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Aikido

 

Aikido is an art directed toward the coordination of your body rhythm and movements with those of your opponent, and it develops an efficient use of mind and body. It involves the physical skills of power, speed, coordination, and movement perception.

Technically, you attack your opponent's physiologically weak structural points, such as the vital spots and joints of the human body, as well as the dynamic weak points, such as the opponent's balance (i.e., when the opponent's balance is in flux.) For example, if your opponent is bigger than you and pushes against your chest, you will naturally lose your balance and fall down. But if, when the same opponent pushes you, your feet and body move backward faster than you are pushed, your opponent will lose balance in direct relation to the exertion of their own strength and may even fall down. If at this time you apply the techniques of Aikido, you need only the minimum of effort to achieve maximum results. Another example: When your opponent strikes at your face with a fist, you can avoid this blow by turning your body to either the left or the right so that the opponent will miss you, leaving their arm extended (a position commonly referred to as "dead of power"). At this time, it is easy to grasp the opponent and apply one of the techniques of your art. To take the advantage successfully, you must know your opponent's speed, attacking pattern, and direction of movement. Generally, the practice of Aikido presupposes non-resistance theory, non-violence, and non-aggression; it is an art that cultivates character and charisma without ego.

By practicing methods of both attack and defence, you train to control your opponent without harm. You learn to move cordially, responding to the opponent's power and actions, in order to achieve utmost competence. You learn to use your opponent's strength for your own advantage. Developing self-confidence and self- discipline, you become strong in both mind and body.

The practice of Aikido is not just a physical activity or sport. A look at the meaning of the word "Aikido" shows that Aikido is, in fact, an attitude for existence.

"Ai" is harmony, togetherness, unification, and love, including harmony between persons, with nature, and world harmony. The realization of ai means that you love other people and do not turn against them. It means that you follow the laws of nature and live at one with all things.

"Ki" represents two kinds of power. I would describe ki as both the power of the human being and the power inherent in nature. The human ki is the source of human power; and it develops together with the mind and body. For example, when you are afraid of your opponent, your power moves away from your internal body and are lost to you; but if you develop fearlessness or courage, ki will build in your entire body. The feeling of ki transforms human power, so you should develop this positive, strong feeling. You should feel that the body is full of a power (ki) that comes from your centre of gravity (just below the navel), travels through your fingertips, and extends in the direction of your body movement. Below are several examples of ki development and training.

If your opponent pushes against your chest, you should project your ki to his/her rear, and then your opponent cannot push you back easily because of the opposition provided by your own creative power (ki). Suppose you are not feeling well. If you believe in and develop the feeling of ki, you can overcome illness and eventually get better.

The other ki refers to the power of nature. This" concept represents the forces of nature that we cannot control - the sun shining, water running downhill, the force of gravity causing things to fall, etc. We must live in harmony with these forces and follow in the path of nature.

"Do" is the way of life of a human being. Following this path you will never give way to temptation or difficulties, you will strive continuously to attain your object and to win your way to higher forms of happiness, love, and success.

Always live in the midst of human power and the power of nature. Aikido provides the way to blend nature and human power. It is the way of happiness, peace, and love.

Life of Ueshiba Morihei

1883 Morihei Ueshiba born December 14 in Tanabe, Kishu ( Wakayama Prefecture )

1900 Moves to Tokyo in September, starts stationery store

1901 Briefly studies Tenjin Shin’yo-ryu Jujutsu

1903 Marries Hatsu Itogawa, a distant relative, in Tanabe Joins 61st Army Infantry Regiment of Wakayama, late December

1905 Departs for Manchurian Front (Russo-Japanese War)

1906 Discharged from army, returns to Tanabe

1908 Receives certificate from Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu

1910 Travels to Hokkaido

1911 First daughter born (Matsuko)

1912 Leads settlers from Kishu to Hokkaido (Aza-Shirataki, Kamiyubetsu village, Mombetsu County )

1915 Meets Sokaku Takeda (Daito-ryu jujitsu) at Hisada Inn in Engaru

1917 First son born (Takemori), July

1918 Serves as town councilman in Kamiyubetsu village, June 1918-April 1919

1919 Leaves Hokkaido in December due to father’s illness turns land and property over to Takeda Sokaku

1920 Meets Onisaburo Deguchi of Omoto religion in Ayabe, Kyoto Prefecture

  • Father (Yoroku) dies in January
  • Returns to Tanabe
  • Moves with family to Ayabe (site of Omoto religion)
  • Builds “Ueshiba Juku” dojo
  • Second son born (Kuniharu), August
  • First son dies (Takemori), August
  • Second son dies (Kuniharu), September

