Aikido

Aikido (Japanese: 合気道 Hepburn: aikidō) [aikiꜜdoː] is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.[1][2] Aikido is often translated as "the way of unifying (with) life energy"[3] or as "the way of harmonious spirit".[4]

Aikido
Shihonage
A version of the "four-direction throw" (shihōnage) with standing attacker and seated defender.
FocusGrappling and softness
Country of originJapanJapan
CreatorMorihei Ueshiba
Famous practitionersKisshomaru Ueshiba, Moriteru Ueshiba, Christian Tissier, Morihiro Saito, Koichi Tohei, Yoshimitsu Yamada, Gozo Shioda, Mitsugi Saotome, Steven Seagal
Ancestor artsDaitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu
Mitsuteru Ueshiba at the 55th All Japan Aikido Demonstration held at the Nippon Budokan (May 2017)

Aikido's techniques include: irimi (entering), and tenkan (turning) movements (that redirect the opponent's attack momentum), various types of throws and joint locks.[5]

Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the Ōmoto-kyō religion. Ueshiba's early students' documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu.[6]

Ueshiba's senior students have different approaches to aikido, depending partly on when they studied with him. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques formulated by Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.

Etymology and basic philosophy

合氣道
"Aikidō" written with "ki" in its old character form

The word "aikido" is formed of three kanji:

  •  – ai – joining, unifying, combining, fitting
  •  – ki – spirit, energy, mood, morale
  •  –  – way, path

The term aiki does not readily appear in the Japanese language outside the scope of budō. This has led to many possible interpretations of the word. is mainly used in compounds to mean 'combine, unite, join together, meet', examples being 合同 (combined/united), 合成 (composition), 結合 (unite/combine/join together), 連合 (union/alliance/association), 統合 (combine/unify), and 合意 (mutual agreement). There is an idea of reciprocity, 知り合う (to get to know one another), 話し合い (talk/discussion/negotiation), and 待ち合わせる (meet by appointment).

is often used to describe a feeling, as in X気がする ('I feel X', as in terms of thinking but with less cognitive reasoning), and 気持ち (feeling/sensation); it is used to mean energy or force, as in 電気 (electricity) and 磁気 (magnetism); it can also refer to qualities or aspects of people or things, as in 気質 (spirit/trait/temperament).

The term is also found in martial arts such as judo and kendo, and in various non-martial arts, such as Japanese calligraphy (shodō), flower arranging (kadō) and tea ceremony (chadō or sadō).

Therefore, from a purely literal interpretation, aikido is the "Way of combining forces" or "Way of unifying energy", in which the term aiki refers to the martial arts principle or tactic of blending with an attacker's movements for the purpose of controlling their actions with minimal effort.[7] One applies aiki by understanding the rhythm and intent of the attacker to find the optimal position and timing to apply a counter-technique.

History

Morihei Ueshiba 1939
Ueshiba in Tokyo in 1939

Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, 14 December 1883 – 26 April 1969), referred to by some aikido practitioners as Ōsensei (Great Teacher).[8] The term aikido was coined in the twentieth century.[9] Ueshiba envisioned aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but as an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation. During Ueshiba's lifetime and continuing today, aikido has evolved from the aiki that Ueshiba studied into a variety of expressions by martial artists throughout the world.[5]

Initial development

Takeda Sokaku
Takeda Sōkaku

Ueshiba developed aikido primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of the older martial arts that he had studied.[10] The core martial art from which aikido derives is Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu, which Ueshiba studied directly with Takeda Sōkaku, the reviver of that art. Additionally, Ueshiba is known to have studied Tenjin Shin'yō-ryū with Tozawa Tokusaburō in Tokyo in 1901, Gotōha Yagyū Shingan-ryū under Nakai Masakatsu in Sakai from 1903 to 1908, and judo with Kiyoichi Takagi (高木 喜代市 Takagi Kiyoichi, 1894–1972) in Tanabe in 1911.[11]

The art of Daitō-ryū is the primary technical influence on aikido. Along with empty-handed throwing and joint-locking techniques, Ueshiba incorporated training movements with weapons, such as those for the spear (yari), short staff (), and perhaps the bayonet (銃剣 jūken). However, aikido derives much of its technical structure from the art of swordsmanship (kenjutsu).[4][12]

Ueshiba moved to Hokkaidō in 1912, and began studying under Takeda Sokaku in 1915. His official association with Daitō-ryū continued until 1937.[10] However, during the latter part of that period, Ueshiba had already begun to distance himself from Takeda and the Daitō-ryū. At that time Ueshiba was referring to his martial art as "Aiki Budō". It is unclear exactly when Ueshiba began using the name "aikido", but it became the official name of the art in 1942 when the Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society (Dai Nippon Butoku Kai) was engaged in a government sponsored reorganization and centralization of Japanese martial arts.[5]

