Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (December, 14 1883 – April, 26 1969), referred to by some Aikido practitioners as O-sensei (“Great Teacher”). Ueshiba envisioned Aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but also 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 wide variety of expressions by martial artists throughout the world. Aikido can be translated as “the way of harmonious spirit” where at its core the art teaches self-defense based on non-resistance. The art itself is actually rooted in Japanese samurai warrior tradition however it replaces the mainstream battle focused martial approach with one of self-awareness and compassion.
“The underlying origin of budo is the spirit of universal protection, nurturing and salvation. It is to give renewed energy to yourself and others.” – Morihei Ueshiba
Although a martial art in the true sense of the word, the martial practice of non-resistance allows the practitioner the opportunity to protect one’s self and family with a centered, controlled, and nonresistant spirit. Furthermore, it is a way of life that provides methods of conflict resolution not readily available to reactions based on fear and aggression. This makes Aikido unique as martial art.
Aikido practitioners are referred to as “Aikidoka”. Performing various techniques based on the principles of the art, Aikidoka blend with and redirect attacks rather than resting them with force on force. This approach allows techniques of self-defense, comprised of throws and joint locks, to be conducted without requiring a lot of strength yet being extremely effective.
The focus of the art is on cooperation rather than competition. Learning the basics, such as handling conflict and physical aggression using blending and circular movements often takes longer to grasp on average versus training in other Martial Arts, so the average length of time for a committed student training at least 3 days per week to reach Black Belt is about 3 years.
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. Because a substantial portion of any Aikido curriculum consists of throws, the first thing most students learn is how to safely fall or roll. 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 in certain styles, techniques with weapons.
There are no competitive tournaments, so aikido is not considered a sport, and dojos focus on cooperative training rather than endless sparring so that students are able to better themselves without belittling or causing injury to others.
Beginner students usually start off as rank of 6th Kyu and will progress through each kyu rank until shodan (black belt). Dojos have adopted many different belt schemes to distinguish rank amongst students. Our school employs the following ranking structure for its members:
Training uniforms (white jacket, white pants, white belt) are required once students get established in the program. Each student will be responsible for obtaining a proper uniform. A standard light or medium weight Karate/Aikido uniform is recommended and usually range in cost from around $25 – $50 depending on supplier. Your instructor will provide detail on how to tie belts. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to discuss them with the head instructor. Below is a list of recommended uniform suppliers: