What is Aikido?

The Gentle Art of Devastation

Aikido (pronounced Eye Key Dough) is a martial art that traces its origins back hundreds of years to a secret ancient Japanese martial art called Aikijujutsu. Aikijujutsu is a system of defence and attack taught only to a select few Samurai and the Emperor’s bodyguard’s. This was the system taught by the AIZU CLAN at their family dojo called DAITO.

Morihei Ueshiba, Aikido's founder

Morihei Ueshiba

This system became known as DAITO RYU AIKI-JUJUTSU, and was taught initially only to the clan members and the Emperor’s bodyguards.

It was kept to this exclusive ‘club’ for hundreds of years then in the mid 19th century it began to be taught more openly but still only to high ranking officials, senior police and military officers.

At this time the head of the family was Sokaku Takeda. It was he that found a certain young man at one of his roving classes. This man was called MORIHEI UESHIBA, the father of modern Aikido.

Ueshiba was by that time already an accomplished martial arts practitioner but he was amazed at how effortless and graceful Aikijujutsu was and so took it upon himself to learn this system. Takeda was also impressed by Ueshiba’s ability and natural talent and decided to teach him. The rest, as they say is history! Ueshiba trained hard for only five years and then took what he had learned, blended it with the other systems he knew and Aikido was born.

The word AIKIDO literally translated means “the way of harmony with the inner self”. It relies on the practitioner’s ability to avoid and blend with an assailant’s attack, harnessing the aggressor’s strength and then using it against them by application of a joint manipulation, a throw or applying a pressure point control technique. So quite literally the bigger they are the harder they will fall! This is the beauty of Aikido. Size doesn’t matter.

The techniques themselves are performed in a spherical or elliptical way. This is known as “the dynamic sphere of aikido”. Blending with the attack instead of, like some martial arts, meeting force with force. Control is the key, the lack of uke’s balance and one’s own balance makes the technique easy to apply.

Strength is not the Aikido way.