Religious influences

Onisaburo Deguchi 2
Onisaburo Deguchi

After Ueshiba left Hokkaidō in 1919, he met and was profoundly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi, the spiritual leader of the Ōmoto-kyō religion (a neo-Shinto movement) in Ayabe.[13] One of the primary features of Ōmoto-kyō is its emphasis on the attainment of utopia during one's life. This was a great influence on Ueshiba's martial arts philosophy of extending love and compassion especially to those who seek to harm others. Aikido demonstrates this philosophy in its emphasis on mastering martial arts so that one may receive an attack and harmlessly redirect it. In an ideal resolution, not only is the receiver unharmed, but so is the attacker.[14]

In addition to the effect on his spiritual growth, the connection with Deguchi gave Ueshiba entry to elite political and military circles as a martial artist. As a result of this exposure, he was able to attract not only financial backing but also gifted students. Several of these students would found their own styles of aikido.[15]

International dissemination

Aikido was first brought to the rest of the world in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki with a visit to France where he introduced aikido techniques to judo students.[16] He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952, who came as the official Aikikai Hombu representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation of various martial arts through 15 continental states of the United States in 1953.[15][17] Later that year, Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai Hombu to Hawaii for a full year, where he set up several dojo. This trip was followed by several further visits and is considered the formal introduction of aikido to the United States. The United Kingdom followed in 1955; Italy in 1964 by Hiroshi Tada; and Germany in 1965 by Katsuaki Asai. Designated "Official Delegate for Europe and Africa" by Morihei Ueshiba, Masamichi Noro arrived in France in September 1961. Seiichi Sugano was appointed to introduce aikido to Australia in 1965. Today there are aikido dojo throughout the world.

Proliferation of independent organizations

The largest aikido organization is the Aikikai Foundation, which remains under the control of the Ueshiba family. However, aikido has many styles, mostly formed by Morihei Ueshiba's major students.[15]

The earliest independent styles to emerge were Yoseikan Aikido, begun by Minoru Mochizuki in 1931,[16] Yoshinkan Aikido, founded by Gozo Shioda in 1955,[18] and Shodokan Aikido, founded by Kenji Tomiki in 1967.[19] The emergence of these styles pre-dated Ueshiba's death and did not cause any major upheavals when they were formalized. Shodokan Aikido, however, was controversial, since it introduced a unique rule-based competition that some felt was contrary to the spirit of aikido.[15]

After Ueshiba's death in 1969, two more major styles emerged. Significant controversy arose with the departure of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo's chief instructor Koichi Tohei, in 1974. Tohei left as a result of a disagreement with the son of the founder, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who at that time headed the Aikikai Foundation. The disagreement was over the proper role of ki development in regular aikido training. After Tohei left, he formed his own style, called Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, and the organization that governs it, the Ki Society (Ki no Kenkyūkai).[20]

A final major style evolved from Ueshiba's retirement in Iwama, Ibaraki and the teaching methodology of long term student Morihiro Saito. It is unofficially referred to as the "Iwama style", and at one point a number of its followers formed a loose network of schools they called Iwama Ryu. Although Iwama style practitioners remained part of the Aikikai until Saito's death in 2002, followers of Saito subsequently split into two groups. One remained with the Aikikai and the other formed the independent Shinshin Aikishuren Kai in 2004 around Saito's son Hitohiro Saito.

Today, the major styles of aikido are each run by a separate governing organization, have their own headquarters (本部道場 honbu dōjō) in Japan, and have an international breadth.[15]

Ki

Ki obsolete
This was the kanji for ki until 1946, when it was changed to .

The study of ki is an important component of aikido, and its study defies categorization as either "physical" or "mental" training, as it encompasses both. The kanji for ki normally is written as . It was written as until the writing reforms after World War II, and this older form still is seen on occasion.

The character for ki is used in everyday Japanese terms, such as "health" (元気 genki), or "shyness" (内気 uchiki). Ki has many meanings, including "ambience", "mind", "mood", and "intention", however, in traditional martial arts it is often used to refer to "life energy". Gōzō Shioda's Yoshinkan Aikido, considered one of the "hard styles", largely follows Ueshiba's teachings from before World War II, and surmises that the secret to ki lies in timing and the application of the whole body's strength to a single point.[21] In later years, Ueshiba's application of ki in aikido took on a softer, more gentle feel. This was his Takemusu Aiki and many of his later students teach about ki from this perspective. Koichi Tohei's Ki Society centers almost exclusively around the study of the empirical (albeit subjective) experience of ki with students ranked separately in aikido techniques and ki development.[22]

Training

In aikido, as in virtually all Japanese martial arts, there are both physical and mental aspects of training. The physical training in aikido is diverse, covering both general physical fitness and conditioning, as well as specific techniques.[23] Because a substantial portion of any aikido curriculum consists of throws, beginners learn how to safely fall or roll.[23] The specific techniques for attack include both strikes and grabs; the techniques for defense consist of throws and pins. After basic techniques are learned, students study freestyle defense against multiple opponents, and techniques with weapons.

