Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba in the early 1900’s. Morihei Ueshiba was called O-Sensei, Great Teacher, by his students because of his great martial skills and the power of his spirit. O-Sensei mastered several martial arts including Soo Jutsu (spear), Ken Jutsu (sword), and Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. The study of Daito Ryu with Sookaku Takeda Sensei was very important in the development of Aikido. In addition O-Sensei’s involvement with Oonisaburo Deguchi the leader of the Oomoto-kyoo peace religion added a deeper spiritual center to O-Sensei’s Aiki-Budo.
Aikido is first and foremost a Budo, a pure martial art. There are no contests. There are no winners or losers. No matter what age, rank or sex, all practitioners work together to become better. Harmony and balance are the cornerstones of Aikido. There is a balance between Nage, one who defends, and Uke, one who attacks. Students are thrown as much as throw, no matter what their level.
There are both physical and spiritual benefits to this kind of balanced practice. Physically Aikidoka, Aikido students, are in constant movement. This provides a great cardiovascular workout, as well making a strong and flexible body. Spiritually Aikidoka move together, not in competition. This cooperation allows honest practice with out fear or ego. When a higher ranking Aikidoka takes Ukemi for a newer practitioner they are returning the respect given by the newer student. The experienced student bows down to help lift new student up. This exchange between the two returns Senpai, experienced student, to his roots and lets Kohei, new student, learn from the superiors’ experience. This is the natural learning cycle; from old to new.
Aikido training can provide real world self-defense. With Aikido, attacks are not blocked or stopped. The circular, flowing techniques redirect the power of an attack so to neutralize a size or strength advantage a larger person might have. Although there is no Kumite, free sparing, in Aikido, by blending with an attack and continuing the movement students can find opportunities for attack, Tsuki, in both herself and her partner. In Aikido practice offense and defense become one in the same. Weaknesses and strengths become increasingly self evident, inspiring the student to constantly train harder.
All of these factors and more make Aikido practice challenging, fun, and rewarding.
Aikido at ABC
Aikido is an incredibly diverse Martial Art. Move slowly and Aikido can appear like Yoga or Tai chi. Move quickly and Aikido can be explosive and dangerous, like Karate or Judo. At ABC we explore every aspect of Aikido, from Ki building and meditation to powerful strikes and strong locks. All classes emphasize Kihon, Basics. All advanced techniques are built upon the understanding of Kihon. There is a saying in Budo, “You can’t build a castle on sand.” Although true understanding of Budo takes a lifetime, students should learn something useful and interesting each class.
The most important characteristic of training at ABC is the emphasis on co-operation over competition. The people we work with are our “partners,” not enemies. All other modern Budo have a competitive part, only Aikido does not. This is because in order to increase our Ki we must trust our partners and you can’t trust a person who is trying to “beat” you. Kishomaru Doshu said competition can fuel, “egotism, self-concern, and disregard for others…. There is nothing more detrimental to budo, whose ultimate aim is to become free of self, attain no-self, and thus realize what is truly human.” At ABC we follow this concept. (Winning and losing can damage the ego)
“Practice begins and ends with Rei.” Budo is not a Sport. So, with that in mind Japanese dojo Rei, etiquette, is closely followed at ABC. Often one part of Rei, such as proper bowing, would be explained and practiced in Japan. Although Japanese etiquette can be difficult for people to understand, without Rei there is no budo. (Lortie Sensei has written a extensive guide for members to read so they can start off on the right foot.)
Aikido has more techniques, and more way to practice them, than any other modern budo. Tachiwaza, standing techniques, Hamni Handachi, standing vs sitting, Suwari waza, sitting vs sitting. Aikido includes strikes, grabs, and chokes in all the different waza above. (have links to video)
Ukemi is half of Aikido practice and if not done correctly can make doing Aikido useless or even dangerous.
Lortie Sensei is an Ukemi specialist. He is an regular uke for Seki Sensei, 8th dan and the top student (deshi?) for Yokota Sensei, 7th dan. Taking ukemi for Yokota Sensei at the All Japan Aikido Demonstration 15 times (years?, make links to video)at the Nippon Budokan. Lortie Sensei uses his 25 years of experience to create special exercises, explanations, and ukemi practice that make a core part of Aikido at ABC.
Weapons are one of the unique features of Aikido at ABC. Traditional weapons such as Ken (Sword), Jo (Staff), Tanto (knife), and Iado for Aikido are part of the regular training and we also have weapons only classes to provide our students the very best in Aikido training.
Lortie Sensei created “Aikido in the Modern Context,” that is the traditional Aikido he learned in Japan but taking into account of other martial arts and self-defense. Students will take part in separate Striking and Self-Defense seminars done at ABC as part of the promotion process. Karate, Judo, Boxing, Wrestling, Jujutsu, and other Budo will be practiced to give students a deeper and broader understanding of Aikido and Self-Defense.
Aikido at ABC is for students who would like to become professional teachers as well as causal practitioners.