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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Birth of Aikido

Posted by patrick

By Rhys Jones

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 really 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'30's to the'40's that the name Aikido was legally accepted as the name of this martial art variety.

Aikido utilizes methods that do not gravely injure or kill not like other kinds of martial art. The techniques and skills being taught are simply intended to distract attention or stop attackers. This is perhaps the reason why most people prefer Aikido, because of its concentration on peace and harmony as opposed to violence and conflict. In deed, Aikido developer, Morihei Ueshiba, believes that to control violence without causing any injury 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 much into physical fitness and conditioning. This was because of his vow to avenge his father's attackers. In due course, his studies and activities brought him to the discipline of the various martial arts. He studied many of them. He even has certificates for fencing, fighting with spears, etc. He has learned it all. This is possibly the explanation 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 relationship with this fascinating spiritual leader Deguchi also paved the path for his introduction to the elite political and military personnel as a martial artist. Because of this relationship, he was able to found Aikido and even pass on his knowledge to students, who have, in turn, created their own methods and techniques in Aikido.

Aikido is a blend of the different styles of jujitsu as well as some of the techniques of sword and spear fighting, of which Ueshiba was an expert. To obtain an general picture, Aikido combines the joint locks and throws of jujitsu and the techniques 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'51. He introduced the Aikido techniques to students who were studying judo. In'52, Tadashi Abe came to France as the official Aikikai Honbu spokesperson. Then in'53, 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'65, it reached Germany and Australia. At present, Aikido has centres all over the world.

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