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The Beginings Of Aikido

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					The beginnings of Aikido

The name aikido is formed by the combination of three characters in the Japanese
language. Ai, which means joining; ki, which means spirit and do, which means way.
These three words actually summarize the essence of aikido as a form of martial art— the
joining of the spirit to find the way. It was only in the period from 1930s to the 40s that
the name aikido was officially accepted as the name of the martial arts form.

Aikido uses techniques that do not damage or kill unlike other forms of martial arts. The
movements and skills being taught are just meant to divert attention or immobilize
people. This is perhaps the reason why most people prefer aikido, because of it’s focus on
peace and harmony as opposed to aggression and conflict. In fact, aikido developer
Morihei Ueshiba believes that to control aggression without causing any injury is the art
of peace.

Ueshiba, who is also called Osensei, which means Great Teacher, created aikido from the
principles of Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu. He incorporated the techniques of the yari, the spear;
the juken, which is a bayonet; and the jo, which is a short quarterstaff). But what
ultimately separates aikido from other forms of martial arts is the fact that its practitioners
can attack while empty-handed. Practitioners need no weapons for protection.

As a young child, he was much into physical fitness and conditioning. This is because of
his vow to avenge his father’s death. Eventually, his studies and activities brought him to
the discipline of the different martial arts. He studied all. He even has certificates,
fencing, fighting with spears, etc. He has learned it all. This is perhaps the reason why
aikido is such a diverse and multi-disciplinary form of martial arts.

Yet despite his know how, he remains dissatisfied. He felt that there is still something
missing. It was then that he turned to the religions. He studied under a spiritual leader,
Onisaburo Deguchiof the sect Omoto-kyo in Ayabe. Deguchiof taught him to take care of
his spiritual growth. He then combined his spiritual beliefs and his mastery of the
different martial arts. Aikido was born.

His association with this charismatic spiritual leader Deguchiof also paved the way for
his introduction to the elite political and military people as a martial artist. Because of
this connection, he was able to establish aikido and even transferred the teachings to
students, who have in turn developed their own styles of movement in aikido.

Aikido is a combination of the different styles of jujitsu as well as some of the techniques
of sword and spear fighting, of which Ueshiba is an expert. To get an overall picture,
aikido combines the joint locks and throws techniques of jujitsu and the movements of
the body when fighting with sword and spears.

Oriental in origin, it was brought to the west by Minoru Mochizuki when he visited
France in 1951. He introduced the aikido techniques to students who are learning judo. In
1952, Tadashi Abe came to France as the official Aikikai Honbu representative. Then in
1953, Kenji Tomiki toured through the United States while Koichi Tohei stayed in
Hawaii for a full year where he set up a dojo. Aikido then spread its influence in United
Kingdom two years after and in 1965, it reached Germany and Australia. At present,
aikido has centers all over the world.


The Underlying Principle of Everything

In quantum physics, one of the foremost theories that promises to revolutionize how we
see the world is the theory of strings. The main premise of this particular theory is that
strings are the most basic structure that makes up everything we can and cannot see
within the physical world. Strings of course is just a word to label this most profound
substance that theoretical physicists say dictate everything we see, perceive and have in
and around us in this physical world.

Although no direct correlation has ever been claimed between string theory and that of
the principles of ch'i prevalent in the East, they share the same premise in the most basic
sense that it is said that there is a basic energy substance that underlie everything. In
understanding the nature of this substance we are able to harness its power and utilize it.

The concept of ch'i or qi in Chinese and ki in Japanese, is very much relative to the type
of school that teaches it. Some say that ch'i is a force separate from matter as we know it.
Some say that ch'i arises from matter. Still some say that matter arises from ch'i.

What all schools have in common however is the fact that they all more or less say that
ch'i is a fundamental energy that can be harnessed to bring power to oneself wither
physically, mentally or spiritually. With all the different premises that try to explain ch'i,
it is clear that mere instructions in words will not be able to fully expound on what ch'i is.
Perhaps because of this, it is better to pass on the knowledge of ch'i through actual and
practical instruction.