Fitness

Aïkido-shihoo nage
Ukemi (受け身) is very important for safe practice

Physical training goals pursued in conjunction with aikido include controlled relaxation, correct movement of joints such as hips and shoulders, flexibility, and endurance, with less emphasis on strength training. In aikido, pushing or extending movements are much more common than pulling or contracting movements. This distinction can be applied to general fitness goals for the aikido practitioner.[4]

In aikido, specific muscles or muscle groups are not isolated and worked to improve tone, mass, or power. Aikido-related training emphasizes the use of coordinated whole-body movement and balance similar to yoga or pilates. For example, many dojos begin each class with warm-up exercises (準備体操 junbi taisō), which may include stretching and ukemi (break falls).[24]

Roles of uke and tori

Aikido training is based primarily on two partners practicing pre-arranged forms (kata) rather than freestyle practice. The basic pattern is for the receiver of the technique (uke) to initiate an attack against the person who applies the technique—the 取り tori, or shite 仕手 (depending on aikido style), also referred to as 投げ nage (when applying a throwing technique), who neutralises this attack with an aikido technique.[25]

Both halves of the technique, that of uke and that of tori, are considered essential to aikido training.[25] Both are studying aikido principles of blending and adaptation. Tori learns to blend with and control attacking energy, while uke learns to become calm and flexible in the disadvantageous, off-balance positions in which tori places them. This "receiving" of the technique is called ukemi.[25] Uke continuously seeks to regain balance and cover vulnerabilities (e.g., an exposed side), while tori uses position and timing to keep uke off-balance and vulnerable. In more advanced training, uke will sometimes apply reversal techniques (返し技 kaeshi-waza) to regain balance and pin or throw tori.

Ukemi (受身) refers to the act of receiving a technique. Good ukemi involves attention to the technique, the partner and the immediate environment—it is an active rather than a passive receiving of aikido. The fall itself is part of aikido, and is a way for the practitioner to receive, safely, what would otherwise be a devastating strike or throw.

Initial attacks

Aikido techniques are usually a defense against an attack, so students must learn to deliver various types of attacks to be able to practice aikido with a partner. Although attacks are not studied as thoroughly as in striking-based arts, sincere attacks (a strong strike or an immobilizing grab) are needed to study correct and effective application of technique.[4]

Many of the strikes (打ち uchi) of aikido resemble cuts from a sword or other grasped object, which indicate its origins in techniques intended for armed combat.[4] Other techniques, which explicitly appear to be punches (tsuki), are practiced as thrusts with a knife or sword. Kicks are generally reserved for upper-level variations; reasons cited include that falls from kicks are especially dangerous, and that kicks (high kicks in particular) were uncommon during the types of combat prevalent in feudal Japan. Some basic strikes include:

  • Front-of-the-head strike (正面打ち shōmen'uchi) a vertical knifehand strike to the head. In training, this is usually directed at the forehead or the crown for safety, but more dangerous versions of this attack target the bridge of the nose and the maxillary sinus.
  • Side-of-the-head strike (横面打ち yokomen'uchi) a diagonal knifehand strike to the side of the head or neck.
  • Chest thrust (胸突き mune-tsuki) a punch to the torso. Specific targets include the chest, abdomen, and solar plexus. Same as "middle-level thrust" (中段突き chūdan-tsuki), and "direct thrust" (直突き choku-tsuki).
  • Face thrust (顔面突き ganmen-tsuki) a punch to the face. Same as "upper-level thrust" (上段突き jōdan-tsuki).

Beginners in particular often practice techniques from grabs, both because they are safer and because it is easier to feel the energy and lines of force of a hold than a strike. Some grabs are historically derived from being held while trying to draw a weapon; a technique could then be used to free oneself and immobilize or strike the attacker who is grabbing the defender.[4] The following are examples of some basic grabs:

  • Single-hand grab (片手取り katate-dori) one hand grabs one wrist.
  • Both-hands grab (諸手取り morote-dori) both hands grab one wrist. Same as "single hand double-handed grab" (片手両手取り katateryōte-dori)
  • Both-hands grab (両手取り ryōte-dori) both hands grab both wrists. Same as "double single-handed grab" (両片手取り ryōkatate-dori).
  • Shoulder grab (肩取り kata-dori) a shoulder grab. "Both-shoulders-grab" is ryōkata-dori (両肩取り). It is sometimes combined with an overhead strike as Shoulder grab face strike (肩取り面打ち kata-dori men-uchi).
  • Chest grab (胸取り mune-dori or muna-dori) grabbing the (clothing of the) chest. Same as "collar grab" (襟取り eri-dori).

