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Where to Practice Aikido | Practicing the Art of Peace | Weapons in Aikido

Where to Practice Aikido | Practicing the Art of Peace | Weapons in Aikido


Where to Practice Aikido | Practicing the Art of Peace | Weapons in Aikido




Aikido is the modern Japanese martial art developed between the 1920 to 1960 by Morihei Ueshiba who was said to have been influenced by Omoto-kyo. It is the pacifist nature of Omoto-kyo that is said to be the fundamental principle of this "art of peace" martial art form.


Where to Practice Aikido



This particular martial art espouses relaxation and peace to be able to execute the Aikido techniques and moves properly. Through authentic Aikido training, the practitioner is expected to develop spiritually and philosophically and this should reflect in their ability to employ Aikido martial art techniques in an Aikido dojo.


Dojo is the Japanese term for a formal training structure for martial arts. A truly authentic and traditional Aikido dojo is used only as a place for formal and symbolic gatherings, and is rarely used a place to actually train. The actual Aikido training from a traditional dojo is done outdoors in a less formal setting.


A modern day Aikido dojo however loses most of its formality. Most of the time, there is no distinction from an Aikido dojo to the actual place of training and practice. In fact, in most cases, the two are one and the same.


Some of the modern Aikido dojo that are run by small groups of individuals who want to remain authentic to the spirit of the traditional dojo, students conduct a cleaning ritual after each training session. This is done not just for hygienic purposes but it is done also to reinforce that the dojo is made up and run by the Aikido students rather than the institutions that put them up. 


Most traditional dojo observes a set pattern of precise entrances that need to be adhered to by the students depending on their rank. Students will commonly enter the dojo from the lower left corner while instructors will enter from the upper right corner. The traditional dojo also contain certain artifacts and objects to enhance the formal gatherings. For instance, a traditional dojo may have a place for a Shinto shrine and a spectator area for special visitors.


These traditional practices however may only be found in Japan in a few remaining Aikido dojo. Today, to learn and be a student of Aikido, one must find an Aikido dojo conveniently near you to be able to attend practice regularly. 


More than the actual structure of the Aikido dojo however, you must choose the right one to attend to be able to suite your needs. It is also probably important to note and find out whether the Aikido dojo you are planning to attend remains true to the authentic teachings of Aikido, which lies in the principle of peace and relaxation to enable to ki to flow. 


Aikido is a martial art form that paradoxically promotes a peaceful end to aggression through various Aikido techniques. It might be prudent to find an Aikido dojo that will continue to uphold its spirituality and philosophy. A relaxed demeanor is key to being able to perform advance Aikido techniques. 


The relaxed manner is not something one can build through exercise like muscles. It is something that must be cultivated from within and maintained without. For this purpose, it would probably be good to keep the Aikido spirit in mind when find an Aikido dojo to join and learn Aikido martial arts from. 


Practicing the Art of Peace

Aikido is a modern martial art that is founded by spirituality and philosophy influenced by the Omoto-kyo religion associated with the Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba. The etymology of the word Aikido stems from three Japanese characters. "Ai" literally means joining, with "ki" meaning something like spirit, and "do" meaning way. Loosely translated then, the meaning of Aikido is the way of joining the spirit.


The Aikido way is to align body and mind with the spirit or ki and it said that the only way to be able to do this is through cultivating a relaxed state. It is in this relaxed state that nothing is forced or contrived so the mind and body naturally join the spirit or energy and everything becomes one. It is this oneness and cultivation of relaxation that this martial art paradoxically gets referred to as the art of peace.Its founder Ueshiba was a pacifist and it is said that he taught Aikido as a peaceful means to end aggression. 

Although spiritual and philosophical development is important in Aikido training, it has to be put to practical means and examples in actual practice of Aikido techniques and methods.Aikido training usually consists of two parties. 



The first is called uke or the receiving body and the other is known as nage (although this term varies depending on the Aikido style being taught) who gives the technique being taught. 