One school that may be successful in being able to teach what the ch'i is and how to be
able to use it for one's own benefit is Aikido. At the heart of the spirituality and
philosophy or Aikido is the ki, which is similar or perhaps, one and the same with what is
otherwise known as the ch'i or qi.

Aikido's ki is the heart of the principle of this particular martial art. While technically,
martial arts are means for combat and war, Aikido is often known as the art of peace
because it espouses a peaceful means towards aggression. Aikido ki, like in other
concepts of ch'i teaches that there is a fundamental energy that can be harnessed. Aikido
ki being energy means that its substance is something that flows.

The principle of peace and relaxation taught by Aikido presupposes the fact that the ki
flows more smoothly and strongly when it is uninterrupted. A better illustration might be
something like, if water is ki, then to harness its power, it must be allowed to flow to
produce hydroelectric force.
This is why in Aikido, ki energy comes from being relaxed. It is said that in the relaxed
state, the flow of ki is better aided. Aikido as a martial art is not about muscle strength or
superior physical attributes. It is really about relaxation, flexibility and stamina. This
allows a smaller person to be able to topple and throw a larger opponent during practice.

Using Aikido Moves in Practice or in Combat

It only takes a split second whether someone comes out as a victor or a loser in combat.
The person can try to remember it later on to see what errors were made in order to
become a better fighter in the future.

Such things also happen in competition which is why it is best for the student to be
familiar with the various aikido moves at all times.

For instance, in Ai hanmi Iriminage a person grabs the attacker by the neck and forces the
opponent to the ground.

In Ai hanmi Kokyuho, this is similar to the first with the difference of extending the arm
a little farther in order to achieve maximum effect.

Should the attacker have a knife, a good aikido move to use is called Katate Ryotemochi
in which the individual uses both hands to block the weapon used by the attacker and
disarming it before putting the person on the ground.

If the individual is able to get behind the attacker, perhaps doing Ushiro Ryokatatori will
be a good idea. This will allow the student to grab both shoulders of the person. Should
the individual be tough, perhaps applying Ushiro Kubishime, which will temporarily cut
the air supply until the assailant is unconscious, is the best thing to do.

Not all the aikido moves being taught are just to block and the make the person fall to the
ground. There are also striking moves such as Kata Menuchi in which the hand makes a
slice to the middle of the forehead. Those who don’t want to inflict a concussion can try
Mune Tsuki, which is a strike to the chest.

A good move for the leg is the Aiki Otoshi better known in English as a leg sweep. This
will surely keep the person down especially when that attacker thinks that all the student
can do is use the arms when defending.

Once the attacker has been subdued, it will be safer to keep the attacker locked in a
Sankyo hold. This technique is used by police, which is very useful when the police are
on the way to the location.

There are more than 10 different moves in Aikido. The person should be able to
distinguish one from the other especially when the terms are all in Japanese. It will be the
choice of the individual which one to use when one is engaged in combat.
The first step in learning this martial art will be to enroll in a dojo. The person can look at
the directory to find the nearest one to the home and then choose to sign up if the rates
are affordable.

The student will then be taught the rules, how to wear the uniform and then the proper
moves in each stroke. The individual should not expect to get it right on the first day but
eventually do better in the coming days.

The person should remember that Aikido unlike other martial arts can only be used for
defensive purposes. Usually when the suspect has failed in the attack, this person will run
so the individual should not give chase but rather get help.

It is only with practice sparring with a partner or even doing the same thing in
competition that both the mind and the body can be conditioned to engage an attacker in
combat.




Founding Principles of Aikido

Aikido means "The Way of Harmony with the Spirit" and is considered a non-violent
form of martial art. However, don't be fooled. Aikido when used correctly is very
powerful often are able to block and neutralize strong attacks and counter them with an
equal force.

Morihei Ueshiba, now known as O-sensei to the world of Aikido, founded the martial art.
O-sensei is a master of Jujitsu or unarmed combat, Kinjitsu or sword combat, and sojitsu
or spear combat and studied philosophical and religious teachings.

