What is Aikido? – Aikido Explained

Martial arts are different. They vary in terms of origin and philosophy, not to mention the way you would have to fight if you were to follow them to the letter. Not all martial arts are meant to be the same, which is why we have so many of them. If you want to learn how to defend yourself but without harming another, Aikido would be the martial art for you.

What is aikido? When was it created? What are its principles? Let us examine it in detail.

The Creation of Aikido – A Modern Japanese Martial Art

Japan was and is home to many martial arts. Some take root in ancient China while others have been created relatively recently. Aikido is one such martial art, which came about in the 1920s. 

The creator of aikido is Morihei Ueshiba. He was a martial artist, one who was determined to create his own style of fighting, which was more a discipline and a way of life, rather than a way to harm anybody. See, aikido has a very significant religious influence from a neo shinto religion, founded by Onisaburo Deugchi, a friend and inspiration to Ueshiba. It is from Deguchi that Ueshiba got the inspiration to make aikido less violent and more about energy and non-harm.

In the 1930s, Ueshiba already had students who went on to create their own schools of aikido. Some of these forms of aikido are still taught, though one form is prevalent.

Shodokan Aikido – Competitive Aikido

Shodokan was invented by Kenji Tomiki, a martial artist and professor, an expert in aikido and judo. He learned under Ueshiba, but wanted a different style of aikido, and thus, shodokan came to be, in the late 1960s, specifically in 1967.

Shodokan is at odds with the philosophy of aikido, which is why it is governed by its own body and why competitive aikido is frowned upon by the more traditional aikido styles.

Shodokan is the most popular style of aikido, simply because it is one of the only ones that allows competition. However, shodokan tournaments do allow other aikido styles to compete.

The Philosophy of Aikido

Ki or chi, plays a vital role in aikido, and it is this energy that the practitioner uses to disable their opponents. Joint locks are the most common techniques in aikido, where the goal is to disable the opponent without harming them, by using their own energy against them. 

Aikido has as much philosophy as it does strictly form practice. From an emphatic standpoint, aikido is the perfect martial art. It is not a good self defence martial art, if one accounts for all the dirty tricks that an assaulter would use.

Aikido is a martial art and a way of life, which preaches and practices non-violence and the use of energy to overcome opponents. There are sportier styles of aikido such as shodokan, which is the primary style for competition. While not a good self defence martial art, aikido is perfect for those who dislike violence but still want to learn a martial art.