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Thursday, May 23, 2024

About Aikido

Aikido Banner largeAikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his studies in martial art, philosophy, and religion. Aikido is often translated as "the way of harmony", the word aikido however consits of 3 parts:

  • Ai, which means 'to match'.
  • ki means' energy' or 'spirit'. It also refers to the life force or essence of life.
  • do, which means 'way' or 'path'.

It was only in 1942 that Morihei Ueshiba decided on the name Aikido for the new martial art he had created. Until then he had called it aikibudo (budo = 'the martial way', which is the Japanese term used for martial arts in general) or aikinomichi (no michi = 'the way of').

Ueshiba was trying to achieve harmony as a spiritual concept and how to apply this to the way he looked at martial arts. At  this time, the goal of most forms of martial arts was to kill or incapacitate the attacker as quickly and efficiently as possible. Ueshiba wanted to create an alternative by developing a form that practitioners could use to defend themselves effectively while at the same time also protecting their attacker from injury.

On the technical side, Aikido is rooted in several styles of jujitsu (from which modern Judo and Ju-Jutsu / Ju-Jitsu are also derived), in particular daitoryu-(aiki)jujitsu, as well as sword and spear fighting arts. Many movements in Aikido represent the empty handed equivalent of sword techniques, which becomes especially obvious in the Tegatana dosa exercise.

Aikido makes use of body movement (tai sabaki) to blend with the attacker. For example, an "entering" (irimi) technique consists of movements inward towards the attacker, while a "turning" (tenkan) technique uses a pivoting motion. Additionally, an "inside" (uchi) technique takes place in front of the attacker, whereas an "outside" (soto) technique takes place to his side; a "front" (omote) technique is applied with a forward motion and a "rear" (ura) version is applied with backwards movement, usually by incorporating a turning or pivoting motion.

Thus, from a very limited number of basic techniques, there are thousands of possible implementations and combinations. 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).

As a result, there is not one defined way of Aikido but over time everyone practicing Aikido will develop his or her own way based on body stature and personal preferences. Ueshiba actually encouraged his master students to seek and define their own way of Aikido.


Dojo Address:
North Ryde RSL Youth Club
Cnr Magdala Rd & Pittwater Rd
North Ryde
NSW 2113

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