Welcome to Aikido
At Arundel Aikikai, our main focus is connecting students to what they can achieve through training in the Japanese martial art of Aikido. Aikido is a martial art of minimalism; it seeks to use the least amount of energy, effort, strength, speed, and work to nullify attacks and remove danger from attackers. Where many martial arts begin with basic movements and progress to difficult and complicated techniques, advancement in Aikido trains us to focus on mastering the basic and simple even in difficult and complicated situations.
If you're new to Aikido, I'm thrilled you're considering learning Aikido with us. If you're new to martial arts, I'm humbled and honored that you're thinking of Aikido as a starting point for your martial arts journey! Training in martial arts is a wonderful and amazing experience. There are a lot of styles, teachers, and choices out there!
I hope to have the chance to train along side you as you follow your martial-arts journey.
Morihei Ueshiba, O'Sensei
Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), known to Aikido students as O Sensei (Great Teacher).As a young man, he overcame debilitating childhood illnesses through martial arts practice, eventually becoming a master of the sword, the staff, the spear, and the art of ju-jitsu.
O Sensei also held strong Shinto religious convictions concerning the ultimate futility of conflict and the illusory character of victory based on strength. This internal contradiction, which drove O Sensei to adopt a life of austerity and rigorous training, was resolved through an enlightenment experience which led to the development of Aikido, a martial art influenced by a philosophy of universal harmony.
Harmony, whole, to fit together, to combine, to unite
Spirit, inclination, will, life, breath
Road, path, way, principle, method
Aikido Movement Mechanics
All Aikido techniques and movements are based on the idea of harmony. Aikido emphasizes blending with an attacker by moving in such a way as to neutralize the force of the attack itself and thus neutralize the attacker. This is done by using spherical movements which allow the Aikido student to deflect the energy of the attacker while simultaneously entering close to the attacker, to blend with the attack, and so neutralize it.
Properly executed, some techniques are spectacular, sending the opponent flying through the air. Others are more subtle: small deft movements that immobilize the aggressor. Both results are achieved not through the use of brute strength, but by blending and neutralizing the attack, followed by circular and flowing techniques to unsettle the opponent, and completing the movement with a throw or immobilization. Because great strength is not required, Aikido can be practiced by men and women of all ages.
Wooden practice weapons — a sword (bokken), staff (jo) and knife (tanto) — are sometimes used in aikido training. Often weapons are used in aikido martial arts classes to examine a concept or technique in additional ways. Many aikido martial arts techniques are based on sword techniques, and the movement of sword cuts can be seen throughout the defense. Additional techniques are based on the disarming of an attacker.
There is a lot to learn about the martial art of Aikido. Reading and research will get you started, but the best introduction comes on the mat. I hope to see you there!
Aikido training has also been shaped by its philosophy of harmony. There are no competitions or tournaments in Aikido. Rank is awarded through a testing procedure which emphasizes self-discipline, rather than the mastery of others. Daily practice focuses on the development of technical skills and awareness through the constant repetition of techniques in a controlled environment in order to master the fundamentals of moving, timing, and breathing.
Most practice is done with a partner: each working at his or her own level of ability, alternating as uke (the attacker) and nage (the one who is attacked). Both roles are stressed; each contributes skills that enhance overall sensitivity and control.
Students train to neutralize the energy of the attack launched by the opponent and to redirect and focus it into techniques of martial efficiency and power. At the same time, the student can use the same philosophy to deal with stress and conflict in daily life, and learn to remain calm under all conditions.
Aikido Training Goal
The final aim of Aikido is to integrate physical and mental training to develop a confident person who can think clearly and react instantly on and off the mat. It is only through constant training that an Aikidoist can acquire the habits of mind which make this integration possible.
In Aikido, such an integrated person is said to be "centered." A centered person displays a confident and relaxed posture, and centering gives Aikido movements their appearance of grace and simple elegance. Thus, Aikido training helps a student to become calm and centered and enables the student to deal with stress and aggression in an efficient and decisive manner on the mat, at home, at school, or at work.
All of Aikido flows from a very different educational approach. Rather than spending time on lists of techniques to learn or forms to repeat, the foundational and underlying movement mechanics are the focus of education. That said, there are specific techniques which are useful to show a student has understanding of concepts and as such, are used for demonstration and testing purposes.
Arundel Aikikai offers color-belt testing for our youth and teen students. Teen and adult students can test for internationally recognized martial arts rank in Aikido through our parent dojo, Capital Aikikai. Martial arts rank obtained through testing at Capital Aikikai is officially recognized by the Aikikai in Japan.
Capital Aikikai hosts Aikido tests for martial arts rank roughly three times per year. Costs are generally around $30 for Kyu ranks, but check their website for the current rates. Additionally, if you are testing you will need to fill out an application for rank. You can view Capital Aikikai testing information here or in the sections below.