Aikido is a relatively modern Japanese martial art, having existed in its current form for less than a century. Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) founded aikido after having trained in numerous martial arts. Aikido literally means "the way of harmony through ki, or energy”. It is a non-competitive martial which focuses on using the momentum of an attack to neutralize the opponent with a throw or pin. It is excellent for people of all sizes and is a powerful way of self development.
Classes consist of techniques performed in paired practice, with one being the “nage”, or defender, and as the “uke”, or attacker. Each partner takes turns as uke or nage, enabling both to feel the energy of the technique from both sides of the attack, thus feeling what it takes to ‘unbalance’ an opponent, and how it feels to have a technique applied. Aikido has a base in traditional Japanese weapons work; and we will incorporate training with wooden weapons, including the bokken (sword), jo (short staff) and tanto (knife). As one’s skill increases, attacks progress from single attackers to multiple armed or unarmed opponents (randori).
There are no competitions in Aikido. As a true budo (“martial way”), the goal is to transcend the concept of winning and losing, and see that conflict can be resolved without fighting. Toyoda sensei firmly believed that Aikido is not passive, indeed, it involves confronting the conflict head on and with a clarity of spirit. Any type of conflict is looked at as an opportunity, not as a barrier. Through intensive training, or “shugyo”, we can transcend the endless repetition of offense/defense, develop the ability to fully blend with our opponent, becoming one with the opponent, and ultimately the universe. In the end, this type of training can give the practitioner a clear understanding of their own true nature.