Basic techniques

Aikido ikkyo
Diagram of ikkyō, or "first technique". Yonkyō has a similar mechanism of action, although the upper hand grips the forearm rather than the elbow.

The following are a sample of the basic or widely practiced throws and pins. Many of these techniques derive from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but some others were invented by Morihei Ueshiba. The precise terminology for some may vary between organisations and styles, so what follows are the terms used by the Aikikai Foundation. Note that despite the names of the first five techniques listed, they are not universally taught in numeric order.[26]

  • First technique (一教 () ikkyō) a control using one hand on the elbow and one hand near the wrist which leverages uke to the ground.[27] This grip applies pressure into the ulnar nerve at the wrist.
  • Second technique (二教 nikyō) a pronating wristlock that torques the arm and applies painful nerve pressure. (There is an adductive wristlock or Z-lock in ura version.)
  • Third technique (三教 sankyō) a rotational wristlock that directs upward-spiraling tension throughout the arm, elbow and shoulder.
  • Fourth technique (四教 yonkyō) a shoulder control similar to ikkyō, but with both hands gripping the forearm. The knuckles (from the palm side) are applied to the recipient's radial nerve against the periosteum of the forearm bone.[28]
  • Fifth technique (五教 gokyō) visually similar to ikkyō, but with an inverted grip of the wrist, medial rotation of the arm and shoulder, and downward pressure on the elbow. Common in knife and other weapon take-aways.
  • Four-direction throw (四方投げ shihōnage) the hand is folded back past the shoulder, locking the shoulder joint.
  • Forearm return (小手返し kotegaeshi) a supinating wristlock-throw that stretches the extensor digitorum.
  • Breath throw (呼吸投げ kokyūnage) a loosely used term for various types of mechanically unrelated techniques, although they generally do not use joint locks like other techniques.[29]
  • Entering throw (入身投げ iriminage) throws in which tori moves through the space occupied by uke. The classic form superficially resembles a "clothesline" technique.
  • Heaven-and-earth throw (天地投げ tenchinage) beginning with ryōte-dori; moving forward, tori sweeps one hand low ("earth") and the other high ("heaven"), which unbalances uke so that he or she easily topples over.
  • Hip throw (腰投げ koshinage) aikido's version of the hip throw. Tori drops their hips lower than those of uke, then flips uke over the resultant fulcrum.
  • Figure-ten throw (十字投げ jūjinage) or figure-ten entanglement (十字絡み jūjigarami) a throw that locks the arms against each other (the kanji for "10" is a cross-shape: 十).[30]
  • Rotary throw (回転投げ kaitennage) Tori sweeps the arm back until it locks the shoulder joint, then uses forward pressure to throw.[31]

Implementations

Aikido ikkyo omote ura
Diagram showing two versions of the ikkyō technique: one moving forward (the omote version) and one moving backward (the ura version). See text for more details.

Aikido makes use of body movement (tai sabaki) to blend with uke. For example, an "entering" (irimi) technique consists of movements inward towards uke, while a "turning" (転換 tenkan) technique uses a pivoting motion.[32] Additionally, an "inside" ( uchi) technique takes place in front of uke, whereas an "outside" ( soto) technique takes place to their side; a "front" ( omote) technique is applied with motion to the front of uke, and a "rear" ( ura) version is applied with motion towards the rear of uke, usually by incorporating a turning or pivoting motion. Finally, most techniques can be performed while in a seated posture (seiza). Techniques where both uke and tori are standing are called tachi-waza, techniques where both start off in seiza are called suwari-waza, and techniques performed with uke standing and tori sitting are called hanmi handachi (半身半立).[33]

Thus, from fewer than twenty basic techniques, there are thousands of possible implementations. For instance, ikkyō can be applied to an opponent moving forward with a strike (perhaps with an ura type of movement to redirect the incoming force), or to an opponent who has already struck and is now moving back to reestablish distance (perhaps an omote-waza version). Specific aikido kata are typically referred to with the formula "attack-technique(-modifier)". For instance, katate-dori ikkyō refers to any ikkyō technique executed when uke is holding one wrist. This could be further specified as katate-dori ikkyō omote, referring to any forward-moving ikkyō technique from that grab.

