What is Aikido?
Aikido is a modern martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969),who after mastering the secrets of a multitude of Japanese martial arts and going through even more severe spirituals ascetic practices, developed it from the state of a battle technique to that of a spirituals way.
In Aikido, there is no vain struggle of force against the partner. The technique (waza) are based on irimi(entering-advancing next to the partner) and tenkan(spinning), and they are meant not to hurt the partner, but only to control the attack of the partner. Aikido is the then very suitable to the contemporary ages, in which human life is claimed to be so precious.
Also, this is the reason for Aikido is called to be "the art of harmony".
Brief history of Aikido
speaking of its birth, Aikido came into existence in the Taisho period(1911-1924), as the fruit of hard ascetic of its Founder Morihei Ueshiba, who after dedicating himself to the training of various Japanese martial techniques transmitted from ancient times and mastering their secrets went on to even more severe spiritual practices and brought forth an original spirit beyond schools and epochs. After World War ?,as he continued the ascetic practice in the country in Iwama, Ibaragi Pref., the founder's both spirit and technique reached higher and higher levels. Until he left this world at the age of 88, he devoted himself thoroughly to the instruction of his disciples towards unknown peaks with an unbelievable energy fo his high age.
The goals of Aikido(Round movements, harmonious spirit)
The Founder said once of Aikido:"Aikido is not a technique to beat down the enemy. It is a way to harmonize the world and to make the whole mankind as a family. That is, its final goal is to harmonize one's movements to those of the Universe and finally to unify oneself to the Universe. The practicants must become aware of this gaol through everyday's training". To put it in an extreme way, the essence of Aikido is Harmony. The Founder Morihei Ueshiba always explained Aikiko as the way of harmony and unification.
The character of Aikido(search to polish human through training)
In Aikido, based on the principles of Irimi(entering) and tenkan(spinning), the movement have to match the natural laws and in the same time to be full of spiritual energy and determination but also reasonable. This makes Aikido the ideal way for both spiritual and corporal training.
Nowadays, from the Main Headquarters in Tokyo(Hombu dojo) to every dojo in and outside Japan , the number of Aikido practicants is continuously increasing, in a wide age span that obviciously includes students or middle-age people, but extends also to children, housewives and high-age people. This is because Aikido,said to be "the essence of martial arts","self-defense technique", or " a martial art ressembling to a dance", but also to be " a method to stay healthy", is a Japanese characteristic way of spiritual and corporal training and is widely promoted in various domains as a part of human formation.
The character of the Aikido training( the base of competitions)
Everyday training of Aikido does no the form of so-called competition; "kata" (technique form) are repeatedly exercised. Since the goal is to improve the condition of the body and the spirit by repeated exercise reciprocally adapted to the partner's level, and anybody can join training. Nevertheless, the so-said form has to be a living one, that is, has to be useful in reality. Aikido is different from the so-called "sports" as its practicing have to be seeking no for a relative strength to beat in competition; its spirit is to search for the absolute, and this muto be the way of being of its practicants. Obviously, the practicants must never neglect the control of partner, moreover, he must always be in search for a kind of transcendental power. This factor has to be linked slso with that of spirit of harmony. The most important point in the practice of Aikido is then that the partners practicing together must always unify in one technique and endeavour together to do the right thing, and to search for strength through righteousness.
It is obviously that more and more practice improves one's health, but on top of that, this nurtures one's positive way of being in everything one enterprises in everyday life.
In the dojo gather people without questioning age, sex, profession or nationality. Practicing there is most fit to deepen one's human understanding.
Aikido practice never ends. Once begun, perseverance is everything. Once has pursue one's search righteously and patiently. Continuing one's training is the next step in one's progress and also a most important aspect of this search.
Present situation of Aikido
The actual situation of Aikido, which is spreading permanently and explodingly to the whole world, is surely due to its worldwide recognition as a martial art and as a way of both corporal and spiritual training most appropriate for the contemporary people beyond races and frontiers.
Nowadays, the nucleus of the development of Aikiko is the Aikikai Foundation. The instruction activities have their basis on the right traditions embodying Founder's spirit. The Aikikai Foundation is detaining various practical education institutions almost all through Japan in schools, government organizations and private enterprises and as affiliated organizations there are The All-Japan Aikido League. The All-Japan Aikido Student League and the Aikido Federation of The Defence Agency. Also, outside, Japan there are more than thirty countries in which are delegated instructors from the Hombu Dojo. Among these countries, there are the U.S.A, various countries from Europe, South America, Africa, South-East Asia and countries from the old Soviet Union. In November 1975 there was founded the International Aikido League, whose goal was to link the Aikido practicants throughout the world. This deliverance of Aikido to the general public is one major achievement of late Aikido Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba.
The center of the Aikido world is the Hombu Dojo(Central Headquarters) of the Aikikai Federation. From here, many elite disciple instructors held together by the Chairperson Mr.Moriteru Ueshiba apply themselves day-and-night to the instruction activity in order to respond to the expectations of the Aikido enthusiasts from in and outside of Japan and nurture the Aikido instructors for the future.