Although aikido is a relatively recent innovation within the world of
martial arts, it is heir to a rich cultural and philosophical background.
Aikido was created in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Before
creating aikido, Ueshiba trained extensively in several varieties of
jujitsu, as well as sword and spear fighting. Ueshiba also immersed
himself in religious studies and developed an ideology devoted to
universal socio-political harmony. Incorporating these principles into
his martial art, Ueshiba developed many aspects of aikido in concert
with his philosophical and religious ideology.
Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of
self-cultivation and improvement. Aikido has no tournaments,
competitions, contests, or "sparring." Instead, all aikido techniques
are learned cooperatively at a pace commensurate with the abilities
of each trainee. According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not
the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics
which inhabit one's own mind and inhibit its functioning.
At the same time, the potential of aikido as a means of self-defense
should not be ignored. One reason for the prohibition of competition
in aikido is that many aikido techniques would have to be excluded
because of their potential to cause serious injury. By training
cooperatively, even potentially lethal techniques can be practiced
without substantial risk.
It must be emphasized that there are no shortcuts to proficiency in
aikido (or in anything else, for that matter). Consequently, attaining
proficiency in aikido is simply a matter of sustained and dedicated
training. No one becomes an expert in just a few months or years.
(Taken from the Aikido Primer by Eric Sotnak)
The movement of Aikido is the dynamic movement of the universal
energy forces. The power of Aikido is the power of a strong and
unified spirit, mind and body moving in harmony with everything
around it. Its origin is Budo. Its development is the result of two
thousand years of a cultural process of change and refinement, a
continuing martial contest of natural selection. It is an evolution
etched in blood.
The study of Budo and the development of Aikido was the life work
of Morihei Ueshiba, a figure of great renown who traveled the length
and breadth of Japan studying under the greatest masters of many
arts. Hard work, severe discipline and all the money he could earn
were poured into his mastery of the sword, the spear and the arts of
self-defense. Deeply interested in the study of spiritual thought, he
also practiced many different spiritual disciplines. Still, he was as yet
unable to unite his spiritual beliefs with his physical
A short time after returning from military action in the Russo-
Japanese War, he retired to a small house located on a mountain
outside his village. There he lived and studied silently; his days spent
training his body and his nights spent deep in prayer. It was at the
end of this time of severe training that he had the realization he had
been seeking all of his life. At that moment, nature's process became
clear and he knew that the source of Budo is the spirit of protection
of all things.
"Budo is not felling the opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the
world into destruction by arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of
the universe, keep the peace of the world, and correctly produce,
protect and cultivate all beings in nature."
Morihei Ueshiba intimately recognized and understood the harmony
and power of the creative process from which all things evolve. His
art was the sword; his creative way was Budo. His understanding
and enlightenment is creatively expressed by the protection of all life
through a powerful and graphic application of universal truth. Aikido
is creation, not destruction. It is a positive energy, which creates
harmony and justice out of violence.
To talk of harmony and justice is simple. To apply those principles to
the conflicts which we face every day, though, requires a deep
understanding and sincere trust. Logic may tell us that truth lies
within the process of harmony, but the moment something of value
rests on the outcome of a situation, we no longer trust that logic. The
beautiful ideas and eloquent phrases are forgotten under the
pressures of reality. In philosophy, a theory of truth is expressed in
words, but the truth of Aikido is expressed in action and the theory
proven in practice. By the physical application of its principles we
develop a deeper understanding in the heart instead of the mind.
Through practice and experience, we learn to trust its power.
Aikido training is to challenge yourself, not the other. You will develop
confidence by facing your fears, and negative fighting spirit will
become creative fighting spirit. The stress and pressure of serious
Aikido training brings this spirit to the surface, exposing it so that it
can be examined and refined in a controlled atmosphere of respect
and mutual study.
Discovering your physical limitations will cause you to reflect on the
deepest meanings of harmony and conflict, and to strive for a level
of consciousness above the selfish ego, closer to a universal
The physical movement of Aikido is the embodiment of the principles
of the spirit. Negative force is not met with conflict, but joined,
controlled and redirected through the power and balance of spiral
movement. This is the shape of Aikido and the dynamic shape at the
foundation of all the energies of existence. Aikido movement can
only be understood from its roots in universal law and the processes
of nature. Its sincere practice and study deepens our appreciation for
the perfection of nature's balance and brings us back into harmony
with our environment, with other people, and with ourselves.
This is the essence of Budo. It is not the art of fighting, of narrow
technique, but an art of personal refinement and of protecting the
quality of life. Aikido is first and always Budo. Without the heart of a
warrior and the deep desire to protect society, to protect all life,
Aikido becomes an empty dance. Budo is its spirit.
Aikido is not a sport. It is a discipline, an educational process for
training the mind, body and spirit. An Aikido dojo is not a
gymnasium. It is the place where the way of the discipline is
revealed. Physical technique is not the final objective, but a tool for
personal refinement and spiritual growth. The correct attitude of
respect, sincerity and modesty, and the proper atmosphere are
essential to the learning process. And as Aikido is a martial way, they
are essential to the safety of each individual. The customary rules are
necessary to the maintenance of this atmosphere and vital to your
study of Aikido.
We all live two lives The one we learn from And the one we live after that…
The path to true happiness lay in suffering
Ordinary men hate solitude But the Master makes use of this Embracing his aloneness
Realizing he is one with the whole universe Lao-Tzu
Black belt test at our dojo in Chicago aikido
Winter seminar in Sarasota Florida for Aikido schools of ueshiba
This video is an exploration of motion and control as demonstrated by ASU 6th Dan, Kevin Choate of Chicago Aikikai.
Tetsutaka Sugawara Sensei Demonstrating Jo Kata
In 2003, Sugawara Sensei introduced the Taichi style Aikido 42 Forms. The kata, which is a series of Aikido techniques, was formed in just over 2 days
A CBS News team covering the 1989 protests in Beijing recorded a man stopping a Chinese tank in Tiananmen Square. This image would become one of the most iconic of all time.
We commemorate Remembrance Day with a new program, The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge: Desmond Doss. Desmond Doss made a name for himself---by saving lives. He refused to bear arms or carry a weapon---in the midst of constant enemy fire. He was unwilling to take a life or even so much as touch a weapon. He did however say that he would be proud to serve his country as a medic if they would let him. He was the conscientious objector who chose to fight – fight in a way that would help people.
These are the fearsome warriors who have achieved the near-impossible.
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