Atemi (当て身) are strikes (or feints) employed during an aikido technique. Some view atemi as attacks against "vital points" meant to cause damage in and of themselves. For instance, Gōzō Shioda described using atemi in a brawl to quickly down a gang's leader.[21] Others consider atemi, especially to the face, to be methods of distraction meant to enable other techniques. A strike, whether or not it is blocked, can startle the target and break their concentration. The target may become unbalanced in attempting to avoid the blow, for example by jerking the head back, which may allow for an easier throw.[33] Many sayings about atemi are attributed to Morihei Ueshiba, who considered them an essential element of technique.[34]

Weapons

PRehse002-cropped
Disarming an attacker using a "sword taking" (太刀取り tachi-dori) technique.

Weapons training in aikido traditionally includes the short staff () although its techniques resemble closely the use of the bayonet or Jūkendō, the wooden sword (bokken), and the knife (tantō).[35] Some schools incorporate firearm-disarming techniques. Both weapon-taking and weapon-retention are taught. Some schools, such as the Iwama style of Morihiro Saito, usually spend substantial time practicing with both bokken and , under the names of aiki-ken, and aiki-jō, respectively.

The founder developed many of the empty-handed techniques from traditional sword, spear and bayonet movements. Consequently, the practice of the weapons arts gives insight into the origin of techniques and movements, and reinforces the concepts of distance, timing, foot movement, presence and connectedness with one's training partner(s).[36]

Multiple attackers and randori

One feature of aikido is training to defend against multiple attackers, often called taninzudori, or taninzugake. Freestyle practice with multiple attackers called randori (乱取) is a key part of most curricula and is required for the higher level ranks.[37] Randori exercises a person's ability to intuitively perform techniques in an unstructured environment.[37] Strategic choice of techniques, based on how they reposition the student relative to other attackers, is important in randori training. For instance, an ura technique might be used to neutralise the current attacker while turning to face attackers approaching from behind.[4]

In Shodokan Aikido, randori differs in that it is not performed with multiple persons with defined roles of defender and attacker, but between two people, where both participants attack, defend, and counter at will. In this respect it resembles judo randori.[19][38]

Injuries

In applying a technique during training, it is the responsibility of tori to prevent injury to uke by employing a speed and force of application that is commensurate with their partner's proficiency in ukemi.[25] Injuries (especially those to the joints), when they do occur in aikido, are often the result of tori misjudging the ability of uke to receive the throw or pin.[39][40]

A study of injuries in the martial arts showed that the type of injuries varied considerably from one art to the other.[41] Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common types of injuries found within aikido,[41] as well as joint strain and stubbed fingers and toes.[40] Several deaths from head-and-neck injuries, caused by aggressive shihōnage in a senpai/kōhai hazing context, have been reported.[39]

Mental training

Aikido training is mental as well as physical, emphasizing the ability to relax the mind and body even under the stress of dangerous situations.[42] This is necessary to enable the practitioner to perform the bold enter-and-blend movements that underlie aikido techniques, wherein an attack is met with confidence and directness.[43] Morihei Ueshiba once remarked that one "must be willing to receive 99% of an opponent's attack and stare death in the face" in order to execute techniques without hesitation.[44] As a martial art concerned not only with fighting proficiency but with the betterment of daily life, this mental aspect is of key importance to aikido practitioners.[45]

Uniforms and ranking

Folding hakama
Hakama are folded after practice to preserve the pleats.

Aikido practitioners (commonly called aikidōka outside Japan) generally progress by promotion through a series of "grades" (kyū), followed by a series of "degrees" (dan), pursuant to formal testing procedures. Some aikido organizations use belts to distinguish practitioners' grades, often simply white and black belts to distinguish kyu and dan grades, though some use various belt colors. Testing requirements vary, so a particular rank in one organization is not comparable or interchangeable with the rank of another.[4] Some dojos do not allow students to take the test to obtain a dan rank unless they are 16 or older.

rank belt color type
kyū Judo white belt white mudansha / yūkyūsha
dan Judo black belt black yūdansha

The uniform worn for practicing aikido (aikidōgi) is similar to the training uniform (keikogi) used in most other modern martial arts; simple trousers and a wraparound jacket, usually white. Both thick ("judo-style"), and thin ("karate-style") cotton tops are used.[4] Aikido-specific tops are available with shorter sleeves which reach to just below the elbow.

Most aikido systems add a pair of wide pleated black or indigo trousers called a hakama (used also in Naginatajutsu, kendo, and iaido). In many schools, its use is reserved for practitioners with (dan) ranks or for instructors, while others allow all practitioners to wear a hakama regardless of rank.[4]

Criticisms

The most common criticism of aikido is that it suffers from a lack of realism in training. The attacks initiated by uke (and which tori must defend against) have been criticized as being "weak", "sloppy", and "little more than caricatures of an attack".[46][47] Weak attacks from uke allow for a conditioned response from tori, and result in underdevelopment of the skills needed for the safe and effective practice of both partners.[46] To counteract this, some styles allow students to become less compliant over time but, in keeping with the core philosophies, this is after having demonstrated proficiency in being able to protect themselves and their training partners. Shodokan Aikido addresses the issue by practising in a competitive format.[19] Such adaptations are debated between styles, with some maintaining that there is no need to adjust their methods because either the criticisms are unjustified, or that they are not training for self-defense or combat effectiveness, but spiritual, fitness or other reasons.[48]

Another criticism pertains to the shift in training focus after the end of Ueshiba's seclusion in Iwama from 1942 to the mid-1950s, as he increasingly emphasized the spiritual and philosophical aspects of aikido. As a result, strikes to vital points by tori, entering (irimi) and initiation of techniques by tori, the distinction between omote (front side) and ura (back side) techniques, and the use of weapons, were all de-emphasized or eliminated from practice. Some Aikido practitioners feel that lack of training in these areas leads to an overall loss of effectiveness.[49]

Conversely, some styles of aikido receive criticism for not placing enough importance on the spiritual practices emphasized by Ueshiba. According to Minoru Shibata of Aikido Journal, "O-Sensei's aikido was not a continuation and extension of the old and has a distinct discontinuity with past martial and philosophical concepts."[50] That is, that aikido practitioners who focus on aikido's roots in traditional jujutsu or kenjutsu are diverging from what Ueshiba taught. Such critics urge practitioners to embrace the assertion that "[Ueshiba's] transcendence to the spiritual and universal reality were the fundamentals [sic] of the paradigm that he demonstrated."[50]

See also

  • Portal-puzzle.svg Aikido portal

References

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  10. ^ a b Stevens, John; Rinjiro, Shirata (1984). Aikido: The Way of Harmony. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala. pp. 3–17. ISBN 978-0-394-71426-4.
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External links

Aikido concepts

Aikido concepts are ideas that form the philosophical or technical basis of the Japanese martial art aikido.

Aikido styles

Though the art of aikido is characteristically different from other Japanese martial arts, it has a variety of identifiable styles within the family of organizations descending from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba.

Aikido techniques

Aikido techniques are frequently referred to as waza 技 (which is Japanese for technique, art or skill). Aikido training is based primarily on two partners practicing pre-arranged forms (kata) rather than freestyle practice. The basic pattern is for the receiver of the technique (uke) to initiate an attack against the person who applies the technique—the 取り tori, or shite 仕手, (depending on aikido style) also referred to as (投げ nage (when applying a throwing technique), who neutralises this attack with an aikido technique.Both halves of the technique, that of uke and that of tori, are considered essential to aikido training. Both are studying aikido principles of blending and adaptation. Tori learns to blend with and control attacking energy, while uke learns to become calm and flexible in the disadvantageous, off-balance positions in which tori places him. This "receiving" of the technique is called ukemi. Uke continuously seeks to regain balance and cover vulnerabilities (e.g., an exposed side), while tori uses position and timing to keep uke off-balance and vulnerable. In more advanced training, uke may apply reversal techniques (返し技, kaeshi-waza) to regain balance and pin or throw tori.

Ukemi (受身) refers to the act of receiving a technique. Good ukemi involves attention to the technique, the partner and the immediate environment - it is an active rather than a passive "receiving" of Aikido. The fall itself is part of Aikido, and is a way for the practitioner to receive, safely, what would otherwise be a devastating strike or throw (or joint lock control) and return to a standing position in one fluid movement. The person throwing (or applying other technique) must take into account the ukemi ability of his partner, as well as the physical space: walls, weapons (wooden tantō, bokken, jō) on the tatami, and the aikido practitioners nearby.

Uke must attack with a strength and speed appropriate to the skill level of the tori; in the case of beginners, this means an attack of far less severity than would be encountered in a real-life self-defense situation.

Aikikai

The Aikikai is the original school of Aikido. It is centered on the Aikikai Foundation in Japan, and its figurehead is the Doshu (the family heir of the founder of Aikido). It is represented globally through the International Aikido Federation.

Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu

Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu (大東流合気柔術), originally called Daitō-ryū Jujutsu (大東流柔術, Daitō-ryū Jūjutsu), is a Japanese martial art that first became widely known in the early 20th century under the headmastership of Takeda Sōkaku. Takeda had extensive training in several martial arts (including Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryū and sumo) and referred to the style he taught as "Daitō-ryū" (literally, "Great Eastern School"). Although the school's traditions claim to extend back centuries in Japanese history there are no known extant records regarding the ryū before Takeda. Whether Takeda is regarded as either the restorer or the founder of the art, the known history of Daitō-ryū begins with him. Takeda's best-known student was Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.