Because of the religious and philosophical foundations of Aikido, principles of the
martial art include ways to harmonize with the ki or spirit within oneself and the bigger
spirit of nature. Among the principles of Aikido include oneness, circular motion and ki.

Among the philosophical teachings of Aikido, one of the more basics and more important
is learning to control oneself. Maintaining an inner balance is necessary to harmonize
with others enabling to control an opponent's attack or applying an effective technique.
Self-control is the key to achieve and maintain harmony.

The Principle of Oneness is another basic principle in Aikido. An aikidoka must learn to
become one with any situation. Becoming one means having an attitude of respect for all
things and situations, friend or foe. By training to become one with every situation,
harmonization will follow and it will become possible to execute Aikido techniques,
movements and forms accurately and efficiently.
Harmony also means synthesis. And the spiritual circle which is a foundation of all
Aikido techniques synthesizes everything. Aikido is a combination of circular
movements. Its techniques and movements revolve around the concept of circular
motions. When an opponent attacks, the aikidoka uses a circular motion of the lower
abdomen to control the attack and execute Aikido techniques to counterattack.

It is said that defense is the greatest offense. In Aikido to defend properly an attack, one
must learn to move away from the range of effectiveness of the opponent's attack.
However, as you try to defend by getting out of the opponent's effective range, you must
also try to maintain your own range of effectiveness in order to counterattack efficiently.

You won't be able to give an effective counterattack if you stepped too far away from
your opponent. Similarly, being too close would definitely lessen the effectiveness of
your techniques. Everything will depend on the situation. As an Aikido practitioner, you
must learn to determine how to avoid your opponent's range while controlling your own
in various situations.

Finally, the Principle of Ki involves believing that every thing in the universe is governed
by a force or spirit. Ki is also the energy and our life force. Ki is the force that binds the
mind and the body. It is the energy that harmonizes us to our surroundings. By learning to
control our Ki, we will be able to unify our mind and our body maximizing efficient
movements and execution of Aikido techniques.

Aikido focuses on the distance, motion, speed, and projection of an attacker. By using
blending, spiraling, and extension techniques, the attack will be neutralized and by using
one's centeredness and hips, the same amount of force can be applied to the attacker. In
Aikido, the spiraling and circular movements reflect what the martial art is: a fluid and
flowing movement of spirit and energy.


Tips in choosing an aikido school

Aikido is one of the oldest and most widely-used martial arts forms in the world. It is
being taught for centuries as a form of self-defense and protection. It is also a way for
people to learn centeredness and balance in their lives.

Aikido is a martial arts form that requires constant practice and dedicated study for it
does not only teach you self-defense, it also teaches you discipline. A good aikido
training school is needed to achieve this. This is the reason why it is important for you to
find a school that will not only teach you the basics but will also nurture your budding
talent.

Here are some tips in choosing a good aikido school.

Go for the recommended ones
Although all aikido training schools will be teaching the same set of tricks and
techniques, there are schools that will give you better training. One way to look for good
aikido schools is to ask around your neighborhood or among your friends and
acquaintances. They are great sources because not only will they be able to provide you
with names that are located in a place convenient to you, they will also be able to give
you first hand information on the teaching method of the school.

In fact, they can even give you tips and advice on aikido training. Another way is to ask
martial arts teachers. Even if they are not teaching aikido, they will know people who
teach aikido and will be able to recommend good ones. There are also forums over the
internet where you can post your questions. Members of the site or those that frequently
read the forums will surely answer. Chances are they will know a good aikido school that
is near your house. Forums like these are very effective because members are mostly
aikido or martial arts buffs who know the business and will surely know what they are
talking about.

Look for one that is near

In addition to the training, you will also need to find a school that is near your house or
your place of work. Location is important in giving you the drive. Places that are far from
your place will only result in frequent absenteeism, which is not good for your training.
Another advantage that near locations provide is the fact that it gives you the chance to
urge friends or family members to come with you and also be interested in the martial art
form.

Teacher and mentor

Before enrolling in a program, make sure that you got to meet and talk to the teacher.
Although it may seem unimportant, it is vital to also be attuned and in harmony with the
teacher of aikido as he or she will not only be teaching you aikido basics but also your
mentor in your life.

