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History and philosophy

History and philosophy of Aikido

Aikido was founded in Japan by Professor Morihei Uyeshiba, (1888-1969), often referred to as ‘O Sensei’. Prof. Uyeshiba dedicated much of his early life to physical and mental development through martial arts training, becoming a master in various forms of aikijutsu, as well as sword and spear fighting. However, as his life progressed he began an intense spiritual search which led him to question the nature of martial arts. He came to the realisation that for a trained individual to purposefully decimate an aggressor, even in defence, showed that individual to be functioning on the same primitive, violent level as his/her attacker. O Sensei believed that this reaction directly opposed the true nature of Budo or martial training, which was the cultivation of awareness and harmony with those around oneself, even in times of attack. As a result, Uyeshiba gave the remainder of his life to the development of an art whose techniques would directly reflect this noble philosophy and Aikido, (‘The way of Harmony’), was born.

The technical basis of Aikido is thought by some to have been heavily influenced by the Daito-Ryu school of aikijutsu. This unforgiving martial system was passed on to O Sensei by the infamous Sokaku Takeda, however Uyeshiba’s exposure to sword and spear techniques undoubtedly played a large role in the coordinated movements of the body as a unit, which are central to this art. As a result Aikido utilises modified aikijutsu wrist-locks, joint-pins and throws – but their application is dynamic, i.e. the Aikido practitioner does not try to meet an attack with a superior, stationary force but rather leads the attacker into a controlled position, or throw, through coordinated body movement and technique application. This utilisation of an attacker’s direction and force ultimately negates the need for physical strength making Aikido an effective martial system for both sexes of all ages.

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