Hapkido

Hapkido (UK: HAP-kee-DOH, US: hahp-KEE-doh, also spelled hap ki do or hapki-do; from Korean hapgido [hap̚.k͈i.do]) is a highly eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, grappling, and throwing techniques similar to those of other martial arts, as well as kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. It also teaches the use of traditional weapons, including knife, sword, rope, ssang juhl bong (nunchaku), cane (ji pang ee), short stick (dan bong), and middle-length staff (joong bong, gun (analogous to the Japanese jō), and bō (Japanese)), which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.

Hapkido employs both long-range and close-range fighting techniques, utilizing jumping kicks and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges, and pressure point strikes, joint locks, and throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, redirection of force, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage over their opponents through footwork and body positioning to incorporate the use of leverage, avoiding the use of brute strength against brute strength.

The art was adapted from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu as it was taught by Choi Yong-Sool (최용술) when he returned to Korea after World War II after having lived in Japan for 30 years. This system was later combined by Choi´s disciples with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous and contemporary arts such as taekkyeon, and Tang Soo Do; as well as various throwing techniques and ground fighting from Japanese Judo.

International Aikido Federation

International Aikido Federation (International Aikido Federation) is a world governing body for the sport of Aikido.

Iwama style

Iwama Style Aikido is the style of aikido that was taught at Iwama dojo (in Iwama) by the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, and especially the lineage passed on through Morihiro Saito, a close disciple who was given responsibility over Iwama dojo by Ueshiba.It is also known by many names. These include Iwama-ryū (岩間流 where ryū is the Japanese term for a style or school), Iwama Style (岩間スタイル where "style" was transliterated into Japanese from English). It is often associated with the term Takemusu after the martial concept. It is sometimes also referred to as Traditional or Dentō (伝統, lit. traditional).

It is sometimes called Saito style, though never by Iwama stylists themselves as Saito insisted that he intended to preserve the founder's style.

Ki Society

The Ki Society (気の研究会, Ki no Kenkyūkai) is an aikido organization founded by Koichi Tohei in 1971, while he was the chief instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. The official Japanese name of the organization is Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido Kai (心身統一合気道会), but it is also known in English-speaking countries as "Ki Society". Its foundation reflected Tohei's differences with the Aikikai, and his own emphasis on developing the concept of Ki. Tohei's art is correctly called Shin Shin Tōitsu-dō (心身統一道), meaning "the way of realizing the [original] unity of mind and body", but the martial discipline of the art is frequently referred to as Ki-Aikido, particularly in the Western world.

The Ki Society has its primary facilities, known as Ki no Sato (meaning headquarters), in Tochigi Prefecture.

Koichi Tohei

Koichi Tohei (藤平光一, Tōhei Kōichi) (20 January 1920 – 19 May 2011) was a 10th Dan aikidoka and founder of the Ki Society and its style of aikido, officially Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (literally "aikido with mind and body unified"), but commonly known as Ki-Aikido.

Kokikai

Kokikai (光気会) is a style of Aikido, founded by Shuji Maruyama. The organization is called Kokikai Aikido International.

The Kokikai style emphasizes natural movement, ki development, relaxation, good posture and mind-body coordination. It is a minimalist martial art that focuses on making techniques effective while using little physical effort. An axiom of the style is “minimum effort for maximum effect.” The name Kokikai means “school of radiant ki”.

The style lists four basic principles:

Keep One point (to develop calmness)

Relax progressively

Find Correct Posture (in everything)

Develop your Positive MindThe style was founded by Shuji Maruyama, and continues to be led by him. He continues to develop the art, so there is no set textbook way of performing any technique.

Maruyama was originally sent to the United States in 1966 by the Aikikai Hombu. He taught in the US for many years. When Koichi Tohei left Aikikai to found Ki-Aikido, Maruyama followed him. This was consistent with Japanese martial arts tradition, because he was a direct student of Tohei. Maruyama separated from Ki-Aikido in 1986 to found the Kokikai organization.As of August 2008, the directory on the official Kokikai website listed dojos in Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Russia and 19 US states.

Morihei Ueshiba

Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平, Ueshiba Morihei, December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969) was a martial artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido. He is often referred to as "the founder" Kaiso (開祖) or Ōsensei (大先生/翁先生), "Great Teacher".

The son of a landowner from Tanabe, Ueshiba studied a number of martial arts in his youth, and served in the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War. After being discharged in 1907, he moved to Hokkaidō as the head of a pioneer settlement; here he met and studied with Takeda Sōkaku, the founder of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu. On leaving Hokkaido in 1919, Ueshiba joined the Ōmoto-kyō movement, a Shinto sect, in Ayabe, where he served as a martial arts instructor and opened his first dojo. He accompanied the head of the Ōmoto-kyō group, Onisaburo Deguchi, on an expedition to Mongolia in 1924, where they were captured by Chinese troops and returned to Japan. The following year, he had a profound spiritual experience, stating that, "a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one." After this experience, his martial arts skill appeared to be greatly increased.

