What is Aikido?
Aikido is a modern, non-violent, non-aggressive Japanese
art which was developed early in the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba
(1883-1969). Aiki means “blending body with mind to the movements of
energy.” Do means “a way or path chosen toward self-realization.”
Aikido is a system of self-defense which employs techniques based on
circular movements that blend with the attack and energy of an
opponent. Aikido’s movements are generally smooth and fluid. Circles
and spirals predominate in the techniques. Rather than meet the force
of an attack head-on, the defender moves their body off the line of
attack, takes the attacker’s balance and culminates the technique in
either a throw or a pin. In the rhythm of practice, partners change
roles, allowing each to feel both aspects, attack and defense. The
general atmosphere in training is one of mutual cooperation and
respect. Aikido is a way of coordinating both body and mind through the
discipline of learning and training technique, thereby energizing the
body and increasing awareness.
What are the requirements for
Birankai provides these guidelines for advancement through white
belt (Kyu) and black
belt (Dan) levels. Childrens' rank guidelines are
benefits of practice?
Aikido is practiced by men, women and children of all ages and body
types. The benefits of practice are many. Aikidoka develop good breath
capacity, flexibility, coordination, increased range of motion, good
posture, a confident demeanor, and greater awareness of their bodies
like for beginners?
New students are typically paired with senior students. Virtually any
technique can be practiced quickly and powerfully, or slowly and
gently. The instructor gears the class to be stimulating and
challenging to each student. The teaching approach is developmental and
individualized, allowing a student to develop to his or her potential.
It is through regular practice of the techniques that students, over
time, embody and express their potential.
is Aikido used
A person can learn about self-defense by studying a martial art.
Self-defense is not about the number of techniques one learns, but
about the concepts and principles of their application. How an
individual learns these principles and applies them is important. To
learn about self-defense requires a person to study the art both
physically and mentally. In our case, the art is Aikido. Inherent in
all techniques are the concepts/principles that make them work. If the
practitioner understands them, he or she can apply them in many
Self-defense courses are by their nature short. Such courses are good
for helping individuals begin to develop ideas about self-defense
possibilities. Even so, a short study may not provide the training
required to make self-defense responses as natural as breathing, nor
give students enough practice to have sufficient confidence in their
abilities. Development of this level of skill is the benefit of
long-term training. This is the process of ingraining the concepts and
principles into one’s own body system or what we call “embodying” the
The goal of training for self-defense is to be skilled not only in
technique – but in the ability to read the energy and intentions of
one’s opponent. The ideal response to aggression is spontaneous,
well-timed, and performed without needing to think. Just as a musician
must practice notes and scales over and over again in order to combine
them into patterns that create an improvised solo, an Aikidoka will
repeatedly practice basic skills over time in response to a great
diversity of attacks, in order to respond most effectively in a
you train with
Aikido is primarily practiced as an empty-handed art. However, as a
student progresses, he/she studies the principles of Aikido through the
use of the wooden sword and wooden staff. Weapons work reveals the
importance of proper distance, timing and precision of body movement.
It also develops a student’s breathing and concentration. Techniques
for responding to multiple assailants and knife attacks are also
Aikido is a non-competitive martial art. There are no tournaments and
students are never pitted against each other. Each student challenges
him/her-self to constantly improve. Progress is marked by an
individual’s deepening embodiment of the art, and the clarity of
his/her spirit expressed through their movement.
Through consistent mindful practice, the student reaches periodic
milestones of training and tests for rank. The first test usually comes
after a minimum of fifty class hours. For the first five adult ranks,
students wear a white belt. After about five or six years of dedicated
and consistent training, a student is ready to test for his/her first
black belt rank. For longtime practitioners, the benefits of training
transcend words. It is a path of self-discovery, deeply life-changing,
and a continually stimulating and balancing influence in their lives.
is the founder?
Morihei Ueshiba is the founder of Aikido. We refer to him as “O
Sensei,” which means “great teacher.” He studied several different
martial arts (bujutsu), including sword, spear and jujitsu styles
before developing Aikido. A deeply spiritual man, Ueshiba created
Aikido to be a vehicle for nurturing and protecting life – an
expression of love.