The Aikibudokan

Academy for Elite Samurai Arts

         

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Ueshiba and Kenji Tomiki relaxing after training.  Tomiki Sensei was one of the earliest students of Ueshiba and in the 1950's went on to develop a unique method of teaching Aikido, today known as Tomiki Ryu Aikido.

Kenji Tomiki Sensei with Ueshiba.

Tomiki was the first of Ueshiba's students

to be promoted to 8th Dan.

 

 

 

O'Sensei performing spear technique.

Ueshiba as a senior teacher,

demonstrating the use of a short spear.

 

 

Aikido - The Way of Harmony, is the way (do) of blending with the energy (ai) and spirit (ki) of the opponent.  It is simultaneously a powerful,  sophisticated, elegant and effective Japanese martial art form. 

Using throws, joint locks, take downs, striking techniques, strangulations and immobilization's that use ancient principles of strategy, tactics and body dynamics, an aikido student learns to avoid, redirect and neutralize the force of the opponent's attack and to use the opponents' weight, muscular force and momentum against them. 

Aikido's entering & circular blending movements do not rely on brute strength or athletic prowess for effectiveness; making it a practical and useful study for men and women of all ages, sizes and abilities and at the same time, a highly effective means of self-defense.Ueshiba execting an uke-waza or "floating" technique.

Its' graceful and flowing techniques and its' philosophical focus on defensive concepts provide a unique alternative to other martial arts that rely primarily on offensive strikes, kicks, and aggressive attitudes to make them work.

Since its' inception and initial development in the late 1800's and early 1900's and its' world-wide growth after WW II, Aikido has been widely adopted by military and law enforcement agencies for use by officers due to it's effectiveness in controlling and neutralizing a violent situation, but not unnecessarily harming the suspect.

Today, the vast majority of Aikido practioners are non-military/non-law enforcement civilians who train in Aikido not only for self defense, but also for physical fitness, self confidence and a desire to learn classical Budo (a martial way of life) that emphasizes Do or 'the way' with personal, physical, ethical and spiritual development as their ultimate goal of training.

Long time students have found that Aikido provides what they were looking for, whether it's a study of classical forms from the Samurai of the past, modern day self-defense ability, spiritual enlightenment, physical health, or just peace of mind.


A Brief History of Aikido:  Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969), also known as O'Sensei, ("Great Teacher") developed aikido from samurai battlefield techniques.  Studying and mastering various schools of jujitsu (primarily aiki-jujutsu), sword, staff and spear, he became one of the great martial artists of the twentieth century. 

He was a deeply spiritual man who, subsequent to the destruction of the second world war, struggled to reconcile the violent aspects of martial arts with his search for harmony and internal peace.  In a moment of profound enlightenment (satori) he came to realize that martial training was futile when it relied only on victory, dopmination or brute control over others.  He concluded that transcending victory and defeat and learning to be more aware of the "big picture"  could lead to a higher and more sophisticated understanding of life thereby developing a more mature, centered and balanced human being.

Instead of only victory, "The secret of Aikido is to harmonize with the movements of the universe."  With this new awareness (wonderfully and most cryptically phrased in Japanese) O'Sensei developed what is today known as Aikido, a fundamentally different martial art of refinement and elegance, but one that is simultaneously powerful and effective in the same way that Aikido's parent art forms of Daito Ryu Aiki-jujutsu and Kito Ryu Jujutsu were known to be.Tomiki Kenji, an original student of Ueshiba, using an armbar to defend against a knife attack.

Interesting enough, once this realization set in and became a part of his Aikido philosophy and training methodology, the art form became even more powerful than before, with sheer physical strength and aggressive attitudes becoming less important than blending and flowing, not resisting the attackers' physical strength and redirecting the attackers' energy and aggression.

This allowed the practitioner to relax and to apply technique as needed; instead of becoming tense, panicing and making fatal errors.  As a result the art form evolved and became more powerful, effective and adaptive to differing situations than before.

As O'Sensei (Ueeshiba) became well known and his reputation for teaching high-level martial arts grew, an increasing number of senior and experienced martial artists from other styles (such as Judo) joined his classes to learn Ueshiba Aikibudo, and later Aikido.  These students included such well known martial artists as Tomiki, Saito, Mochizuki, Tohei, Shioda, Takashita and many others.

These students later went on to teach their own view of Aikido which today is why styles such as Tomiki Ryu, Shodokan, Yoseikan, Shin Shin Toitsu, Aiki Kai and Iwama Ryu exist.  Each teaches Aikido but each in their own way and view.  Aikido is Aikido is Aikido; but the way in which it is taught and the overall emphasis (on hand to hand, focusing on tanto, focusing on self-defense, focusing on sword and stick) is where the difference in teaching pedagogy arises.


A Brief Comment on the Specific Form of Aikido that we teach:  Early forms of martial arts were fairly comprehensive and included an exploration of many areas of armed and unarmed combat.  As history progressed and as the need for the Samurai vanished an interest in preserving the old methods grew, the martial arts of Japan became specialized.  Weapons were retained in such areas as kenjutsu, kendo, iaido (for example) while the hand to hand forms specialized into striking (karate-do), throwing and grappling (early Kodokan and Kosen Judo) and striking/joint locking/throwing/pinning (aiki-do).  Certainly, there was much overlap in many regards and some ancient koryu groups retained broader scope of study but for the most part the three major hand-to-hand forms that survived and that are practiced today are Aikido, Judo/Grappling, and Karate.

Even Aikido evolved with some groups focusing on aiki-ken and aiki-jo (sword and stick), others evolving into police/military forms, others gaining a larger focus on internals (meditation and ki or internal energy) while others became sports oriented.   As a result it is the opinion of many senior martial artists today that Aikido per se, has itself become overly specialized.  This is very clearly illustrated by the continual efforts of various groups to "add back" areas of study such as ju jutsu grappling; all in an apparent effort to "put back" what they perceive as having been "taken out".

In one sense this is admirable but when viewed from a different angle may make little sense.  Arbitrarily adding things in without a full understanding of what the broad scope of Aikido actually encompasses and how the waza and kata were shaped around the fundamental principles can flaw the "new" conglomerate system from both a technical and philosophical aspect.

Our concept is to take what Tomiki Sensei developed since it is widely recognized as the one of the best ways in which to teach the fundamentals and build the skill sets of how to to control and neutralize the attacker at the first moment of opportunity.  Our teaching takes the core as developed by Tomiki Sensei and add only those specific areas (foot sweeps, hand throws, grappling, sacrifice throws, strangulation techniques, etc.) that best fit the Aikido paradigmatic view AND make the most efficient use of Aikido principles of control of distance, angles and timing.  In this manner, the Aikido can be expanded and enhanced without the arbitrary inclusion of "everything including the kitchen sink" which has never been shown to do anything other than lose the best facets of what you had and tried to change, but lost instead.

This is actually made much easier than it may initially seem since Kano Sensei himself viewed Aikido as ".... my perfect Budo ...." and visualized a broad Aikido study and because Tomiki Sensei brought a strong "Judo flavor" to Tomiki Ryu Aikido.  In a sense, having some Judo flavor is simply re-capturing what has always been there since the very beginning but not recognized by many Aikido teachers.

We think this approach is truly unique in the Aikido universe and very much in line with O'Sensei' and Tomiki Sensei' vision of Aikido evolving and retaining its practical usefulness, and Aikido practice, having a very natural "flow" and "feel" to it.

 


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