What is Aikido?
Aikido is a modern Martial Art created by the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba. After the Founder’s passing, his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba was inaugurated as Aikido Doshu. At present, Moriteru Ueshiba has succeeded his father as Aikido Doshu. The Aikikai Foundation is an association that was established in order to support inheritance of Aikido created by the Founder, to train body and mind through Aikido and to promote Aikido. Today, Aikido has become established in 140 countries around the world.
The founder Morihei Ueshiba was born in Tanabe city in Wakayama prefecture. He had mastered several kinds of martial arts before beginning Aikido. He concluded that the true spirit of budo is not to be found in a competitive atmosphere where brute strength dominates and victory at any cost is the paramount objective. He concluded that it is to be realized in the quest for perfection as a human being, both in mind and body, through cumulative training and practice with kindred spirits in the martial arts. For him only such a true manifestation of budo can have a raison d’etre in the modern world, and when that quality exists, it lies beyond any particular culture or age.
His goal, deeply religious in nature, is summarized in a single statement: the unification of the fundamental creative principle, ki, permeating the universe, and the individual ki, inseparable from breath-power, of each person. Through constant training of mind and body, the individual ki harmonizes with the universal ki, and this unity appears in the dynamic, flowing movement of ki-power which is free and fluid, indestructible and invincible. This is the essence of Japanese martial arts as embodied in Aikido.
The subtle working of ki is the maternal source that affects delicate changes in breath. It is also the source of martial art as love. When one unifies mind and body by virtue of ki and manifests ai-ki (harmony of ki), delicate changes in breath-power occur spontaneously and waza (proper technique) flows freely.
Uniqueness of Aikido
Judo, Kendo (Japanese Swordsmanship), Kyudo (Japanese archery), Karate are well known martial arts in Japan. Aikido is the newest one.
Aikido is a form of self-defense. Various holding and throwing techniques are used to cause an attacker’s strength and weight to work against him or her. The following characteristics are unique to Aikido.
The word of “Doshu” (Master of Aikido)
The Founder said it was more important to harmonize with people than to win by depending on power. Switching from ‘skills of fighting’ to ‘harmony’ is the purpose of training. Love is all “Ki (life energy)” based on “En No Ugoki (circle movement)”, “Irimi (entering)”, “DoChuSei (quietness in turmoil)” and “Chushin (immovable center)” to train our skills with each other. There is no conflict in this training. Aikido is “a way to absolute self-accomplishment”.
It goes without saying that the fabulousness of Aikido techniques and philosophical principles created by the Founder is widely acknowledged. For such accomplishment, unsparing support of the Founder’s father (Yoroku Ueshiba), the foresights by seniors who passed Aikido down correctly to the next generations, Kisshomaru 2nd Doshu’s devotion to further propagation of Aikido based on the Founder’s teaching were necessary. For myself, I have been following their paths with many people’s support. I believe that all these made a larger and greater Aikido circle today.
I will continue to strive and to cherish the spirit of harmony, eliminating the walls of country, race and religion, to make an effort to have this great Aikido appreciated by a great number of people. Also, I hope I will contribute to the society as much as possible through Aikido.
Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu
By Masa Tamura