Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

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.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | 1 Comment

Fundamentals of aikido

Aikido is martial arts that resulted from the combination of several disciplines. It was created by Ueshiba sometime in the 1940s. It was the result of Ueshiba’s search for a technique that provided him with contentment not only in the technical sense but also in the spiritual end.

Aikido comes from the three Japanese words, ai-ki-do, which means joining, spirit, and way respectively. In essence, aikido is a martial arts form that focuses on the joining of the spirit and the body and the mind to find the Way.

Aikido has many techniques and moves. Its basic structure comes from the throws and locks found in jujitsu and also from the movements that experts do when they are fighting with swords and spears.

Fundamental Techniques of aikido
Let’s look at the different fundamental movements of this martial arts.
Ikkyo
This is the first technique in aikido, where control is achieved by the use of the hand on the elbow and one near the wrist. This is the grip that is also that can apply pressure into the ulnar, which can be found in the medial portion of the arm.

Nikyo
This is the second of the techniques, which is characterized by an adductive wristlock that twists the arm and then applies pressure in the nerve that can be really painful.

Sankyo
This is the third technique that incorporates a pronating move. It directs an upward tension all through the arm, the elbow and the shoulder.

Yonkyo
The fourth installment in the fundamental movements of aikido, yonkyo uses a shoulder control movement similar to a ikkyo but this time there is no gripping of the forearm. Instead, the knuckles apply pressure on the radial nerve

Gokyo
The fifth technique is actually a variant of ikkyo. This time the hand gripping the wrist is inverted and twisted.

Aikido protective moves
Here are some of the moves that you can use in order to disarm your opponent.

Kotogaeshi – this is what is called in the English as the wrist return. In this move, the practitioner will place a wristlock and throw that will stretch up to the extensor digitorum

Iriminage – called the entering-body throw, here the practitioner or the nage will move into the space where the uke or the opponent is. This classic move resembles the clothesline technique.

Kokyunage – this is the breath throw, a term that refers to the various types of “timing throws.”

Koshinage – this move is aikido’s version of the hip throw where in the person will drop his hips a little lower than the opponent or the uke.  He will then flip the opponent with a resultant fulcrum.

Tenchinage – Called the heaven and earth throw because of the levels that the hands will reach. The uke or the practitioner will grab both wrists and then moves forwardm grabbing the hand low and the other high. This unbalances the uke, which will cause him or her to topple over.

Shihonage- this is the four-direction throw, wherein the hand is folded back past the shoulders  and then afterwards locking the joints in the shoulder

Kaitennage- called the rotation throw, in kaitennage, the practitioner or the nage will move the arm backwards until the shoulder joints are locked. He will then use this position to add pressure.

Jujinage- this is the throw that is characterized by a throw that locks the arms together. This is called shape like a 10 throw because of its cross-shape, which looks like 10 in kanji.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Teaching, training, and exercising Aikido

Since the development of Aikido from the hands of its founder Morihei Ueshiba, it has gone through drastic changes. From the technique, practice, purpose, teaching, and training, Aikido is being interpreted in so many ways. Despite these glaring changes, the basic principle of Aikido still remains: a martial art that aims to achieve peace and harmony without instigating attack and force.

BEFORE YOU PRACTICE

If you are into aikido and already been enrolled in one of the classes, you must familiarize yourself with everything that you need to know about the martial art. You must realize that the practice of aikido starts once you have entered the “dojo” or the place where demonstrations, teachings, and training take place.

The aikido trainees are instructed and expected to exercise and observe proper etiquette at all times. Here are some guidelines for those you have just started exercising or training for aikido:

1. Attendance is important and a must. Indeed, the only way for you to improve in aikido is by attending regular classes and continuous training. Although attendance is not mandatory in most dojos, you better keep in mind that for you to learn and master aikido, you must be there when you have training so you wouldn’t miss any of the aikido teachings and trainings.

Most aikido practitioners suggest that for a student to advance in aikido, he or she should practice at least twice a week. Aside from not missing out something, attending aikido classes regularly can also help you cultivate self-discipline.

2. Make your training your own responsibility. Just like in any martial art training, Aikido requires attention and dedication from you. And since you are the one who is interested in learning the martial, you should also be the one in-charge of your own exercise and training. Once you have decided to practice Aikido, it is given that you should be the one who is responsible for your proficiency and improvement.

Although instructors and senior students will be there to guide you, they wouldn’t be the one responsible for your improvement. So if you really want to improve in this martial art, make sure that you observe effectively before asking for any help and that you try to learn the techniques on your own first before you partake in any demonstration.

3. Bear in mind that Aikido training includes more than one technique. Aside from the physical demonstrations, training in aikido includes observation and modification of both physical and psychological patterns of the students’ thought and behavior. Since there are so many techniques to learn, an aikido student should be ready to react to circumstances so he or she can cultivate awareness.

4. Memorize the basic teachings and principles of the martial art. Aikido is known as one of the non-aggressive means of self-defense. That is why most aikido trainings involve cooperative activities.