Scheduling

Getting a good schedule is another crucial point in getting a good aikido training. Look
for schools that offer the schedule that you want. Remember that the time that you will be
training is also important because it will determine your readiness for the lesson. If your
schedule is not the right fit, you will only feel tired and uninspired during the training,
something which is not good when learning aikido as it asks for your total commitment
and passion to the task.

Aikido Secrets Everyone Should Know
When an attacker is approaching, the person only has a split second to decide whether to
dodge or block the move of the opponent. There is no point thinking about what this
happened in the first place but the concern now is just to stop it.

In a fight, the person can make a counter attack in the hopes that the individual will be
subdued. There is another way of course without resorting to force, which is the
technique one can learn in aikido.

Aikido is a martial art in which the person blocks the moves of an opponent by using the
hands. Anyone who wants to learn it will not be able to move as fast as Steven Segal in
one of his action films but still be effective in combat.

This martial art cannot be learned by merely watching others do it in the movies or in
television. There are some who even show the step by step process in a magazine but
nothing still compares to learning it from a Sensei.

The person must first become a student in order to be called a master. This means
learning the basic rules from entering the dojo until the class is over. The person will
surely feel some pain after falling down a few times on the mat but this is not to torture
the pupil.

This is all part of the training, which the student must also do properly in order to move
into the more advanced classes.

One of the secrets is being able to know when to use it since timing is everything. There
is a bit of hand to eye coordination just like in sports but here, the individual will merely
redirect the same force back to that individual.

Another secret in using aikido has to do with the wrist. The person should be smooth
enough to put one hand over the opponents to be able to make the technique work and
counter the attack.

It takes a certain amount of energy to be able to perform certain moves. The individual
will learn the various breathing exercises that will increase the heart rate and slow it
down especially in the heat of the action.

The student should bear in mind that the breathing exercises also serves as a unifying
force between the physical and the emotional aspect of the person.

The most important secret in mastering aikido is being consistent with the technique. The
arms will surely feel heavy after some time or a certain amount of energy is drained after
a few moves. By being able to do the same thing despite these difficulties, anyone can
truly be called a true martial artist.
People who want to check on how well one is doing can sign up for Tomiki Aikido. This
is a competition held by various clubs in which the student will compete among some of
the best in the country.

Those who do well here can move up to the next skill level just like in karate where a
student moves from one belt to another. If after many years, that student has learned all
the secrets that go with aikido, this is the only time one can be called a master and even
open a dojo.


The Relaxed Martial Art

Traditionally, martial art systems were created as a documented practice of training for
combat mode in the ancient eras. Naturally, its modern day applications are primarily for
self-defense, exercise and physical fitness. One form of martial arts however stands out
from the rest in the sense that it espouses a relaxed way of life over cunning and physical
strength.

At the heart of it, the Aikido spirit is about cultivating relaxation and a serenity
throughout everyday life to be able to harness this virtue in actual physical combat.
Aikido is actually a modern Japanese martial art and the Aikido spirit continues to live on
today years after it was developed by Morihei Eushiba between 1920 to 1960.
Noteworthy about this particular martial art is that the Aikido spirit is cultivated within its
students so that there is a spiritual and philosophical development that happens; which in
turn becomes the basis of the combative art. Modern day students of Aikido testify that
they bring the Aikido spirit with them throughout ordinary mundane activities, forming a
bridge between principles of how to tackle everyday life and combat moves on the
training mat.

This spiritual and philosophical basis of the Aikido spirit that cultivates relaxation and
the peaceful control of aggression, is attributed to the founder's background in Omoto-
kyo religion. Omoto-kyo is a modern Japanese religion, which is said to be an offshoot of
Shintoism. Omoto-kyo followers believe in beautifying the world with art because they
believe that art brings humans closer to the divine.

