go down in defeat and the Spirit rise up in victory. Then Aikido will bear fruit in this world. Without budo a nation goes to ruin, because budo is the life of loving protection and is the source of the activities of science. Those who seek to study Aikido should open their minds, listen to the sincerity of the kami through Aikido, and practice it. You should understand the great ablution of Aiki, practice it and improve without hindrance. Willingly begin the cultivation of your spirit. I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind. This is Aikido. This is the mission of Aikido and should be your mission.

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