This concept of uke and nage can be likened to the Chinese yin and yang because in Aikido, uke and nage are not separate entities. They are two parts of one where the Aikido training can be learned with give and take from both parties.For instance, one of the first techniques taught in Aikido training is how to throw and fall safely. It is the task of nage to prevent injury to uke so he can learn to land safely when thrown. 

Furthermore, in Aikido training, the receiver or uke usually initiates an attack against the nage whose aim is to neutralize the assault with an Aikido move or technique.This way, both the uke and nage learn from each other and the Aikido training is not successfully executed without oneness between the two. It is in the give and take of these two entities in Aikido training that the principles of ki and other fundamentals of Aikido techniques are learned. 

Such fundamentals are the principles of adapting, flexibility, calmness and blending. In the case of uke and nage, Aikido training teaches uke to be more flexible and relaxed so that nage will not be able to catch them unaware and throw them off balance. On the other hand, nage learns to blend and adapt to be able to control and assuage the assaulting energy from uke.Aikido training however is not exclusive to practice and parries between just two parties. In fact, Aikido training involves instruction for multiple attackers. 


This is called randori and is a vital and required lesson to be learned in higher levels of Aikido training. The Aikido training for multiple attacks is done "freestyle" where a person can further expand their knowledge by practicing and performing Aikido techniques beyond the structured environment of the uke and nage. These are only two methods of Aikido training. There are many other training methods and techniques that follow the core value of Aikido. 



Weapons in Aikido



Aikido is one of the traditional forms of martial arts that combine both the body and the mind. It does not only emphasize the use of physical skills but also the spirituality of practitioners and those who wish to learn the art. 


Aikido is a technique that incorporates moves that are more defensive than offensive. In fact, it seeks not to injure but to prevent or stop a person. This is perhaps why there is rarely a weapon used in the sport. The martial arts is made up mostly of movements and techniques. Still, there are some, who are already advanced, that go into weapons training. Weapons that are used in aikido are the tanto, the wooden jo and the bokken. Often, techniques in taking weapons from opponents and keeping the weapon practitioners are using are taught. 


More than specific weapons, practitioners of aikido rely mostly on the moves that they are being taught with. Their mastery of these movements are their weapons against people who wish to do them harm. 


Below is a rundown of the movements and techniques taught in aikido



Ikkyo


This is the most basic movement in aikido. In fact, it is the first to be taught. Ikkyo makes use of control in the grip by applying hand grip on the elbow and near the wrist. The grip can apply pressure on the ulnar, a medial portion of the arm.    


Atemi


Atemi are feints or strikes that are used as attacks against the vital points o the body. This movement is meant to cause much damage; so it is rarely being used in aikido. Still, if there is a need, one can use atemi in fighting your way out of brawls. It can also be used as a form of distraction. Atemis can take your opponent by surprise and break his concentration by providing a startling incident. When used the right way, it can also ruin your opponent’s balance, which can provide an opportunity for you to strike or to run away.   


Another form of strikes that can be used in aikido is the kick. This is however not used as often. Aikido does not encourage the use of kicks because injuries brought on by these kinds of movements may be too dangerous. Also, kicks are not so common in feudal Japan, where aikido originated. 


Here are some forms of strikes that are often used


face-thrust – Although the aikido name, Ganmen-tsuki, can be quite complicated, it is basically a punch directed to the face. 


Front-face – Called Shomenuchi in aikido language, it is characterized by a vertical knife strike to the head of the opponent. 


Side-face – Also termed Yokomenuchi, this strike is done by making a diagonal knife-hand strike at the side of the neck or the side of the head of the opponent. 


Chest-thrust – Called Mune-tsuki, this is basically a punch to the torso, targeting the chest, the solar plexus and the abdomen 


Attacks 

Although attacks are basically not encouraged in the study of aikido, teachers still see the need for it should circumstances warrant a more offensive technique. One example of an attack used in aikido is the immobilizing grab, which is often used when opponents wield weapons.  


Grabs

This is one of the most basic techniques in aikido. It is considered safer and easier to do. It is a technique used to free one’s hand, rid your opponents’ of their weapon or to immobilize a person. 


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