Aside from this however, the Omoto-kyo followers are pacifists who espouse peace over
war. This is the parallel between Omoto-kyo and Aikido. That is why the Aikido spirit is
often paradoxically referred to as the art of peace. One may wonder about the sanity
behind the fact that a martial art which was in all intentions created for combat and
winning over the enemy can indeed to be claim to the art of peace. For all intents and
purposes however, the philosophical and spiritual foundation of Aikido is about
maintaining a constant state of relaxation.

It is in this relaxed state that the Aikido practitioner is able to perform difficult throws
and maneuvers as taught by the martial art. The relaxed state can be attributed to a deep
unshakable peace free of aggression. The concept is that when we are tense and not
relaxed, we needlessly waste energy on aggression and force. By going with the flow and
not being afraid of what can or cannot happen to us, we cultivate a peace with a relaxed
demeanor as its direct consequence.

The Aikido spirit aims to cultivate a mental discipline, develop character and self-
confidence with the end goal of being able to maintain peace and relaxation. It believes
that in peace can one realize true power: The power to spread peace further and the
strength to be able to withstand the onslaught of everyday situations. The basics in
passing on the Aikido spirit can be done through practical applications that clearly show
that a relaxed demeanor is more effective than an aggressive one.

One such physical example is the exercise of trying to cause someone to lose their
balance. To be able to topple off an opponent usually means that we should be physically
stronger and in some cases larger so that superior physical strength through muscle
contraction is the traditional measure of victory.



Aikido Weaponry is All About Techniques

Aikido is a kind of martial arts which is often considered as modern Japanese budo. This
martial art's emphasis is on the spiritual and philosophical development of one's self. The
word "Aikido" basically means "The Way of Harmony with the Spirit." It is the study of
the natural laws and how they harmonize with the mind and body.

Aikido is encompassing. You will be taught to use both armed and unarmed forms of
combat and self defense. For unarmed attacks, you have at your disposal a variety of
throws, strikes, joint-lock techniques, vital points and even those so-called mystery
attacks wherein you attack the opponent without laying a hand on him or her. Meanwhile,
armed attacks involve the use of every kind of weapon imaginable. From swords to
knives, from sticks to spears, practically everything can be utilized in Aikido as a
weapon.

However, in general most Aikido classes are conducted with exclusive training with the
use of the jo or staff, tanto or knife and the bokken or sword. These three serve as the
main weapons used in Aikido. Even though Aikido appears to be using more unarmed
forms and techniques of martial arts, there are a couple of reasons why weapons are
studied in Aikido classes and training sessions. Aikido has a strong weapon martial arts
foundation and any training with weapons will only reinforce the basic techniques of the
martial art.

Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba, known to his students and Aikido practitioners as ?-
sensei which means Great Teacher, was particularly skilled with the staff. He was able to
integrate weapon techniques with basic Aikido movements. But among the multitude of
weapons out there the sword has the most influence on the development stages of Aikido
techniques.
Through weapons training, an Aikido practitioner will be able to measure the distance
between attacks. Also called ma-ai, the proper distancing is very important in timing an
attack and defending one. And speaking of defense, weapons training is also necessary
since advanced Aikido techniques involve defending against people bearing all sorts of
weapons.

In order to practice each advanced move safely, Aikido practitioners needed to be
familiar with each weapons' capabilities. Therefore, with Aikido weapons training, one
will be able to develop his skills, intuitiveness and reflexes in both attacking and
defending movements.

Among the weapons used in Aikido weapons training include the katana, the single
edged, slightly curved sword famous in the world as the sword of the samurai. In Aikido
weapons training, you will also be taught to handle, hold, fight and defend using the tanto
which in actuality is a knife or a short blade. The tanto was also extremely popular
amongst the men and women who lived by the samurai code during their time.

Another bladed weapon used in Aikido weapons training is the ninja-to. The ninja-to are
swords used by those mysterious ninjas. Samurais back then also have wakizashi swords
at their disposal. Wakizashi are usually two feet long and are paired with the katana. The
j? meanwhile is a four-foot long wooden staff used by not only Aikido but by other
martial artists as well. When Aikido techniques are fused with jo, the principle is called
aiki-j? which involves an integration of Aikido techniques in Aikido which uses the j? to
illustrate Aikido's principles with a weapon.

				
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