1921 Third son born (Kisshomaru - birth name Koetsu), June

1922 Mother (Yuki) dies

  • Sokaku Takeda visits Ayabe along with family to teach, staying from circa April 28 to September 15
  • Receives “kyoji dairi” (teaching assistant) certificate from Takeda (September)

1924 Goes to Mongolia with Onisaburo Deguchi with goal of establishing a utopian community. (February to July) The party, led by Onisaburo Deguchi, including Ueshiba, is captured and held prisoner by the Chinese military for plotting the overthrow of the existing government. Released after short period of internment through intervention of Japanese consulate and returned to Japan .

1925 Gives demonstration in Tokyo for former Prime Minister Gombei Yamamoto at Isamu Takeshita’s residence.

1927 Moves to Tokyo with entire family

  • Establishes temporary dojo in billiard room of Count Shimazu’s mansion in Shiba, Shirogane in Sarumachi

1928 Moves to Shiba, Tsunamachi, site of temporary dojo

1929 Moves with family to Shiba, Kuruma-cho, sets up temporary dojo

1930 Moves to Shimo-Ochiai in Mejiro

  • Jigoro Kano of Judo observes demonstration by Ueshiba in Mejiro dojo and dispatches several students from Kodokan, including Minoru Mochizuki, to study

1931 Dedication of Kobukan dojo in Ushigome, Wakamatsu-cho

1932 Budo Sen’yokai (Society for the Promotion of Martial Arts) is established with Ueshiba as its first head

1933 Technical manual “Budo Renshu” published

1935 Film documentary of Aiki Budo made by Asahi Newspaper Company in Osaka . Only known pre-war film of Morihei Ueshiba (Available from Aikido Journal)

1937 Ueshiba’s name appears in enrolment book of Kashima Shinto-Ryu

1938 Technical manual “Budo” published

1939 Invited to instruct in Manchuria

1940 Attends martial arts demonstration in Manchuria commemorating 2600th anniversary of Japan

1941 Gives demonstration at Sainenkan dojo on imperial grounds for members of the imperial family

  • Teaches at military police academy
  • Invited to Manchuria to instruct during University Martial Arts week
  • Becomes martial arts advisor for Shimbuden and Kenkoku universities in Manuchuria

1942 Name “Aikido” becomes official and is registered with Ministry of Education

  • Invited to Manchuria as representative of Japanese martial arts to attend Manchuria-Japanese Exchange Martial Arts demonstrations in commemoration of 10th anniversary of Manchurian Independence (August)
  • Moves to Iwama, Ibaraki Prefecture
  • Kisshomaru Ueshiba becomes Director of Kobukai Foundation

1943 Aiki Shrine built in Iwama

1945 Kobukai Foundation ceases activity due to post-war ban on martial arts

  • Iwama dojo completed

1948 Hombu Dojo moves to Iwama, office opened in Tokyo

  • Kisshomaru Ueshiba becomes Director of Aikikai Foundation

1949 Regular practice resumes at Tokyo dojo

1955 To Osaka for several weeks to instruct in dojo of Bansen Tanaka

1956 Hombu Dojo moves back to Tokyo from Iwama

  • Several foreign ambassadors invited to public exhibition

1958 U.S. television documentary “Rendezvous with Adventure” filmed

1960 Receives Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon from Japanese government

1961 Invited to Hawaii by Hawaii Aikikai (February)

  • Television documentary made by NHK company
  • All-Japan Student Aikido Federation established with Ueshiba as president

1963 First All-Japan Aikido Demonstration (October)

1964 Receives Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class, as Founder of Aikido

1968 New Hombu Dojo building completed

1969 Gives final demonstration January 15 at Kagami Biraki celebration

  • Dies April 26
  • Ashes buried at Kozanji, Tanabe
  • Hair preserved at Iwama, Kumano Dojo, Ayabe and Aikikai Hombu Dojo
  • Made honorary citizen of Tanabe and Iwama
  • Wife, Hatsu, dies in June
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