In order to learn and excel in the martial art, you must be cooperative enough with your partner so you will both reap the benefits of aikido. Make sure that you’re careful when training and practicing aikido because some of the techniques can kill or damage when not practice judiciously.

5. Be prepared for anything and everything. Exercising, teaching, and training in Aikido is not simple. Because of the dynamic nature of the martial art, it can be very frustrating if you haven’t prepared yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Part of the training is learning to cope with frustrations that come along the training.

The best solution whenever frustration sets in is that the practitioner should observe what is or are the possible causes of this frustration and how can they overcome these challenges. They should avoid comparing themselves with others and continue improving their techniques.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Aikido in Everyday Life

The modern martial art from Japan called Aikido is often referred to as the “art of peace” because it espouses a quick peaceful end to any form of aggression. In the practice place of Aikido, usually called dojo, students will be able to learn about flexibility and adaptation. Both of these are results of a relaxed manner that Aikido students strive to embody.

The reason why being relaxed and calm is taught in Aikido practice is because at the heart of its principles of spirituality and philosophy, Aikido masters and instructors believe that the ki or ch’i or energy can only truly flow in its complete potential energy when one is relaxed. It is in this relaxed state that ki flows freely and smoothly. This philosophy that ki is a force that is very strong and fundamental.

It is believed to be superior to muscle and physical strength, which sometimes hinders the ki. In fact, in Aikido, instead of muscle and strength building, flexibility and endurance is part of the Aikido martial art training. Now, it said that to be able to truly harness the power of the ki, it must be allowed to flow. It can only flow properly within us when we are in a relaxed state. The relaxed state cannot be built like muscles through exercise. A spiritual journey must be taken upon by an Aikido student to be able to achieve the state of calm and peace that is vital in combat.

In constant defense and fear, we tend to be too busy to concentrate and are easily distracted. Aikido stresses this fact and so it teaches its students to remain calm in the face of an assault. Remaining calm puts an advantage over the assailant because you will not be caught of guard and unaware and therefore will not be toppled over or thrown. More advanced techniques teach students not only to fall properly, but also to be able to rebound and plant a counter attack as one rises from a fall.

Beyond combat and the dojo however, Aikido masters and instructors cultivate the development of spirituality and character within Aikido students so that they can apply Aikido principles everyday in life. True understanding of Aikido simultaneously promotes better performance in practice combats as well as in performance in everyday life.

Aikido everyday in life is akin to having an unshakable peace and calm that enables you to have the strength needed to withstand even the toughest of life’s challenges. Remember that Aikido teaches students about flexibility, adaptability, calm and clarity. All these are useful tools in dealing with life, so say Aikido practitioners.

Some Aikido martial artists tend to relate Aikido combat principles to everyday life like work, play and personal relationships. This results in a true oneness in the practice of Aikido everyday in life. In Aikido training, there is such a thing as uke and nage. One cannot exist without the other. Uke makes an assault on nage and consequently is the receiver of the Aikido technique which nage uses to neutralize uke’s attack energy with. In training using uke and nage, one will be able to get better in Aikido techniques by learning from each other and gaining each others strengths and battling each others weaknesses together.

If this is something that you want to cultivate in your life then Aikido everyday in life is something that you might want to take up and learn.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Where to Practice Aikido

Aikido is the modern Japanese martial art developed between the 1920 to 1960 by Morihei Ueshiba who was said to have been influenced by Omoto-kyo. It is the pacifist nature of Omoto-kyo that is said to be the fundamental principle of this “art of peace” martial art form.

This particular martial art espouses relaxation and peace to be able to execute the Aikido techniques and moves properly. Through authentic Aikido training, the practitioner is expected to develop spiritually and philosophically and this should reflect in their ability to employ Aikido martial art techniques in an Aikido dojo.

Dojo is the Japanese term for a formal training structure for martial arts. A truly authentic and traditional Aikido dojo is used only as a place for formal and symbolic gatherings, and is rarely used a place to actually train. The actual Aikido training from a traditional dojo is done outdoors in a less formal setting.

A modern day Aikido dojo however loses most of its formality. Most of the time, there is no distinction from an Aikido dojo to the actual place of training and practice. In fact, in most cases, the two are one and the same.

Some of the modern Aikido dojo that are run by small groups of individuals who want to remain authentic to the spirit of the traditional dojo, students conduct a cleaning ritual after each training session. This is done not just for hygienic purposes but it is done also to reinforce that the dojo is made up and run by the Aikido students rather than the institutions that put them up.

Most traditional dojo observes a set pattern of precise entrances that need to be adhered to by the students depending on their rank. Students will commonly enter the dojo from the lower left corner while instructors will enter from the upper right corner. The traditional dojo also contain certain artifacts and objects to enhance the formal gatherings. For instance, a traditional dojo may have a place for a Shinto shrine and a spectator area for special visitors.

These traditional practices however may only be found in Japan in a few remaining Aikido dojo. Today, to learn and be a student of Aikido, one must find an Aikido dojo conveniently near you to be able to attend practice regularly.