Ueshiba moved to Tokyo in 1926, where he set up the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. By now he was comparatively famous in martial arts circles, and taught at this dojo and others around Japan, including in several military academies. In the aftermath of World War II the Hombu dojo was temporarily closed, but Ueshiba had by this point left Tokyo and retired to Iwama, and he continued training at the dojo he had set up there. From the end of the war until the 1960s, he worked to promote aikido throughout Japan and abroad. He died from liver cancer in 1969.

After Ueshiba's death, aikido continued to be promulgated by his students (many of whom became noted martial artists in their own right). It is now practiced around the world.

Obi (martial arts)

Many Japanese martial arts feature an obi as part of their exercise outfit. These obis are often made of thick cotton and are about 5 cm wide. The martial arts obis are most often worn in the koma-musubi knot (square knot); in practice where hakama is worn, the obi is tied in other ways.

In many martial arts the colour of the obi signifies the wearer's skill level. Usually the colours start from the beginner's white and end in the master's black, or red and white master belt.

Randori

Randori (乱取り) is a term used in Japanese martial arts to describe free-style practice. The term denotes an exercise in 取り tori, applying technique to a random ( 乱 ran) succession of uke attacks.

The actual connotation of randori depends on the martial art it is used in. In judo, jujitsu, and Shodokan aikido, among others, it most often refers to one-on-one sparring where partners attempt to resist and counter each other's techniques. In other styles of aikido, in particular Aikikai, it refers to a form of practice in which a designated aikidoka defends against multiple attackers in quick succession without knowing how they will attack or in what order.

Shodokan Aikido

Shodokan Aikido (昭道館合気道, Shōdōkan Aikidō) is the style of Aikido founded in 1967 by Kenji Tomiki (富木 謙治 Tomiki Kenji, 1900–1979). Shodokan Aikido is sometimes referred to as "Sport Aikido" because of its use of regular competitions, the style also may be referred to as "Tomiki Aikido". Shodokan places more emphasis on free-form randori sparring than most other styles of aikido. The training method requires a balance between randori and the more stylized kata training along with a well-developed set of training drills both specific for randori and for general aikido development. The participation in actual shiai (competitive randori) very much depends on the club with greater emphasis being found in the university clubs, although randori is core to all Shodokan clubs.

In 1967 Kenji Tomiki built a Shodokan hombu dojo in Osaka, Japan, to teach, train and promote his style. The style itself, could arguably have been founded with the formation of the Waseda University Aikido Club in 1958. Today, Shodokan Aikido is organised with two major groups, the Japan Aikido Association (JAA) and the Shodokan Aikido Federation (SAF).

Tori (martial arts)

Tori (取り) is a term used in Japanese martial arts to refer to the executor of a technique in partnered practice. The term "tori" comes from the verb toru (取る), meaning "to take", "to pick up", or "to choose".

In judo and some other martial arts, tori is the person who completes the technique against the training partner, called uke. Regardless of the situation, the principle is that "tori" is always the one who successfully completes a technique. The terms "tori" and "uke" are not synonymous with attacker and defender, because the role is determined by who completes a successful technique, not who initiates one.In aikido and related martial arts, tori executes a defensive technique against a designated attack initiated by uke. Aikido has alternate terms describing the role of tori, depending on the particular style or situation, including "thrower" (投げ, nage) and "performing hand" (仕手, shite).

Uchi-deshi

Uchi-deshi (内弟子, lit. "inside student") is a Japanese term for a live-in student/apprentice who trains under and assists a sensei on a full-time basis. The system exists in kabuki, rakugo, shogi, igo, aikido, sumo, karate and other modern Japanese martial arts.

Yoshinkan

Yoshinkan (養神館 Yōshinkan lit. "Hall of Spirit Cultivation") Aikido is a style of aikido that developed after World War II in the Yoshinkan Dojo of Gozo Shioda (1915–1994). Yoshinkan Aikido is often called the "hard" style of aikido because the training methods are a product of Shioda's grueling life before the war. Shioda named his dojo "Yoshinkan" after a dojo of the same name that was built by his father, a physician, who wanted to improve both physical and spiritual health. The Yoshinkan style is currently the second largest aikido organization worldwide.

Zanshin

Zanshin (Japanese: 残心) is a state of awareness, of relaxed alertness, in Japanese martial arts. A literal translation of zanshin is "remaining mind".In several martial arts, zanshin refers more narrowly to the body's posture after a technique is executed.

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