Aikido is a martial art developed in the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba, who wanted to integrate spirituality and philosophy into martial arts. It was recognized in Japan in 1941 and introduced to the West in the 1950s. Aikido is not meant to harm the enemy, but rather to immobilize them. It uses grabs or throws and opponent’s movements to gain momentum. Atemi, or strikes to the body, are taught only to advanced students. Some practitioners use weapons such as the jo and bokken. Aikido is a non-violent martial art and popular among those seeking a new lifestyle and physical training.
Aikido is a modern martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba in the 1920s. Ueshiba was a martial arts practitioner who had considerable experience in several modalities before deciding he was ready to create aikido. The main reason for this was that Ueshiba was looking for a way to integrate spirituality and philosophical growth into martial arts.
Aikido was recognized as a martial art in Japan in 1941, but it wasn’t introduced to the West until the 1950s. France was the first nation to open an aikido dojo or school in 1953, followed closely by the United States and Germany. After the death of Ueshiba, his son, and finally his nephew, they took over the dojo.
Aikido is not meant to harm the enemy, but rather to immobilize him. While discussing aikido, Ueshiba is quoted as saying, “Controlling aggression without inflicting injury is the art of peace.” Most of the techniques used in aikido are grabs or throws, and all use the opponent’s movements to gain momentum and increase strength. There are basically only twenty techniques used in aikido, but the combinations in which they can be used are nearly endless.
Attacks in aikido are called atemi, a word meaning “strikes to the body.” Atemi are very effective because they are directed at certain points on the body where nerves or pressure points are prominent, causing extreme pain if hit. Atemi is a dangerous technique that is taught only to advanced aikido students. This is because a strong blow to certain areas of the body, such as the solar plexus or temples, can easily kill. In aikido, atemi are taught as a way to temporarily disarm or distract the enemy, not as a way to harm.
Some aikido practitioners use weapons in their practice. The jo, a four-foot-tall wooden staff, and the bokken, a wooden sword, are often used in aikido. While weapons training is not essential to aikido, many teachers believe it is important to practice it, as many of the empty hand strikes resemble sword strikes. Aikido is one of the least violent forms of martial arts and a favorite among people who are looking for a new lifestyle alongside physical training.