West Denver BJJ
October 4, 2020
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The Birth of Aikido

Author: Administrator
The name 'Aikido' is created by the permutation of three characters in the Japanese language. 'Ai', which means 'joining'; 'ki', which means 'spirit' and 'do', which signifies 'way'. These three characters actually sum up the essence of Aikido as a kind of martial art: 'the joining of the spirit to find the way'. It was only in the period from 1930's to the 1940's that the name Aikido was formally accepted as the name of this martial art variety.

Aikido uses ways that do not mortally injure or kill not like other kinds of martial art. The movements and skills being taught are just intended to divert attention or immobilize attackers. This is possibly the explanation why most people prefer Aikido, because of its focus on peace and harmony as opposed to violence and hostility. In deed, Aikido teacher, Morihei Ueshiba, is of the conviction that to control hostility without causing any harm is the art of peace.

Ueshiba, who is also called Osensei, which signifies 'Great Teacher', developed Aikido from the principles of Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu. He integrated the ways of the 'yari', the spear; the 'juken', the bayonet; and the 'jo', which is a short quarterstaff. But what finally distinguishes Aikido from other kinds of martial art is the fact that its practitioners can strike while empty-handed. Proponents need no weaponry for their protection.

As a small child, he was greatly into physical fitness and conditioning. This was because of his vow to avenge his father's attackers. Eventually, his studies and activities led him to the discipline of the different martial arts. He studied a few of them. He even has qualifications for fencing, fighting with spears, etc. He has studied it all. This is maybe the reason why Aikido is such a diverse and multi-disciplinary kind of martial art.

Yet in spite of his skill, he remained discontented. He felt that there was still something missing. It was then that he turned to the religions. He studied under a spiritual leader, Onisaburo Deguchi of the sect named Omoto-kyo in Ayabe. Deguchi taught him to take care of his psychic growth. He then combined his spiritual beliefs and his mastery of the different martial arts and Aikido was born.

His involvement with this charismatic spiritual leader Deguchi also paved the way for his introduction to the elite political and military people as a martial artist. Because of this association, he was able to launch Aikido and even pass on his knowledge to students, who have, in turn, created their own styles and techniques in Aikido.

Aikido is a blend of the diverse styles of jujitsu as well as some of the methods of sword and spear fighting, of which Ueshiba was an expert. To get an general idea, Aikido combines the joint locks and throws of jujitsu and the movements of the body necessary when fighting with swords 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 were studying judo. In 1952, Tadashi Abe came to France as the official Aikikai Honbu spokesperson. Then in 1953, Kenji Tomiki toured throughout 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 the United Kingdom two years after and in 1965, it reached Germany and Australia. At present, Aikido has centres all over the world.


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