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Aikido clubs are popular and friendly as most people who join them learn a traditional Japanese martial art that is non-ego driven, skillful and a good way to enhance daily life for the student.
And always remember that meditation has traditionally been the cornerstone to any good martial art.
Aikido was developed in the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) with its roots firmly embedded in Zen philosophy. Aikido is culmination of martial arts years of study that the founder constructed into a physical, mental and spiritual art form that that can become a way of life for the practitioner.
After Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) died in 1969 his son took over his mantle as chief instructor of the International Aikido Federation (IAF), which at the time regulated aikido black belts worldwide. Daito ryu aikai jutsu are the foundational teachings to the aikido martial art.
Aikido is a method of non combative self defense that uses throwing and joint manipulation techniques over kicking and striking, which aims to encourage physical fitness, rhythmic movement, self discipline and a nonviolent attitude.
Aikido training promotes suppleness and strength in the joints by using twisting, bending and stretching exercises which help to free the limbs from harmful adhesions whilst encouraging good posture and correct body alignment.
Through training the student is taught to learn about physical and mental awareness whilst improving reactions to a combat situation.
Aikido students learn to control an attacker by bringing the attacker in the aikidoka's circle, once in the circle the aikidoka has full control of the attackers force, moving that force into whatever direction works best as a defense.
Aikidoists learn about ki (chi) energy and how it moves within nature, flowing like a river, moving and shaping itself indestructibly like water, at one with all, even an attack, not seeing the attack as an attack but as flowing ki (chi) energy being harmoniously moved from one place to another promoting a state of natural oneness with the universe.
Students are taught early on in their training to not push against a push or pull against a pull, instead move with the force of a pull and a push. This goes against natural instinct which must be unlearned to progress further.
When an aikido student is pushed they follow the direction of the push, shaping the movement to their will. When an aikido student is pulled they go in the direction of the pull, manipulating the energy used to the direction they want to go.
Tomiki Aikido: founded by Kenji Tomiki is competition aikido which comes in four competitive scoring forms.
1. Kata competition - performed in pairs and involves coordinated movement in kneeling and standing positions, with 5 judges scoring on technique, spirit and form.
2. Ninin dori (freestyle aikido) - 3 aikido players stand together on a mat, 2 players a one time attack the 3rd, this is completed over a period of 3 minutes and each play takes a turn at being attacked by the other 2 with judges scoring point for skill and spirit.
3. Tanto randori - competitors score points by showing how to defend against a knife or short sword attack.
4. Kyoghi - 2 players compete to apply skillful techniques against each other to gain the upper hand.
Yoshin Aikido: developed by Gozo Shioda, sometimes known as the hard style because students learn by being on the receiving (uke) end (being thrown around) at first. Focus is mainly on control using wrist actions and holds with the philosophy that the gentle can control the strong. The core values for students of this style is to learn how to control themselves, merging the mind, body and spirit with the uke's (receiver), becoming harmonious with all especially an attacker.
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