Bob Hubbard

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Aug 4, 2001
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Land of the Free
From the rec.martialarts FAQ
(contributors: Eric Sotnak - [email protected],
Alex Jackl - [email protected])


Aikido emphasizes evasion and circular/spiral redirection of an
attacker's aggressive force into throws, pins, and immobilizations as
a primary strategy rather than punches and kicks.

Origin: Japan.


Aikido was founded in 1942 by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Prior to
this time, Ueshiba called his art "aikibudo" or "aikinomichi". In
developing aikido, Ueshiba was heavily influenced by Daito Ryu
Aikijujitsu, several styles of Japanese fencing (kenjutsu),
spearfighting (yarijutsu), and by the so- called "new religion":
omotokyo. Largely because of his deep interest in omotokyo, Ueshiba
came to see his aikido as rooted less in techniques for achieving
physical domination over others than in attempting to cultivate a
"spirit of loving protection for all things." The extent to which
Ueshiba's religious and philosophical convictions influenced the
direction of technical developments and changes within the corpus of
aikido techniques is not known, but many aikido practitioners believe
that perfect mastery of aikido would allow one to defend against an
attacker without causing serious or permanent injury.


The primary strategic foundations of aikido are:
(1) moving into a position off the line of attack;
(2) seizing control of the attacker's balance by means of
leverage and timing;
(3) applying a throw, pin, or other sort of immobilization
(such as a wrist/arm lock).

Strikes are not altogether absent from the strategic arsenal of the
aikidoist, but their use is primarily (though not, perhaps,
exclusively) as a means of distraction -- a strike (called "atemi") is
delivered in order to provoke a reaction from the aggressor, thereby
creating a window of opportunity, facilitating the application of a
throw, pin, or other immobilization.

Many aikido schools train (in varying degrees) with weapons. The most
commonly used weapons in aikido are the jo (a staff between 4 or 5
feet in length), the bokken (a wooden sword), and the tanto (a knife,
usually made of wood, for safety). These weapons are used not only to
teach defenses against armed attacks, but also to illustrate
principles of aikido movement, distancing, and timing.


A competitive variant of aikido (Tomiki aikido) holds structured
competitions where opponents attempt to score points by stabbing with
a foam-rubber knife, or by executing aikido techniques in response to
attacks with the knife. Most variants of aikido, however, hold no
competitions, matches, or sparring. Instead, techniques are practiced
in cooperation with a partner who steadily increases the speed, power,
and variety of attacks in accordance with the abilities of the
participants. Participants take turns being attacker and defender,
usually performing pre-arranged attacks and defenses at the lower
levels, gradually working up to full-speed freestyle attacks and


There are several major variants of aikido. The root variant is the
"aikikai", founded by Morihei Ueshiba, and now headed by the founder's
son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Several organizations in the United States
are affiliated with the aikikai, including the United States Aikido
Federation, the Aikido Association of America, and Aikido Schools of

Other major variants include:

* the "ki society", founded by Koichi Tohei,
* yoshinkan aikido, founded by Gozo Shioda,
* the kokikai organization, headed by Shuji Maruyama,
* "Tomiki aikido" named after its founder, Kenji Tomiki.


You forgot the most important Aikido style of them all, the style of shoji Nishio, which is a style that is still undergoing development!!




Sr. Grandmaster
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Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
Is the description of this forum adequate?

Aikido emphasizes evasion and circular/spiral redirection of an attacker's aggressive force into throws, pins, and immobilizations as a primary strategy rather than punches and kicks.


Yellow Belt
May 30, 2003
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I think its very adequate. But tomiki aikido is now being called Shodokan Aikido.


MTS Alumni
Jan 21, 2003
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79 Wistful Vista
Arnisador, I find that to be a very apt description for this forum. Aikido is a an ever evolving art (for many of us:D ) and not all styles of aikido are off shoots of O'Sensei style. The style that I and a few other members here on MT study is Nihon Goshin Aikido. Here's a link to the homepage for the headquarters branch of my style. The major differences between NGA and the more traditional styles of aikido is the abscence of much of the japanese language and a more combative element added to the thought process.


White Belt
Dec 17, 2007
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Houston, TX
I think its very adequate. But tomiki aikido is now being called Shodokan Aikido.

Not exclusively. Shodokan is the name given specifically to the dojo founded by Tomiki, and competitive Tomiki aikido in general. However, there is a growing number of aikido schools that teach Tomiki's method prior to its development into a competitive sport, and this style is still called Tomiki aikido.

Sorry to resurrect the thread.


White Belt
Mar 17, 2008
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You qouted:
"Aikido emphasizes evasion and circular/spiral redirection of an attacker's aggressive force into throws, pins, and immobilizations as a primary strategy rather than punches and kicks. "

I think that the above is an okay description, but it is not particularly accurate for higher level training.

Direct movement INTO the space where an attacker wishes to be can often be far more effective than avoiding the pending conflict at the point of contact or strike. Redirection is accurate, but NOT because you avoid the attack. Think of it like this:
"Make the SPACE vacant or Vacate the space." That is one of my personal teaching phrases. Either will work, but the proactive approach is JUST as harmonious and peaceful as is the latter, more widely touted approach to aikido.
I.E.: If an attacker wishes to step from Point A to Point B and strike my body someplace at Point C, then why not fill Point B with my own step in, and expose a weakness at Point A so that they can never effectively attack point C, also forcing him or her to react and give me a new way to control their aggression? (This of course requires a high sensitivity from continual Zanshin training and being able to move WHEN the attacker DECIDES to attack, not be reactive and move AFTER the attack is already on the way. )
Also strikes are very often the absolute REASON that an attacker changes his movement and body position from his or her initial plan. Most of the time when we train we get kuzushi (the broken balance) because the attacker is trying not to BE hit. Our atemi is usually the FIRST thing we employ, not as a distraction, but as a means to create change in the attacker. Either they get hit, or the make change in thier attack. That is the way aikido is practiced when not being "passive" or the other ways the art is often described.
Just an opinion and the way we train.

Also, a number of schools within the ASU organization (Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, under M. Saotome - Shihan) train with this attitude and body movement, and many of us train with very realistic attacks as well, creating quite "martially" or "combatively" effective techniques, (which often seems to be the concern when discussing aikido or its effectiveness.) But it should be noted that aikdio training is usually not taught for self-defense or fighting reasons, but as a system for better connection and understanding between people. it is fun to do and can be effective martially, but the focus is on self-improvement most of the time.

Just my opinion...
W. H.

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