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Aikido Information and Resources

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About Aikido

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

The martial arts style of aikido was mostly formulated during the 1920's and 30's by Morihei Ueshiba in Japan.

  • Aiki refers to the idea of becoming one with an aggressor's movements so as to control the aggressor with minimal effort.
  • Do refers to the philosophical concept of Tao, which can also be found in the martial arts defining terms of judo, taekwondo, and kendo.

The history of aikido coincides with that of its founder, Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba was born in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan on December 14, 1883. His father was a wealthy landowner that traded in lumber and fishing and was politically active. Ueshiba was somewhat bookish and weak as a child.

His father encouraged him to engage in athletics at an early age and often spoke of Kichiemon, a great samurai that also happened to be his great grandfather. Ueshiba witnessed his father being attacked for his political beliefs and connections. This made Ueshiba want to be strong enough to defend himself and perhaps even gain revenge on those that would do his family harm. His training in Aikido began, and was lifelong.

Ueshiba is referred to by many aikido students and practitioners as Osensei (great teacher) due to his amazing contributions to the art. In 1951, aikido was first introduced to the West by Minoru Mochizuki when he visited France to teach judo students.

Characteristics of Aikido

"To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace," was once said by Ueshiba. This sentence seems to encompass both aikido's physical and philosophical teachings.

Along with this, aikido is primarily a defensive art. In other words, practitioners are taught to use their attacker's aggression and power against them. This is done through the use of throws, joint locks (particularly of the standing variety), and pins.
Aikido is generally learned through the practice of pre-arranged two person katas or forms. One person becomes the attacker in teaching, while the other utilizes aikido techniques to subdue their attacker. Many of the pre-arranged strikes that are defended against in practice seem to resemble the possible movements of a sword, indicating that aikido had weapons defense significantly on the mind in the past.

The actual use of weapons, free sparring, and defense against multiple attackers are also sometimes practiced with higher level students.

Basic Goal of Aikido

The basic goal of Aikido is to defend oneself against an aggressor in the most peaceful and least harmful way possible.

Major Aikido Substyles

Many substyles of Aikido have emerged over the years. Below are some of the more popular.

  • Iwama Ryu.
  • Ki Society.
  • Kobayashi aikido.
  • Manseikan Aikido.
  • Shodokan Aikido.
  • Suenaka-ha Tetsugaku-ho Wadokai Aikido.
  • Yoseikan Aikido.
  • Yoshinkan Aikido.

Three Famous Aikido Figures

  1. Steven Seagal: Seagal is a 7th dan black belt in aikido and was the first foreigner to operate a dojo in Osaka. Later, Seagal moved back to Japan and eventually made his film debut in 1988 in Above the Law. He went on to star in other popular films like Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and Under Siege. Seagal's movies have netted over 850 million dollars worldwide.
  2. Kisshomaru Ueshiba: The third child of Morihei Ueshiba, Kisshomaru became the international leader of aikido when his father died. This made him the second doshu, or "keeper of the way" for the art. Kisshomaru played a large part in bringing aikido to the rest of the world.
  3. Moriteru Ueshiba: Son of the now deceased Kisshomaru, Moriteru is the third doshu of aikikai.


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.




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