What’s Aikido ? 7 Important Tips to enjoy Aikido!

What’s Aikido? 7 Important Tips to enjoy Aikido!

(flickr By L’oeil étranger)

I remember seeing Aikido on TV when I was a teenager. That TV program really shook me up. The show gave me an impression of magic and illusion and it remained in my mind as I grew older. Eight years ago, I have decided to have a crack at Aikido and it still remains a part of my life. My experiences show that anyone who wants to understand or experience SAMURAI SOUL should take Aikido lessons. This experience was valuable even for me, as Japanese. If you take part in lessons, you can feel what Aikido is, indeed, and what the SAMURAI SOUL is.



 

What’s Aikido ? 7 Important Tips to enjoy Aikido!

 

1. Its origin and History

During 1920s, Morihei Ueshiba invented motions and created a philosophy for martial arts, later on called Ai-ki. Aikido, that was founded by him, became one of well-known Japanese martial arts. Then Japanese government officially approved and sponsored organizing Aikikai foundation in 1940. In 1948, Kisshomaru (son of Morihei Ueshiba) took over as the organizer after his father passed away. At present, Moriteru (son of kisshomaru Ueshiba) has been organizing the major group since 1999 after his father passed away. Nowadays, there are many practitioners throughout of the world. There are approximately 1.6 million members of Aikikai foundation including the ones overseas and other derived, similar schools. Morihei Ueshiba’s philosophy (the peace and reconciliation of the world) lives on.

 

2. Like Yoga and Pilates

Aikido motions require a correct movement of each joints and a relaxation of physical condition. You have to keep flexibility of your body for extending movements on a daily basis. But it does not require muscular strength. These elements are similar to Yoga or Pilates.The only difference is that Aikido’s purpose is fight, and not only fitness training.

 

3. Meaning Uke and Tori

Meanings of Uke and Tori are an essential part of Aikido. A first attacker, called Uke, tries to hit or grab the opponent called Tori, then Tori throws or locks attacker’s joints by making good use of the attacking energy. This presents an amazing scene that is happening in front of your eyes because defensive side takes the initiative in an instant, rather than offensive side. This is like a magic and an illusion that I’ve mentioned earlier. Fighting matches are not part of the Aikido. There is no winner or loser. You just become Uke or Tori.

 

4. Sword Fighter’s motions and spirits

Its peculiar motions were found out from the movements of a traditional swordsmanship. Morihei Ueshiba studied a skill of sword fighting and discovered some hints in it. It is important to keep some distance from the opponent and move using our foot. Also, keeping relaxed mental condition even under dangerous circumstances is another outstanding skill of theirs. That might show the great spirits they have.

 

5. Dan and Kyu

The rankings are divided into two stages from Kyu to Dan. Beginner starts 5th-8th Kyu (grade). If you improve your skills, you can be promoted to higher Kyu. The highest Kyu is 1st grade. An advanced stage is called Dan. It starts 1st Dan (degree). As you improve your skills, you get higher degree. At present, the highest Dan is 9th Dan (degree). A person with the Kyu grade wears a white uniform with white belt and a person with Dan degree wears a white uniform and black hakama with black belt. So you can immediately tell who has Dan, who has Kyu. Hakama is a long pleated skirt worn over a kimono.

 

6. Popularity and criticism

Aikido enjoys a good reputation all over the world because of Morihei’s peaceful philosophy. However, some critics say that it is not martial art, Uke looks sloppy or a lacks realism. That is exactly like a magic and an illusion that I mentioned before. If you give it a try and take part in lessons, you will recognize that it is real.

 

7. Women and children

Self-defense is one of Aikido’s concepts. So many women and children take part in lessons.It also attracts people of various ages. I have seen 6-year-old kids as well as people who are over 70 years old practicing Aikido.

 

Conclusion

If you can’t decide where you should join the lessons, why don’t you go to Shinjuku in Tokyo? There is a headquarter building of Aikikai foundation at wakamatsu-cho. That place is very international so you can get any information about it. The major public demonstration of all Japanese Aikido is held annually at Nippon Budokan and it is organized by Aikikai foundation. It is the largest demonstration in Japan. If you want to be SUMURAI, you have to be there.

 

What’s Aikido ? 7 Important Tips to enjoy Aikido!

1. Its origin and History
2. Like Yoga and Pilates
3. Meaning Uke and Tori
4. Sword Fighter’s motions and spirits
5. Dan and Kyu
6. Popularity and criticism
7. Women and children