The Aikibudokan

Academy for Elite Samurai Arts

         

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In Our Martial Arts Philosophy the term koryu translates as "old school" as in tradition, teaching philosophy and effectiveness of the techniques taught.  The term has most usually been used to refer to very old, pre-1860's martial arts (such as schools of jujutsu or kenjutsu) and within that context spoke to very traditional methods of teaching that had as their primary goal the imparting of loyalty to the ryu (school) and the internalizing of the technical characteristics and knowledge of that specific style of martial art.

Prior to his death in 1938 Jigoro Kano (the innovator of Kodokan Judo) became disenchanted with the attitude and direction that his Judo was being taken by both students and teachers.  He believed that this deterioration of attitude, of martial virtues, and the loss of morally and ethically high ideals was due to the demise of the Samurai class and the importation of modern ideas surrounding sports competition.  He also blamed a lack of respect for the old ways and believed that the rise of arrogant competitors was damaging.  The introduction of competitive sports with its' winner take all attitude began to produce people who desired to win at all costs, even to the point of disregarding ethics, morality, honesty, and simple courteous  behavior and respect towards other students and training partners..Jigoro Kano, founder of modern day Kodokan Judo

Kano Sensei was once heard to remark that he believed the only way to save Judo from itself was to reintroduce the concepts of koryu back into the art form.  Kano did believe that a degree of competitive spirit was necessary for the development of strength of character but  he was concerned that too much emphasis on winning in competion, with the accompanying negative issues of  "I'm a winner and you're a loser", would blind Judo players to the more positive aspects of the art form.

This is one reason for Kano's statement that Aikido was, ". . my ideal Budo . . ".  Most observers believe that Kano was referring to Aikido's traditional ideas of mutual cooperation, personal growth of mind, body and spirit, manners and etiquette, mutual welfare and benefit in learning and teaching, loss of ego and lack of arrogance.  Essentially, the philosophy of Aikido contained very ideas that he thought were important and that were gradually being lost.Ki or energy written in the ancient form.

At the Aikibudokan we do not teach "martial sports".  By not engaging in competition, instead emphasizing a more koryu or old school environment, a more positive atmosphere is created, one in which:

  • personal growth is more important than trophies,
  • the challenge to ones' self in mastering a new activity is more important than the challenge of competing against or dominating others,
  • mutual respect for training partners and teachers produces a new level of personal self-respect and mutual welfare and benefit,
  • knowledge of the martial arts and practical self-defense is infinitely more important than learning to play to "the tournament rules" in an attempt to manipulate the judges' decisions.

We accomplish this by observing many traditions, some of which are not traditions at all but simply ethical ways in which we all should live and by which we interact with others.  These should be considered common sense attitudes and actions by which individuals commit to a focused study of martial arts that includes the use of traditional rei-ho (etiquette and manners).  This helps set the right frame of mind, easing the transition between everyday life and the more intense world of the dojo, assisting the student to carry out clear and accurate gestures that help diminish feelings of arrogance and vanity.

Technically, in teaching the art form itself we follow the martial arts principles that the old Samurai schools used including:

  • the study of fundamental principles of movement, balance and posture, the dynamic reactions of the opponent to stimuli, and how these fundamental principles can be universally applied as reflexive/intuitive reactions once fully understood and internallized,
  • the study of kata and forms in order to instill intuitive reactions to an unexpected attack in much the same manner as the Samurai were classically taught,
  • sustain a teaching method that allows for reliable and accurate transfer of the knowledge of traditional techniques to succeeding generations of students,
  • the study of weapons such as tanto (knife), bokken (sword), jo (long staff), yari (spear) and tanjo (short walking stick) and tessen (war fan) in order to give a greater appreciation of the knowledge the Samurai used to address any combative situation, and to enhance overall technical ability,
  • the use of randori (free fighting) systems in order to teach the student to apply what has been learned against a skilled and resisting attacker.  This is in controlled situations and at slow speeds so as to utilize the randori strictly as a learning method, and not as a competition scenario.; although with that said, randori can and at high levels of abilidtsy become extremely fast and dynamic.

We believe that by studying a koryu art form within the proper environment that the dedicated, focused and disciplined martial artist really can have their sake (or cake) and eat it too.

 


Aiki Budo, Inc., 1998-2017, All Rights Reserved

Aikibudokan is a filed dba of Aiki Budo, Inc. for Harris & Fort Bend Counties and The State of Texas

Muso Zato Isana Tomiki Ryu Aikido is a registered trademark of Aiki Budo,Inc.