More than the actual structure of the Aikido dojo however, you must choose the right one to attend to be able to suite your needs. It is also probably important to note and find out whether the Aikido dojo you are planning to attend remains true to the authentic teachings of Aikido, which lies in the principle of peace and relaxation to enable to ki to flow.

Aikido is a martial art form that paradoxically promotes a peaceful end to aggression through various Aikido techniques. It might be prudent to find an Aikido dojo that will continue to uphold its spirituality and philosophy. A relaxed demeanor is key to being able to perform advance Aikido techniques.

The relaxed manner is not something one can build through exercise like muscles. It is something that must be cultivated from within and maintained without. For this purpose, it would probably be good to keep the Aikido spirit in mind when find an Aikido dojo to join and learn Aikido martial arts from.

May 21, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Using Aikido in Combat

Everyone has the power of life or death in one’s hands. It is the decision of the individual to slow down when pedestrians are crossing or whether to pull the trigger when going on a duck hunt.

Unfortunately, there are certain elements in society who will cause harm in order to get money instead of working for it. The person can become a victim when walking to the car after doing some shopping or when coming home late from work.

The police may not always be there to assist so it is best to be prepared always. One way to be prepared is learning a martial art. The individual does not have to be as good as Bruce Lee to kick butt but simply learn what it takes to deliver a good punch.

One of the more popular and yet very peaceful is aikido. This is because in combat, the person doesn’t strike the opponent with the intent to injure or kill. The objective is merely to subdue the opponent with minimum force to be able to get to safety.

There are various Dojos all across the country that teach aikido. The person can sign up in one and then move up the ranks.

Beginners will first work use techniques based in the shape of a square. As the skills develop, the person will move up to triangle and then eventually circle. This will take months so the student must be committed throughout the entire process.

The objective of this is for the person to be able to the various techniques with the least amount of effort unlike before. This will give the person enough energy in combat should there be more than one opponent.

The things done in practice such as the holds, grips and falls can never be compared with what happens in the streets. This is because an inexperienced person may try something different so the individual should be prepared for anything.

It is a good thing though that various competitions are held regularly so that one’s combat skills can be tested.  The student can sign up especially if the dojo usually participates in such tournaments.

While in practice or during competition, the person should lower the tempo to prevent injuring the partner. After all, the real battle is out there in the streets and should only be used as a last resort.

There may even come a time that the assailant could be someone also skilled in the martial arts. The only way to win will be to use the mind since this will allow the individual to react faster in the middle of a fight.

There are various secrets in aikido. This can be from the hand to eye coordination, the flexibility of the wrist, the breathing and the speed. All of these things will count for something as the person is in combat struggling in a life or death situation.

There is a line that goes, “no pain, no gain.” Unfortunately, this will happen in order to be good at aikido since the one who has the competitive edge will be the victor in any battle. The person can do well in any combat situation as long as one is guided by senior students and the Sensei and believes in his or herself.

Using Aikido in Combat

Everyone has the power of life or death in one’s hands. It is the decision of the individual to slow down when pedestrians are crossing or whether to pull the trigger when going on a duck hunt.

Unfortunately, there are certain elements in society who will cause harm in order to get money instead of working for it. The person can become a victim when walking to the car after doing some shopping or when coming home late from work.

The police may not always be there to assist so it is best to be prepared always. One way to be prepared is learning a martial art. The individual does not have to be as good as Bruce Lee to kick butt but simply learn what it takes to deliver a good punch.

One of the more popular and yet very peaceful is aikido. This is because in combat, the person doesn’t strike the opponent with the intent to injure or kill. The objective is merely to subdue the opponent with minimum force to be able to get to safety.

There are various Dojos all across the country that teach aikido. The person can sign up in one and then move up the ranks.

Beginners will first work use techniques based in the shape of a square. As the skills develop, the person will move up to triangle and then eventually circle. This will take months so the student must be committed throughout the entire process.

The objective of this is for the person to be able to the various techniques with the least amount of effort unlike before. This will give the person enough energy in combat should there be more than one opponent.

The things done in practice such as the holds, grips and falls can never be compared with what happens in the streets. This is because an inexperienced person may try something different so the individual should be prepared for anything.

It is a good thing though that various competitions are held regularly so that one’s combat skills can be tested.  The student can sign up especially if the dojo usually participates in such tournaments.

While in practice or during competition, the person should lower the tempo to prevent injuring the partner. After all, the real battle is out there in the streets and should only be used as a last resort.

There may even come a time that the assailant could be someone also skilled in the martial arts. The only way to win will be to use the mind since this will allow the individual to react faster in the middle of a fight.

There are various secrets in aikido. This can be from the hand to eye coordination, the flexibility of the wrist, the breathing and the speed. All of these things will count for something as the person is in combat struggling in a life or death situation.

There is a line that goes, “no pain, no gain.” Unfortunately, this will happen in order to be good at aikido since the one who has the competitive edge will be the victor in any battle. The person can do well in any combat situation as long as one is guided by senior students and the Sensei and believes in his or herself.

May 21, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment