What is Aikido?

Aikido is a non-aggressive martial art that originated in Japan, and is known as the “Art of Peace”.

The philosophy is to make use of the force, momentum and energy of one’s attacker and redirect it into either throws and projections, or immobilisations using arm locks and pins. It does not have any pure attacking moves in its repertoire; no punches or kicks as the basis of neutralising an attacker. Those who train in Aikido – aikidoka – do not strive to build ego or to hurt, overpower or belittle their partner.

Sensei Morihiro Saito throwing a student

Sensei Morihiro Saito throwing a student

Technique, not Strength

Strength is not required to perform Aikido, so it is well suited to women and men of all ages. Equally, one does not need to be fit to train in Aikido. But training contributes to weight loss, improves respiration, co-ordination, posture and balance, increases cardio-vascular functions and improves self-confidence.

Traditional Iwama Aikido

We practice traditional Aikido as taught to Morihiro Saito Sensei by O’Sensei, the founder of aikido. Under the supervision of O’Sensei, Saito Sensei began organising the teachings of Aikido into a more structured format. This became known as Iwama Aikido – Aikido as the founder taught in Iwama.

In addition to the empty hand techniques found in other styles of aikido, Iwama Aikido places equal emphasis on the use of aiki weapons – bokken (wooden sword) & jo (wooden staff) – which are used to develop body movement, strong posture and a better understanding of timing and positioning.

Aikido kanji

Aikido kanji

Grading

To advance through grades, the student does not have to overcome an opponent in competitions or sparring contests. It is more a test of a student’s personal achievement to triumph over one’s own adversities, fears, ego and inhibitions. Students are encouraged and invited to grade when their teacher (Sensei) deems they have gained enough experience, knowledge and technique to advance.

Perhaps the best known exponent of Aikido is the Hollywood movie star, Steven Seagal.