Combat Aikido

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Primarily designed to cope with any form of assault in the streets. It is modified to fit into the modern world. Combat Aikido is a method of self-defense based on the principles of non-aggressive martial arts. The techniques can provide the practitioner with adequate protection to himself or herself from common attacks. Combat Aikido improve the practitioners power of concentration to control emotions and develop self discipline.

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The Beginning

Aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba, was born in Japan on December 14, 1883. As a boy, he often saw local thugs beat up his father for political reasons. He set out to make himself strong so that he could take revenge. He devoted himself to hard physical conditioning and eventually to the practice of martial arts, receiving certificates of mastery in several styles of jujitsu, fencing, and spear fighting. In spite of his impressive physical and martial capabilities, however, he felt very dissatisfied. He began delving into religions in hopes of finding a deeper significance to life, all the while continuing to pursue his studies of budo, or the martial arts. By combining his martial training with his religious and political ideologies, he created the modern martial art of Aikido. Ueshiba decided on the name "Aikido" in 1942 (before that he called his martial art "aikibudo" and "aikinomichi").

On the technical side, Aikido is rooted in several styles of jujitsu (from which modern judo is also derived), in particular daitoryu-(aiki)jujitsu, as well as sword and spear fighting arts. Oversimplifying somewhat, we may say that Aikido takes the joint locks and throws from jujitsu and combines them with the body movements of sword and spear fighting. However, we must also realize that many Aikido techniques are the result of Master Ueshiba's own innovation.

On the religious side, Ueshiba was a devotee of one of Japan's so-called "new religions," Omotokyo. Omotokyo was (and is) part neo-shintoism, and part socio-political idealism. One goal of omotokyo has been the unification of all humanity in a single "heavenly kingdom on earth" where all religions would be united under the banner of omotokyo. It is impossible sufficiently to understand many of O Sensei's writings and sayings without keeping the influence of Omotokyo firmly in mind.

Despite what many people think or claim, there is no unified philosophy of Aikido. What there is, instead, is a disorganized and only partially coherent collection of religious, ethical, and metaphysical beliefs which are only more or less shared by Aikidoists, and which are either transmitted by word of mouth or found in scattered publications about Aikido.

Some examples: "Aikido is not a way to fight with or defeat enemies; it is a way to reconcile the world and make all human beings one family." "The essence of Aikido is the cultivation of ki [a vital force, internal power, mental/spiritual energy]." "The secret of Aikido is to become one with the universe." "Aikido is primarily a way to achieve physical and psychological self- mastery." "The body is the concrete unification of the physical and spiritual created by the universe." And so forth. At the core of almost all philosophical interpretations of Aikido, however, we may identify at least two fundamental threads: (1) A commitment to peaceful resolution of conflict whenever possible. (2) A commitment to self-improvement through Aikido training.

The Modification

The Japanese martial art of Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (known as O'Sensei, or "great teacher") during this century. His unique approach to the martial arts was to emphasize blending with, instead of opposing, an attacker's energy. Aikido become popular, especially after World War II, when O'Sensei stressed the peaceful applications of the martial art. One of O'Sensei's principal students was Koichi Tohei, who began studying under the founder in 1939.

After the war, Tohei Sensei was picked by O'Sensei to bring Aikido to the United States, which he did in 1953 by introducing the martial art to Hawaii, where it flourished. Tohei Sensei became Chief Instructor under O'Sensei, and was eventually promoted to 10th Dan (10th degree black belt), the highest possible rank. After O'Sensei's death in 1969, Tohei Sensei stayed on as Chief Instructor.

For a while after the death of Master Ueshiba, Tohei remained in his position as Chief Instructor of the Aikikai under the direction of the O'Sensei's son, Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei. The two eventually parted ways over disagreement in teaching style. Tohei Sensei developed a teaching system which taught Ki principles to all students, which he felt would make their Aikido techniques stronger, and also allow them to use Ki development in everyday life. In 1974, Tohei Sensei left the Aikikai and founded the Ki Society International.


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